Indigenous languages of the Americas

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Yucatec Maya writing in the Dresden Codex, ca. 11-12th century, Chichen Itza Dresden codex, page 2.jpg
Yucatec Maya writing in the Dresden Codex , ca. 11–12th century, Chichen Itza

Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska, Nunavut, and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses that constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families, as well as many language isolates and unclassified languages.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pre-Columbian inhabitants of North, Central and South America and their descendants

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

Alaska State of the United States of America

Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of the United States West Coast, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast. Its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population—estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015— is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.

Nunavut Territory of Canada

Nunavut is the newest, largest, and most northerly territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the boundaries had been drawn in 1993. The creation of Nunavut resulted in the first major change to Canada's political map since incorporating the province of Newfoundland in 1949.

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Many proposals to group these into higher-level families have been made, such as Joseph Greenberg's Amerind hypothesis. [1] This scheme is rejected by nearly all specialists, due to the fact that some of the languages differ too significantly to draw any connections between them. [2]

Amerind languages language family

Amerind is a hypothetical higher-level language family proposed by Joseph Greenberg in 1960 and elaborated by his student Merritt Ruhlen. Greenberg proposed that all of the indigenous languages of the Americas belong to one of three language families, the previously established Eskimo–Aleut and Na–Dene, and with everything else—otherwise classified by specialists as belonging to dozens of independent families—as Amerind. Due to a large number of methodological flaws in the 1987 book Language in the Americas, the relationships he proposed between these languages have been rejected by the majority of historical linguists as spurious.

According to UNESCO, most of the indigenous American languages are critically endangered, and many are already extinct. [3] The most widely spoken indigenous language is Southern Quechua, with about 6 to 7 million speakers, primarily in South America.

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

Southern Quechua language family

Southern Quechua, or simply Quechua, is the most widely spoken of the major regional groupings of mutually intelligible dialects within the Quechua language family, with about 6.9 million speakers. It is also the most widely spoken indigenous language in the entire New World. The term Southern Quechua refers to the Quechuan varieties spoken in regions of the Andes south of a line roughly east–west between the cities of Huancayo and Huancavelica in central Peru. It includes the Quechua varieties spoken in the regions of Ayacucho, Cusco and Puno in Peru, in much of Bolivia and parts of north-west Argentina. The most widely spoken varieties are Cusco, Ayacucho, Puno (Collao), and South Bolivian.

Background

Thousands of languages were spoken by various peoples in North and South America prior to their first contact with Europeans.[ dubious ] These encounters occurred between the beginning of the 11th century (with the Nordic settlement of Greenland and failed efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador) and the end of the 15th century (the voyages of Christopher Columbus). Several indigenous cultures of the Americas had also developed their own writing systems, [4] the best known being the Maya script. [5] The indigenous languages of the Americas had widely varying demographics, from the Quechuan languages, Aymara, Guarani, and Nahuatl, which had millions of active speakers, to many languages with only several hundred speakers. After pre-Columbian times, several indigenous creole languages developed in the Americas, based on European, indigenous and African languages.

Nordic countries Geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic

The Nordic countries or the Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, where they are most commonly known as Norden. The term includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland and the Faroe Islands—which are both part of the Kingdom of Denmark—and the Åland Islands and Svalbard and Jan Mayen archipelagos that belong to Finland and Norway respectively, whereas the Norwegian Antarctic territories are often not considered a part of the Nordic countries, due to their geographical location. Scandinavians, who comprise over three quarters of the region's population, are the largest group, followed by Finns, who comprise the majority in Finland; other groups are indigenous minorities such as the Greenlandic Inuit and the Sami people, and recent immigrants and their descendants. The native languages Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese are all North Germanic languages rooted in Old Norse. Native non-Germanic languages are Finnish, Greenlandic and several Sami languages. The main religion is Lutheran Christianity. The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, religion, their use of Scandinavian languages and social structure. The Nordic countries have a long history of political unions and other close relations, but do not form a separate entity today. The Scandinavist movement sought to unite Denmark, Norway and Sweden into one country in the 19th century, with the indepedence of Finland in the early 20th century, and Iceland in the mid 20th century, this movement expanded into the modern organised Nordic cooperation which includes the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Especially in English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries, but that term more properly refers to the three monarchies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Geologically, the Scandinavian Peninsula comprises the mainland of Norway and Sweden as well as the northernmost part of Finland.

Greenland Autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark

Greenland is an autonomous constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for more than a millennium. The majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors began migrating from the Canadian mainland in the 13th century, gradually settling across the island.

Newfoundland and Labrador Province of Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it is composed of the insular region of Newfoundland and the continental region of Labrador to the northwest, with a combined area of 405,212 square kilometres (156,500 sq mi). In 2018, the province's population was estimated at 525,073. About 92% of the province's population lives on the island of Newfoundland, of whom more than half live on the Avalon Peninsula.

The European colonizers and their successor states had widely varying attitudes towards Native American languages. In Brazil, friars learned and promoted the Tupi language. [6] In many Latin American colonies, Spanish missionaries often learned local languages and culture in order to preach to the natives in their own tongue and relate the Christian message to their indigenous religions. In the British American colonies, John Eliot of the Massachusetts Bay Colony translated the Bible into the Massachusett language, also called Wampanoag, or Natick (1661–1663; he published the first Bible printed in North America, the Eliot Indian Bible .

