Western Apache language

Last updated
Western Apache
Ndee biyáti' / Nnee biyáti'
Native to United States
RegionPrimarily south-east Arizona
Ethnicity Western Apache
Native speakers
14,000 (65% of pop.) (2007) [1]
Dené–Yeniseian
Language codes
ISO 639-3 apw
Glottolog west2615 [2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Western Apache language is a Southern Athabaskan language spoken among the 14,000 Western Apaches living primarily in east central Arizona as well as Texas [3] and New Mexico. There are approximately 6,000 speakers living on the San Carlos Reservation and 7,000 living on the Ft. Apache Reservation. [4] Goodwin (1938) claims that Western Apache can be divided into five dialect groupings:

Southern Athabaskan languages subfamily of Athabaskan languages

Southern Athabaskan is a subfamily of Athabaskan languages spoken primarily in the Southwestern United States with two outliers in Oklahoma and Texas. The language is spoken to a much lesser degree in the northern Mexican states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila, and Nuevo León. Those languages are spoken by various groups of Apache and Navajo peoples. Elsewhere, Athabaskan is spoken by many indigenous groups of peoples in Alaska, Canada, Oregon and northern California. It represents the third major wave of ancient migration from Asia.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation Indian reservation

The San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, in southeastern Arizona, United States, was established in 1872 as a reservation for the Chiricahua Apache tribe as well as surrounding Yavapai and Apache bands forcibly removed from their original homelands under a strategy devised by General George Crook of using an Apache to catch an Apache. Also known as "Hell's Forty Acres" under United States occupation because of deplorable health and environmental conditions, today's San Carlos Apaches successfully operate a Chamber of Commerce, the Apache Gold Casino, a Language Preservation program, a Culture Center, and a Tribal College.

Contents

Other researchers do not find any linguistic evidence for five groups but rather three main varieties with several subgroupings:

Western Apache is most closely related to other Southern Athabaskan languages like Navajo, Chiricahua Apache, Mescalero Apache, Lipan Apache, Plains Apache, and Jicarilla Apache.

Navajo language Athabaskan language of Na-Dené stock spoken in the southwestern United States

Navajo or Navaho is a Southern Athabaskan language of the Na-Dené family, by which it is related to languages spoken across the western areas of North America. Navajo is spoken primarily in the Southwestern United States, especially on the Navajo Nation. It is one of the most widely spoken Native American languages and is the most widely spoken north of the Mexico–United States border, with almost 170,000 Americans speaking Navajo at home as of 2011. The language has struggled to keep a healthy speaker base, although this problem has been alleviated to some extent by extensive education programs on the Navajo Nation.

Mescalero ethnic group

Mescalero or Mescalero Apache is an Apache tribe of Southern Athabaskan Native Americans. The tribe is federally recognized as the Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Apache Reservation, located in south central New Mexico.

Lipan is an Eastern Southern Athabaskan language spoken by the Lipan Apache. In 1981, it was reported that there were only 2 or 3 elderly speakers still alive.

In 2011, the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Language Preservation Program in Peridot, Arizona, began its outreach to the "14,000 tribal members residing within the districts of Bylas, Gilson Wash, Peridot and Seven Mile Wash," [5] only 20% of whom still speak the language fluently. [6]

Peridot, Arizona Census-designated place in Arizona, United States

Peridot ) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Gila and Graham counties in the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 1,350 at the 2010 census.

Bylas, Arizona Census-designated place in Arizona, United States

Bylas is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Graham County, Arizona, United States, within the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. As of the 2010 census, its population was 1,962. The community has a medical clinic, a police substation, and a market. Bylas is an Apache settlement divided into two communities, one of the White Mountain Apache, the other of San Carlos and Southern Tonto Apache. It is named for Bylas a chief of the Eastern White Mountain Apache band.

Place names

Many Western Apache place names that are currently in use are believed to be creations of Apache ancestors. [7] Keith Basso, a prominent Western Apache linguist, writes that the ancestors frequently traveled for food, and the need to remember specific places was "facilitated by the invention of hundreds of descriptive placenames that were intended to depict their referents in close and exact detail." [7] Basso also writes that place names provide descriptions of specific locations and also "positions for viewing these locations." [7] The place names are a fundamental aspect of Western Apache communication, allowing for what Basso describes as an appropriation of "mythic significance" for “specialized social ends" via the practice of "speaking with names." [7]

Keith H. Basso American anthropologist

Keith Hamilton Basso was a cultural and linguistic anthropologist noted for his study of the Western Apaches, specifically those from the community of Cibecue, Arizona. Basso was professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of New Mexico and earlier taught at the University of Arizona and Yale University.

Place names can be descriptive or commemorative or a means of identifying clans. Social groups will often use place names as a way to communicate. For example, they use place names to explain what happened to them: if there is a story linked to the location, they can relate to it or use it as a warning. That use of place names is known in the culture as "shooting with stories," as they shoot one another with stories like arrows of information [8] .