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Tupi language language

Old Tupi or classical Tupi is an extinct Tupian language which was spoken by the native Tupi people of Brazil, mostly those who inhabited coastal regions in South and Southeast Brazil. It belongs to the Tupi–Guarani language family, and has a written history spanning the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries. In the early colonial period, Tupi was used as a lingua franca throughout Brazil by Europeans and Amerindians, and had literary usage, but it was later suppressed almost to extinction, leaving only one modern descendant with an appreciable number of speakers, Nheengatu.

John Eliot (missionary) American Puritan missionary to Native Americans

John Eliot was a Puritan missionary to the American Indians whom some called "the apostle to the Indians" and the founder of Roxbury Latin School in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1645.

The Europeans also suppressed use of indigenous American languages, establishing their own languages for official communications, destroying texts in other languages, and insisting that indigenous people learn European languages in schools. As a result, indigenous American languages suffered from cultural suppression and loss of speakers. By the 18th and 19th centuries, Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and Dutch, brought to the Americas by European settlers and administrators, had become the official or national languages of modern nation-states of the Americas.

Many indigenous languages have become critically endangered, but others are vigorous and part of daily life for millions of people. Several indigenous languages have been given official status in the countries where they occur, such as Guaraní in Paraguay. In other cases official status is limited to certain regions where the languages are most spoken. Although sometimes enshrined in constitutions as official, the languages may be used infrequently in de facto official use. Examples are Quechua in Peru and Aymara in Bolivia, where in practice, Spanish is dominant in all formal contexts.

Guarani language Tupian language spoken in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia

Guarani specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guarani, is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupi–Guarani family of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay, where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and where half of the rural population is monolingual. It is spoken by communities in neighboring countries, including parts of northeastern Argentina, southeastern Bolivia and southwestern Brazil, and is a second official language of the Argentine province of Corrientes since 2004; it is also an official language of Mercosur.

Paraguay republic in South America

Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay, is a country of South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Although it is one of only two landlocked countries in South America, the country has coasts, beaches and ports on the Paraguay and Paraná rivers that give exit to the Atlantic Ocean through the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de Sudamérica.

Quechua people ethnic group

Quechua people or Quecha people, may refer to any or all speakers of the Quechua languages, which originated among the indigenous people of South America. Most Quechua speakers are native to Peru, although there are some significant populations living in Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

In North America and the Arctic region, Greenland in 2009 adopted Kalaallisut as its sole official language. In the United States, the Navajo language is the most spoken Native American language, with more than 200,000 speakers in the Southwestern United States. The US Marine Corps recruited Navajo men, who were established as code talkers during World War II, to transmit secret US military messages. Neither the Germans nor Japanese ever deciphered the Navajo code, which was a code using the Navajo language. Today, governments, universities, and indigenous peoples are continuing to work for the preservation and revitalization of indigenous American languages.

Origins

In American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America (1997), Lyle Campbell lists several hypotheses for the historical origins of Amerindian languages. [7]

  1. A single, one-language migration (not widely accepted)
  2. A few linguistically distinct migrations (favored by Edward Sapir)
  3. Multiple migrations
  4. Multilingual migrations (single migration with multiple languages)
  5. The influx of already diversified but related languages from the Old World
  6. Extinction of Old World linguistic relatives (while the New World ones survived)
  7. Migration along the Pacific coast instead of by the Bering Strait

Roger Blench (2008) has advocated the theory of multiple migrations along the Pacific coast of peoples from northeastern Asia, who already spoke diverse languages. These proliferated in the New World. [8]

Language families and unclassified languages

Notes:

North America

Pre-contact: distribution of North American language families, including northern Mexico Langs N.Amer.png
Pre-contact: distribution of North American language families, including northern Mexico
Bilingual stop sign in English and the Cherokee syllabary, Tahlequah, Oklahoma Cherokee stop sign.png
Bilingual stop sign in English and the Cherokee syllabary, Tahlequah, Oklahoma

There are approximately 296 spoken (or formerly spoken) indigenous languages north of Mexico, 269 of which are grouped into 29 families (the remaining 27 languages are either isolates or unclassified).[ citation needed ] The Na-Dené, Algic, and Uto-Aztecan families are the largest in terms of number of languages. Uto-Aztecan has the most speakers (1.95 million) if the languages in Mexico are considered (mostly due to 1.5 million speakers of Nahuatl); Na-Dené comes in second with approximately 200,000 speakers (nearly 180,000 of these are speakers of Navajo), and Algic in third with about 180,000 speakers (mainly Cree and Ojibwe). Na-Dené and Algic have the widest geographic distributions: Algic currently spans from northeastern Canada across much of the continent down to northeastern Mexico (due to later migrations of the Kickapoo) with two outliers in California (Yurok and Wiyot); Na-Dené spans from Alaska and western Canada through Washington, Oregon, and California to the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico (with one outlier in the Plains). Several families consist of only 2 or 3 languages. Demonstrating genetic relationships has proved difficult due to the great linguistic diversity present in North America. Two large (super-) family proposals, Penutian and Hokan, look particularly promising. However, even after decades of research, a large number of families remain.

North America is notable for its linguistic diversity, especially in California. This area has 18 language families comprising 74 languages (compared to four families in Europe: Indo-European, Uralic, Turkic, and Afroasiatic and one isolate: Basque). [9]

Another area of considerable diversity appears to have been the Southeastern United States [ citation needed ]; however, many of these languages became extinct from European contact and as a result they are, for the most part, absent from the historical record.[ citation needed ] This diversity has influenced the development of linguistic theories and practice in the US.

Due to the diversity of languages in North America, it is difficult to make generalizations for the region. Most North American languages have a relatively small number of vowels (i.e. three to five vowels). Languages of the western half of North America often have relatively large consonant inventories. The languages of the Pacific Northwest are notable for their complex phonotactics (for example, some languages have words that lack vowels entirely). [10] The languages of the Plateau area have relatively rare pharyngeals and epiglottals (they are otherwise restricted to Afroasiatic languages and the languages of the Caucasus). Ejective consonants are also common in western North America, although they are rare elsewhere (except, again, for the Caucasus region, parts of Africa, and the Mayan family).

Head-marking is found in many languages of North America (as well as in Central and South America), but outside of the Americas it is rare. Many languages throughout North America are polysynthetic (Eskimo–Aleut languages are extreme examples), although this is not characteristic of all North American languages (contrary to what was believed by 19th-century linguists). Several families have unique traits, such as the inverse number marking of the Tanoan languages, the lexical affixes of the Wakashan, Salishan and Chimakuan languages, and the unusual verb structure of Na-Dené.

The classification below is a composite of Goddard (1996), Campbell (1997), and Mithun (1999).

  1. Adai
  2. Algic (30)
  3. Alsea (2)
  4. Atakapa
  5. Beothuk
  6. Caddoan (5)
  7. Cayuse
  8. Chimakuan (2)
  9. Chimariko
  10. Chinookan (3)
  11. Chitimacha
  12. Chumashan (6)
  13. Coahuilteco
  14. Comecrudan (United States & Mexico) (3)
  15. Coosan (2)
  16. Cotoname
  17. Eskimo–Aleut (7)
  18. Esselen
  19. Haida
  20. Iroquoian (11)
  21. Kalapuyan (3)
  22. Karankawa
  23. Karuk
  24. Keresan (2)
  25. Kutenai
  26. Maiduan (4)
  27. Muskogean (9)
  28. Na-Dené (United States, Canada & Mexico) (39)
  29. Natchez
  30. Palaihnihan (2)
  31. Plateau Penutian (4) (also known as Shahapwailutan)
  32. Pomoan (7)
  33. Salinan
  34. Salishan (23)
  35. Shastan (4)
  36. Siouan (19)
  37. Siuslaw
  38. Solano
  39. Takelma
  40. Tanoan (7)
  41. Timucua
  42. Tonkawa
  43. Tsimshianic (2)
  44. Tunica
  45. Utian (15) (also known as Miwok–Costanoan)
  46. Uto-Aztecan (33)
  47. Wakashan (7)
  48. Wappo
  49. Washo
  50. Wintuan (4)
  51. Yana
  52. Yokutsan (3)
  53. Yuchi
  54. Yuki
  55. Yuman–Cochimí (11)
  56. Zuni

Central America and Mexico

The indigenous languages of Mexico that have more than 100,000 speakers Map of the languages of Mexico.png
The indigenous languages of Mexico that have more than 100,000 speakers
The Mayan languages Distribution-myn2.png
The Mayan languages
The Chibchan languages Chibcha lang.png
The Chibchan languages

In Central America the Mayan languages are among those used today. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name, and Mexico recognizes eight more. The Mayan language family is one of the best documented and most studied in the Americas. Modern Mayan languages descend from Proto-Mayan, a language thought to have been spoken at least 4,000 years ago; it has been partially reconstructed using the comparative method.

  1. Alagüilac (Guatemala)
  2. Chibchan (Central America & South America) (22)
  3. Coahuilteco
  4. Comecrudan (Texas & Mexico) (3)
  5. Cotoname
  6. Cuitlatec (Mexico: Guerrero)
  7. Epi-Olmec (Mexico: language of undeciphered inscriptions)
  8. Guaicurian (8)
  9. Huave
  10. Jicaquean
  11. Lencan (2)
  12. Maratino (northeastern Mexico)
  13. Mayan (31)
  14. Misumalpan (5)
  15. Mixe–Zoquean (19)
  16. Naolan (Mexico: Tamaulipas)
  17. Oto-Manguean (27)
  18. Pericú
  19. Purépecha
  20. Quinigua (northeast Mexico)
  21. Seri
  22. Solano
  23. Tequistlatecan (3)
  24. Totonacan (2)
  25. Uto-Aztecan (United States & Mexico) (33)
  26. Xincan (5)
  27. Yuman (United States & Mexico) (11)

South America and the Caribbean

Some of the greater families of South America: dark spots are language isolates or quasi-isolate, grey spots unclassified languages or languages with doubtful classification. (Note that Quechua, the family with most speakers, is not displayed.) SouthAmerican families 03.png
Some of the greater families of South America: dark spots are language isolates or quasi-isolate, grey spots unclassified languages or languages with doubtful classification. (Note that Quechua, the family with most speakers, is not displayed.)
A Urarina shaman, 1988 Urarina shaman B Dean.jpg
A Urarina shaman, 1988

Although both North and Central America are very diverse areas, South America has a linguistic diversity rivalled by only a few other places in the world with approximately 350 languages still spoken and an estimated 1,500 languages at first European contact.[ citation needed ] The situation of language documentation and classification into genetic families is not as advanced as in North America (which is relatively well studied in many areas). Kaufman (1994: 46) gives the following appraisal:

Since the mid 1950s, the amount of published material on SA [South America] has been gradually growing, but even so, the number of researchers is far smaller than the growing number of linguistic communities whose speech should be documented. Given the current employment opportunities, it is not likely that the number of specialists in SA Indian languages will increase fast enough to document most of the surviving SA languages before they go out of use, as most of them unavoidably will. More work languishes in personal files than is published, but this is a standard problem.

It is fair to say that SA and New Guinea are linguistically the poorest documented parts of the world. However, in the early 1960s fairly systematic efforts were launched in Papua New Guinea, and that area much smaller than SA, to be sure is in general much better documented than any part of indigenous SA of comparable size.

As a result, many relationships between languages and language families have not been determined and some of those relationships that have been proposed are on somewhat shaky ground.

The list of language families, isolates, and unclassified languages below is a rather conservative one based on Campbell (1997). Many of the proposed (and often speculative) groupings of families can be seen in Campbell (1997), Gordon (2005), Kaufman (1990, 1994), Key (1979), Loukotka (1968), and in the Language stock proposals section below.

  1. Aguano
  2. Aikaná (Brazil: Rondônia)(also known as Aikanã, Tubarão)
  3. Andaquí (also known as Andaqui, Andakí)
  4. Andoque (Colombia, Peru)(also known as Andoke)
  5. Andoquero
  6. Arauan (9)
  7. Arawakan (South America & Caribbean) (64) (also known as Maipurean)
  8. Arutani
  9. Aymaran (3)
  10. Baenan (Brazil: Bahia)(also known as Baenán, Baenã)
  11. Barbacoan (8)
  12. Betoi (Colombia)(also known as Betoy, Jirara)
  13. Bororoan
  14. Botocudoan (3) (also known as Aimoré)
  15. Cahuapanan (2) (also known as Jebero, Kawapánan)
  16. Camsá (Colombia)(also known as Sibundoy, Coche)
  17. Candoshi (also known as Maina, Kandoshi)
  18. Canichana (Bolivia)(also known as Canesi, Kanichana)
  19. Carabayo
  20. Cariban (29) (also known as Caribe, Carib)
  21. Catacaoan (also known as Katakáoan)
  22. Cayubaba (Bolivia)
  23. Chapacuran (9) (also known as Chapacura-Wanham, Txapakúran)
  24. Charruan (also known as Charrúan)
  25. Chibchan (Central America & South America) (22)
  26. Chimuan (3)
  27. Chipaya–Uru (also known as Uru–Chipaya)
  28. Chiquitano
  29. Choco (10) (also known as Chocoan)
  30. Chon (2) (also known as Patagonian)
  31. Chono
  32. Coeruna (Brazil)
  33. Cofán (Colombia, Ecuador)
  34. Cueva
  35. Culle (Peru)(also known as Culli, Linga, Kulyi)
  36. Cunza (Chile, Bolivia, Argentina)(also known as Atacama, Atakama, Atacameño, Lipe, Kunsa)
  37. Esmeraldeño (also known as Esmeralda, Takame)
  38. Fulnió
  39. Gamela (Brazil: Maranhão)
  40. Gorgotoqui (Bolivia)
  41. Guaicuruan (7) (also known as Guaykuruan, Waikurúan)
  42. Guajiboan (4) (also known as Wahívoan)
  43. Guamo (Venezuela)(also known as Wamo)
  44. Guató
  45. Harakmbut (2) (also known as Tuyoneri)
  46. Hibito–Cholon
  47. Himarimã
  48. Hodï (Venezuela)(also known as Jotí, Hoti, Waruwaru)
  49. Huamoé (Brazil: Pernambuco)
  50. Huaorani (Ecuador, Peru)(also known as Auca, Huaorani, Wao, Auka, Sabela, Waorani, Waodani)
  51. Huarpe (also known as Warpe)
  52. Irantxe (Brazil: Mato Grosso)
  53. Itonama (Bolivia)(also known as Saramo, Machoto)
  54. Jabutian
  55. Je (13) (also known as Gê, Jêan, Gêan, Ye)
  56. Jeikó
  57. Jirajaran (3) (also known as Hiraháran, Jirajarano, Jirajarana)
  58. Jivaroan (2) (also known as Hívaro)
  59. Kaimbe
  60. Kaliana (also known as Caliana, Cariana, Sapé, Chirichano)
  61. Kamakanan
  62. Kapixaná (Brazil: Rondônia)(also known as Kanoé, Kapishaná)
  63. Karajá
  64. Karirí (Brazil: Paraíba, Pernambuco, Ceará)
  65. Katembrí
  66. Katukinan (3) (also known as Catuquinan)
  67. Kawésqar (Chile)(Kaweskar, Alacaluf, Qawasqar, Halawalip, Aksaná, Hekaine)
  68. Kwaza (Koayá) (Brazil: Rondônia)
  69. Leco (Lapalapa, Leko)
  70. Lule (Argentina)(also known as Tonocoté)
  71. Maku (cf. other Maku)
  72. Malibú (also known as Malibu)
  73. Mapudungu (Chile, Argentina)(also known as Araucanian, Mapuche, Huilliche)
  74. Mascoyan (5) (also known as Maskóian, Mascoian)
  75. Matacoan (4) (also known as Mataguayan)
  76. Matanawí
  77. Maxakalían (3) (also known as Mashakalían)
  78. Mocana (Colombia: Tubará)
  79. Mosetenan (also known as Mosetén)
  80. Movima (Bolivia)
  81. Munichi (Peru)(also known as Muniche)
  82. Muran (4)
  83. Mutú (also known as Loco)
  84. Nadahup (5)
  85. Nambiquaran (5)
  86. Natú (Brazil: Pernambuco)
  87. Nonuya (Peru, Colombia)
  88. Ofayé
  89. Old Catío–Nutabe (Colombia)
  90. Omurano (Peru)(also known as Mayna, Mumurana, Numurana, Maina, Rimachu, Roamaina, Umurano)
  91. Otí (Brazil: São Paulo)
  92. Otomakoan (2)
  93. Paez (also known as Nasa Yuwe)
  94. Palta
  95. Pankararú (Brazil: Pernambuco)
  96. Pano–Tacanan (33)
  97. Panzaleo (Ecuador)(also known as Latacunga, Quito, Pansaleo)
  98. Patagon (Peru)
  99. Peba–Yaguan (2) (also known as Yaguan, Yáwan, Peban)
  100. Pijao
  101. Pre-Arawakan languages of the Greater Antilles (Guanahatabey, Macorix, Ciguayo) (Cuba, Hispaniola)
  102. Puelche (Chile)(also known as Guenaken, Gennaken, Pampa, Pehuenche, Ranquelche)
  103. Puinave (also known as Makú)
  104. Puquina (Bolivia)
  105. Purian (2)
  106. Quechuan (46)
  107. Rikbaktsá
  108. Saliban (2) (also known as Sálivan)
  109. Sechura (Atalan, Sec)
  110. Tabancale (Peru)
  111. Tairona (Colombia)
  112. Tarairiú (Brazil: Rio Grande do Norte)
  113. Taruma
  114. Taushiro (Peru)(also known as Pinchi, Pinche)
  115. Tequiraca (Peru)(also known as Tekiraka, Avishiri)
  116. Teushen (Patagonia, Argentina)
  117. Ticuna (Colombia, Peru, Brazil)(also known as Magta, Tikuna, Tucuna, Tukna, Tukuna)
  118. Timotean (2)
  119. Tiniguan (2) (also known as Tiníwan, Pamiguan)
  120. Trumai (Brazil: Xingu, Mato Grosso)
  121. Tucanoan (15)
  122. Tupian (70, including Guaraní)
  123. Tuxá (Brazil: Bahia, Pernambuco)
  124. Urarina (also known as Shimacu, Itukale, Shimaku)
  125. Vilela
  126. Wakona
  127. Warao (Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela)(also known as Guarao)
  128. Witotoan (6) (also known as Huitotoan, Bora–Witótoan)
  129. Xokó (Brazil: Alagoas, Pernambuco)(also known as Shokó)
  130. Xukurú (Brazil: Pernambuco, Paraíba)
  131. Yaghan (Chile)(also known as Yámana)
  132. Yanomaman (4)
  133. Yaruro (also known as Jaruro)
  134. Yuracare (Bolivia)
  135. Yuri (Colombia, Brazil)(also known as Carabayo, Jurí)
  136. Yurumanguí (Colombia)(also known as Yurimangui, Yurimangi)
  137. Zamucoan (2)
  138. Zaparoan (5) (also known as Záparo)

Language stock proposals

Hypothetical language-family proposals of American languages are often cited as uncontroversial in popular writing. However, many of these proposals have not been fully demonstrated, or even demonstrated at all. Some proposals are viewed by specialists in a favorable light, believing that genetic relationships are very likely to be established in the future (for example, the Penutian stock). Other proposals are more controversial with many linguists believing that some genetic relationships of a proposal may be demonstrated but much of it undemonstrated (for example, Hokan–Siouan, which, incidentally, Edward Sapir called his "wastepaper basket stock"). [11] Still other proposals are almost unanimously rejected by specialists (for example, Amerind). Below is a (partial) list of some such proposals:

  1. Algonquian–Wakashan  (also known as Almosan)
  2. Almosan–Keresiouan  (Almosan + Keresiouan)
  3. Amerind  (all languages excepting Eskimo–Aleut & Na-Dené)
  4. Angonkian–Gulf  (Algic + Beothuk + Gulf)
  5. (macro-)Arawakan
  6. Arutani–Sape (Ahuaque–Kalianan)
  7. Aztec–Tanoan  (Uto-Aztecan + Tanoan)
  8. Chibchan–Paezan
  9. Chikitano–Boróroan
  10. Chimu–Chipaya
  11. Coahuiltecan  (Coahuilteco + Cotoname + Comecrudan + Karankawa + Tonkawa)
  12. Cunza–Kapixanan
  13. Dené–Caucasian
  14. Dené–Yeniseian
  15. Esmerelda–Yaruroan
  16. Ge–Pano–Carib
  17. Guamo–Chapacuran
  18. Gulf  (Muskogean + Natchez + Tunica)
  19. Macro-Kulyi–Cholónan
  20. Hokan  (Karok + Chimariko + Shastan + Palaihnihan + Yana + Pomoan + Washo + Esselen + Yuman + Salinan + Chumashan + Seri + Tequistlatecan)
  21. Hokan–Siouan  (Hokan + Keresiouan + Subtiaba–Tlappanec + Coahuiltecan + Yukian + Tunican + Natchez + Muskogean + Timucua)
  22. Je–Tupi–Carib
  23. Jivaroan–Cahuapanan
  24. Kalianan
  25. Kandoshi–Omurano–Taushiro
  26. (Macro-)Katembri–Taruma
  27. Kaweskar language area
  28. Keresiouan  (Macro-Siouan + Keresan + Yuchi)
  29. Lule–Vilelan
  30. Macro-Andean
  31. Macro-Carib
  32. Macro-Chibchan
  33. Macro-Gê  (also known as Macro-Jê)
  34. Macro-Jibaro
  35. Macro-Lekoan
  36. Macro-Mayan
  37. Macro-Otomákoan
  38. Macro-Paesan
  39. Macro-Panoan
  40. Macro-Puinavean
  41. Macro-Siouan  (Siouan + Iroquoian + Caddoan)
  42. Macro-Tucanoan
  43. Macro-Tupí–Karibe
  44. Macro-Waikurúan
  45. Macro-Warpean  (Muran + Matanawi + Huarpe)
  46. Mataco–Guaicuru
  47. Mosan  (Salishan + Wakashan + Chimakuan)
  48. Mosetén–Chonan
  49. Mura–Matanawian
  50. Sapir's Na-Dené including Haida  (Haida + Tlingit + Eyak + Athabaskan)
  51. Nostratic–Amerind
  52. Paezan (Andaqui + Paez + Panzaleo)
  53. Paezan–Barbacoan
  54. Penutian  (many languages of California and sometimes languages in Mexico)
    1. California Penutian  (Wintuan + Maiduan + Yokutsan + Utian)
    2. Oregon Penutian  (Takelma + Coosan + Siuslaw + Alsean)
    3. Mexican Penutian  (Mixe–Zoque + Huave)
  55. Puinave–Maku
  56. Quechumaran
  57. Saparo–Yawan  (also known as Zaparo–Yaguan)
  58. Sechura–Catacao (also known as Sechura–Tallan)
  59. Takelman  (Takelma + Kalapuyan)
  60. Tequiraca–Canichana
  61. Ticuna–Yuri (Yuri–Ticunan)
  62. Totozoque  (Totonacan + Mixe–Zoque)
  63. Tunican  (Tunica + Atakapa + Chitimacha)
  64. Yok–Utian
  65. Yuki–Wappo

Good discussions of past proposals can be found in Campbell (1997) and Campbell & Mithun (1979).

Amerindian linguist Lyle Campbell also assigned different percentage values of probability and confidence for various proposals of macro-families and language relationships, depending on his views of the proposals' strengths. [12] For example, the Germanic language family would receive probability and confidence percentage values of +100% and 100%, respectively. However, if Turkish and Quechua were compared, the probability value might be −95%, while the confidence value might be 95%.[ clarification needed ] 0% probability or confidence would mean complete uncertainty.

Language FamilyProbabilityConfidence
Algonkian–Gulf−50%50%
Almosan (and beyond)−75%50%
Atakapa–Chitimacha−50%60%
Aztec–Tanoan0%50%
Coahuiltecan−85%80%
Eskimo–Aleut,
Chukotan
[13]
−25%20%
Guaicurian–Hokan0%10%
Gulf−25%40%
Hokan–Subtiaba−90%75%
Jicaque–Hokan−30%25%
Jicaque–Subtiaba−60%80%
Jicaque–Tequistlatecan+65%50%
Keresan and Uto-Aztecan0%60%
Keresan and Zuni−40%40%
Macro-Mayan [14] +30%25%
Macro-Siouan [15] −20%75%
Maya–Chipaya−80%95%
Maya–Chipaya–Yunga−90%95%
Mexican Penutian−40%60%
Misumalpan–Chibchan+20%50%
Mosan−60%65%
Na-Dene0%25%
Natchez–Muskogean+40%20%
Nostratic–Amerind−90%75%
Otomanguean–Huave+25%25%
Purépecha–Quechua−90%80%
Quechua as Hokan−85%80%
Quechumaran+50%50%
Sahaptian–Klamath–(Molala)+75%50%
Sahaptian–Klamath–Tsimshian+10%10%
Takelman [16] +80%60%
Tlapanec–Subtiaba as Otomanguean+95%90%
Tlingit–Eyak–Athabaskan+75%40%
Tunican0%20%
Wakashan and Chimakuan0%25%
Yukian–Gulf−85%70%
Yukian–Siouan−60%75%
Zuni–Penutian−80%50%

Linguistic areas

Unattested languages

Several languages are only known by mention in historical documents or from only a few names or words. It cannot be determined that these languages actually existed or that the few recorded words are actually of known or unknown languages. Some may simply be from a historian's errors. Others are of known people with no linguistic record (sometimes due to lost records). A short list is below.

Loukotka (1968) reports the names of hundreds of South American languages which do not have any linguistic documentation.

Pidgins and mixed languages

Various miscellaneous languages such as pidgins, mixed languages, trade languages, and sign languages are given below in alphabetical order.

  1. American Indian Pidgin English
  2. Algonquian-Basque pidgin (also known as Micmac-Basque Pidgin, Souriquois; spoken by the Basques, Micmacs, and Montagnais in eastern Canada)
  3. Broken Oghibbeway (also known as Broken Ojibwa)
  4. Broken Slavey
  5. Bungee (also known as Bungi, Bungie, Bungay, or the Red River Dialect)
  6. Callahuaya (also known as Machaj-Juyai, Kallawaya, Collahuaya, Pohena, Kolyawaya Jargon)
  7. Carib Pidgin (also known as Ndjuka-Amerindian Pidgin, Ndjuka-Trio)
  8. Carib Pidgin–Arawak Mixed Language
  9. Catalangu
  10. Chinook Jargon
  11. Delaware Jargon (also known as Pidgin Delaware)
  12. Eskimo Trade Jargon (also known as Herschel Island Eskimo Pidgin, Ship's Jargon)
  13. Greenlandic Pidgin (West Greenlandic Pidgin)
  14. Guajiro-Spanish
  15. Güegüence-Nicarao
  16. Haida Jargon
  17. Inuktitut-English Pidgin (Quebec)
  18. Jargonized Powhatan
  19. Labrador Eskimo Pidgin (also known as Labrador Inuit Pidgin)
  20. Lingua Franca Apalachee
  21. Lingua Franca Creek
  22. Lingua Geral Amazônica (also known as Nheengatú, Lingua Boa, Lingua Brasílica, Lingua Geral do Norte)
  23. Lingua Geral do Sul (also known as Lingua Geral Paulista, Tupí Austral)
  24. Loucheux Jargon (also known as Jargon Loucheux)
  25. Media Lengua
  26. Mednyj Aleut (also known as Copper Island Aleut, Medniy Aleut, CIA)
  27. Michif (also known as French Cree, Métis, Metchif, Mitchif, Métchif)
  28. Mobilian Jargon (also known as Mobilian Trade Jargon, Chickasaw-Chocaw Trade Language, Yamá)
  29. Montagnais Pidgin Basque (also known as Pidgin Basque-Montagnais)
  30. Nootka Jargon (spoken during the 18th-19th centuries; later replaced by Chinook Jargon)
  31. Ocaneechi (also known as Occaneechee; spoken in Virginia and the Carolinas in early colonial times)
  32. Pidgin Massachusett
  33. Plains Indian Sign Language

See also

Notes

  1. Greenberg, Joseph (1987). Language in the Americas. Stanford University Press. ISBN   978-0-8047-1315-3.
  2. Campbell, Lyle (2000). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-534983-2., page 253
  3. Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (Ed.). (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (15th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ISBN   1-55671-159-X. (Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com)
  4. Premm, Hanns J.; Riese, Berthold (1983). Coulmas, Florian; Ehlich, Konrad (eds.). Autochthonous American writing systems: The Aztec and Mayan examples. Writing in Focus. Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs. 24. Berlin: Mouton Publishers. pp. 167–169. ISBN   978-90-279-3359-1 . Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  5. Wichmann, Soren (2006). "Mayan Historical Linguistics and Epigraphy: A New Synthesis". Annual Review of Anthropology. 35: 279–294. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.35.081705.123257.
  6. Shapiro, Judith (1987). "From Tupã to the Land without Evil: The Christianization of Tupi-Guarani Cosmology". American Ethnologist. 1 (14): 126–139. doi:10.1525/ae.1987.14.1.02a00080.
  7. Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian languages: the historical linguistics of Native America. Ch. 3 The Origin of American Indian Languages, pp. 90–106. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-509427-1.
  8. Blench, Roger. (2008) Accounting for the Diversity of Amerindian Languages: Modelling the Settlement of the New World . Paper presented at the Archaeology Research Seminar, RSPAS, Canberra, Australia.
  9. If the Caucasus is considered to be a part of Europe, Northwest Caucasian and Northeast Caucasian would be included resulting in five language families within Europe. Other language families, such as the Turkic, Mongolic, Afroasiatic families have entered Europe in later migrations.
  10. Nater 1984, pg. 5
  11. Ruhlen, Merritt. (1991 [1987]). A Guide to the World's Languages Volume 1: Classification, p.216. Edward Arnold. Paperback: ISBN   0-340-56186-6.
  12. Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian languages: the historical linguistics of Native America. Ch. 8 Distant Genetic Relationships, pp. 260–329. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-509427-1.
  13. American-Arctic–Paleosiberian Phylum, Luoravetlan – and beyond
  14. Macro-Mayan includes Mayan, Totonacan, Mixe–Zoquean, and sometimes Huave.
  15. Siouan–Iroquoian–Caddoan–[Yuchi]
  16. Alternatively Takelma–Kalapuyan

Bibliography

North America

  • Boas, Franz. (1911). Handbook of American Indian languages (Vol. 1). Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 40. Washington: Government Print Office (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology).
  • Boas, Franz. (1922). Handbook of American Indian languages (Vol. 2). Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 40. Washington: Government Print Office (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology).
  • Boas, Franz. (1929). Classification of American Indian languages. Language, 5, 1–7.
  • Boas, Franz. (1933). Handbook of American Indian languages (Vol. 3). Native American legal materials collection, title 1227. Glückstadt: J.J. Augustin.
  • Bright, William. (1973). North American Indian language contact. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Linguistics in North America (part 1, pp. 713–726). Current trends in linguistics (Vol. 10). The Hauge: Mouton.
  • Goddard, Ives (Ed.). (1996). Languages. Handbook of North American Indians (W. C. Sturtevant, General Ed.) (Vol. 17). Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN   0-16-048774-9.
  • Goddard, Ives. (1999). Native languages and language families of North America (rev. and enlarged ed. with additions and corrections). [Map]. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press (Smithsonian Institution). (Updated version of the map in Goddard 1996). ISBN   0-8032-9271-6.
  • Goddard, Ives. (2005). The indigenous languages of the southeast. Anthropological Linguistics, 47 (1), 1–60.
  • Mithun, Marianne. (1990). Studies of North American Indian Languages. Annual Review of Anthropology, 19(1): 309–330.
  • Mithun, Marianne. (1999). The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN   0-521-29875-X.
  • Nater, Hank F. (1984). The Bella Coola Language. Mercury Series; Canadian Ethnology Service (No. 92). Ottawa: National Museums of Canada.
  • Powell, John W. (1891). Indian linguistic families of America north of Mexico. Seventh annual report, Bureau of American Ethnology (pp. 1–142). Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. (Reprinted in P. Holder (Ed.), 1966, Introduction to Handbook of American Indian languages by Franz Boas and Indian linguistic families of America, north of Mexico, by J. W. Powell, Lincoln: University of Nebraska).
  • Powell, John W. (1915). Linguistic families of American Indians north of Mexico by J. W. Powell, revised by members of the staff of the Bureau of American Ethnology. (Map). Bureau of American Ethnology miscellaneous publication (No. 11). Baltimore: Hoen.
  • Sebeok, Thomas A. (Ed.). (1973). Linguistics in North America (parts 1 & 2). Current trends in linguistics (Vol. 10). The Hauge: Mouton. (Reprinted as Sebeok 1976).
  • Sebeok, Thomas A. (Ed.). (1976). Native languages of the Americas. New York: Plenum.
  • Sherzer, Joel. (1973). Areal linguistics in North America. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Linguistics in North America (part 2, pp. 749–795). Current trends in linguistics (Vol. 10). The Hauge: Mouton. (Reprinted in Sebeok 1976).
  • Sherzer, Joel. (1976). An areal-typological study of American Indian languages north of Mexico. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
  • Sletcher, Michael, 'North American Indians', in Will Kaufman and Heidi Macpherson, eds., Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, (2 vols., Oxford, 2005).
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  • Vaas, Rüdiger: 'Die Sprachen der Ureinwohner'. In: Stoll, Günter, Vaas, Rüdiger: Spurensuche im Indianerland. Hirzel. Stuttgart 2001, chapter 7.
  • Voegelin, Carl F.; & Voegelin, Florence M. (1965). Classification of American Indian languages. Languages of the world, Native American fasc. 2, sec. 1.6). Anthropological Linguistics, 7 (7): 121-150.
  • Zepeda, Ofelia; Hill, Jane H. (1991). The condition of Native American Languages in the United States. In R. H. Robins & E. M. Uhlenbeck (Eds.), Endangered languages (pp. 135–155). Oxford: Berg.

South America

  • Adelaar, Willem F. H.; & Muysken, Pieter C. (2004). The languages of the Andes. Cambridge language surveys. Cambridge University Press.
  • Fabre, Alain. (1998). "Manual de las lenguas indígenas sudamericanas, I-II". München: Lincom Europa.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1990). Language history in South America: What we know and how to know more. In D. L. Payne (Ed.), Amazonian linguistics: Studies in lowland South American languages (pp. 13–67). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN   0-292-70414-3.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1994). The native languages of South America. In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher (Eds.), Atlas of the world's languages (pp. 46–76). London: Routledge.
  • Key, Mary R. (1979). The grouping of South American languages. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.
  • Loukotka, Čestmír. (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: Latin American Studies Center, University of California.
  • Mason, J. Alden. (1950). The languages of South America. In J. Steward (Ed.), Handbook of South American Indians (Vol. 6, pp. 157–317). Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology bulletin (No. 143). Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
  • Migliazza, Ernest C.; & Campbell, Lyle. (1988). Panorama general de las lenguas indígenas en América. Historia general de América (Vol. 10). Caracas: Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia.
  • Rodrigues, Aryon. (1986). Linguas brasileiras: Para o conhecimento das linguas indígenas. São Paulo: Edições Loyola.
  • Rowe, John H. (1954). Linguistics classification problems in South America. In M. B. Emeneau (Ed.), Papers from the symposium on American Indian linguistics (pp. 10–26). University of California publications in linguistics (Vol. 10). Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Sapir, Edward. (1929). Central and North American languages. In The encyclopædia britannica: A new survey of universal knowledge (14 ed.) (Vol. 5, pp. 138–141). London: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, Ltd.
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  • Debian North American Indigenous Languages Project

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