Grammar

Western Apache uses a classificatory verb system comparable to both the Jicarilla [3] and Mescalero Apaches. Basso gives this example: "the stems –tii and –'a are used in the phrases nato sentii and nato sen’a both of which may be translated broadly as “hand (me) the tobacco.” The difference in meaning between the two verb forms is signaled by their stems: --tii refers to the handling of a single, elongated object (e.g., a cigarette), while –‘a refers to the handling of a single, compact object (e.g., a packet of cigarettes). In short, the referent of the noun nato (“tobacco”) is made more precise according to the stem with which it is coupled." [9]

The use of classificatory verbs is similar to that of nouns: the speaker must select an expression that corresponds to the situation in the world he wishes to refer to. The speaker must place specific objects into categories and use the appropriate verb form in accordance with the particular category. Basso gives these examples of classifications for the Western Apache verb system:

  1. Animal/Non-animal. There are two features on this dimension: "animal" and "non-animal." The former, designated by the symbol (a1) includes all vertebrates and insects. The latter, designated (a2), includes flora, liquids, minerals, and practically all items of material culture.
  2. Enclosure. There are two features on this dimension. The first (bl) refers to the condition whereby the item or object being talked about is enclosed in a container. The second (b2) refers to the condition whereby it is not enclosed, i.e., not in a container.
  3. State. There are three features on this dimension: "solid" (c1), "plastic" (c2), and "liquid" (c3). The second feature refers to moist, plastic substances such as mud, wet clay, etc., and might also have been defined as "neither solid nor liquid."
  4. Number. There are three features on this dimension: "one" (d1), "two" (d2), and "more than two" (d3).
  5. Rigidity. There are two features on this dimension: "rigid" (e1), and "non-rigid" (e2). The Apache consider an object to be rigid (nkliz) if, when held at its edge or end, it does not bend.
  6. Length. There are two features on this dimension. The first (f1), refers to the condition whereby the horizontal length of an object is at least three times greater than either its width of height. The second feature (f2) refers to the condition whereby the length of an object is less than three times its width or height.
  7. Portability. There are two features on this dimension: "portable" (g1) and "non-portable" (g2). The former refers to items light enough in weight to be easily carried by one man. The latter refers to items sufficiently heavy to require at least two men to carry them. [9]

Phonology

Consonants

There are 29 consonants in Western Apache:

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral
Nasal mn
Stop voiceless ptkʔ
voiced (ⁿd/d)
aspirated
ejective
Affricate voiceless ts
aspirated tsʰtɬʰtʃʰ
ejective tsʼtɬʼtʃʼ
Fricative voiceless sɬʃh
voiced zʒɣ
Approximant ljw

Vowels

There are 16 vowels in Western Apache:

  Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close oral ɪ    
nasal ɪ̃ĩː    
Open-mid oral ɛɛː  o
nasal ɛ̃ɛ̃ː  õõː
Open oral   a  
nasal   ããː  

An acute accent /á/ represents a high toned accent. Low toned accents are not marked.

Phonetic Semantic signs are divided into two sub-parts: a logographs [10] (donate only one word) and phraseographs (donate one or more words).

Unaffricated stops

Western Apache utilizes unaffricated stops. Willem de Reuse explains, "Unaffricated stop consonants are produced in three locations: bilabial, alveolar, velar. At the alveolar and velar places of articulation, there are three possibilities: aspirated, ejective, and unaspirated. (The voiceless unaspirated alveolars are characteristically realized as taps in intervocalic environments other than stem-initial position) The bilabial stops are more restricted. Ejective bilabial stops do not occur, and aspirated bilabial stops are rarely attested, surfacing primarily, if not exclusively, in borrowed words. The closure for three alveolar stops is voiceless, as indicated by the absence of any energy in the spectrograms during the closure phase." [11]

Writing system

Partial image of one of the pictographs on the cover of Basso's Western Apache language and culture. SilasJohn@KeithBasso.png
Partial image of one of the pictographs on the cover of Basso’s Western Apache language and culture.

The only writing system native to Western Apache is a system of symbols created in 1904 by Silas John Edwards to record 62 prayers that he believed came to him from heaven. [12] A Silas John prayer-text is a set of graphic symbols written on buckskin or paper. The symbols are arranged in horizontal lines which are read from left to right in descending order. Symbols are separated by a space, and each symbol corresponds to a single line of prayer, which may consist of a word, a phrase, or one or more sentences. [12] An interesting feature of this writing system is that it includes symbols for nonverbal actions as well as verbal speech. [12]

Symbols can either be "compound" or "non-compound". Compound symbols consist of two symbols being combined in order to form a new symbol. Non-compound symbols are symbols that are not combination of two separate symbols. [12] The "names" of non-compound symbols are the same as the line of text that the symbols elicit. Because of this, the linguistic referent of a non-compound symbol is always the same as the meaning of the element that forms it and can be learned in a single operation. [12]

Alphabet and pronunciation

Western Apache uses a modified version of the Latin alphabet:

Letters ʼ – ŁʼABChChʼDDlDzEGGhHIJKLŁ
IPA equivalentʔaptʃʰtʃʔttsɛkɣxɪlɬ
Writtenoʼiʼánachabéshchizhchʼahdǫ́ʼdlǫ́ʼdziłeʼilzaagaagéighálhashbidíizeejaasíláhákeekʼaailohłóg
IPA pronunciationoʔɪʔánatʃʔapɛ́ʃtʃʰɪʒtʃʔaxtṍʔtlṍʔtsɪɬɛʔɪlzaːkaːkɛ́ɪɣálxaʃpɪtɪ́ɪzɛːdʒaːsɪ́láxákʰɛːkʔaːɪloxɬók
Meaningholeaxknifewoodhatflybirdmountainpicturecrowbellsquailmedicineearingsshoebulletsthreadfish

Letters M – ZhMNOPSShTTłʼTsTsʼUWYZZh
IPA equivalentmnosʃtɬʰtɬʔtsʰtsʔuwjzʒ
Writtenmbánadą́ʼoyeełpiishisilaadashashtúsitʼohtłád / ikʼahtłʼohtséétsʼaałiwooyoozaszhaali
IPA pronunciationmpánatã́ojɛːɬpʰɪːʃɪsɪlaːtaʃaʃtʰúsɪtʰʔoxtɬʰát / ɪkʰʔaxtɬʔoxtsʰɛ́ːtsʼaːɬtʰúɪwoːjoːzasʒaːlɪ
Meaningcoyotecorncarryswallowsoldierbearjugnestoilplantsrockcradleboardwaterteethbeadssnowmoney

Charactersaaąáą́ąąéęę́ęęíįį́įįóǫǫǫǫ́ú
IPA equivalentãáã́ãːɛ́ɛ̃ɛ̃́ɛ̃ːɪ́ɪ̃ɪ̃́ɪ̃ːóõõːú

Usage

The geographic locations of events are crucial components to any Western Apache story or narrative. [7] All Western Apache narratives are spatially anchored to points upon the land, with precise depictions of specific locations, which is characteristic of many Native American languages. [10] [7] Basso called the practice of focusing on places in the language "speaking with names." [7]

According to Basso, the Western Apache practice of "speaking with names" expresses functional range and versatility. Basso claims that "a description of a place may be understood to accomplish all of the following actions:

  1. produce a mental image of a particular geographical location;
  2. evoke prior texts, such as historical tales and sagas;
  3. affirm the value and validity of traditional moral precepts (i.e., ancestral wisdom);
  4. display tactful and courteous attention to aspects of both positive and negative face;
  5. convey sentiments of charitable concern and personal support;
  6. offer practical advice for dealing with disturbing personal circumstances (i.e., apply ancestral wisdom);
  7. transform distressing thoughts caused by excessive worry into more agreeable ones marked by optimism and hopefulness;
  8. heal wounded spirits." [7]

Basso also claims the practice of "speaking with names" can occur only between those with shared "knowledge of the same traditional narratives." [7] He notes that though many elders in Western Apache communities, such as Cibecue, share this knowledge, younger generations of Western Apache "are ignorant of both placenames and traditional narratives in increasing numbers," which makes engaging in the practice of "speaking with names" incredibly difficult. [7]

Examples

Revitalization efforts

Western Apache is an endangered language, and there are efforts to increase the number of speakers. [13] One method of teaching Western Apache is the Total Physical Response (TPR) Method, [13] which focuses, especially in early instruction, on commands. [13] That method is best for teaching the straightforward aspects of grammar, such as yes-and-no questions, and can be enhanced with further grammatical exercises. [13]

Related Research Articles

Athabaskan languages large group of indigenous languages of North America

Athabaskan is a large family of indigenous languages of North America, located in western North America in three groups of contiguous languages: Northern, Pacific Coast and Southern. Kari and Potter 2010:10 place the total territory of the 53 Athabaskan languages at 1,563,000 mi2 or 4,022,000 km2.

The Apache are a group of culturally related Native American tribes in the Southwestern United States, which include the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Salinero, Plains and Western Apache. Distant cousins of the Apache are the Navajo, with which they share the Southern Athabaskan languages. There are Apache communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Apache people have moved throughout the United States and elsewhere, including urban centers. The Apache Nations are politically autonomous, speak several different languages and have distinct cultures.

Mount Graham mountain

Mount Graham is a mountain in southeastern Arizona in the United States, approximately 70 miles northeast of Tucson. The mountain reaches 10,724 feet (3,269 m) in height. It is the highest elevation in Graham County, Coronado National Forest and the Pinaleño Mountains As the name "Mount Graham" is often used by locals to refer to the entire mountain range, the peak itself is frequently referred to as "High Peak". It is twentieth of the 57 ultra prominent peaks of the lower 48 states, and the first of the five in Arizona.

Western Apache people ethnic group

The Western Apache live primarily in east central Arizona, in the United States. Most live within reservations. The Fort Apache Indian Reservation, San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Tonto Apache, and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation are home to the majority of Western Apache and are the bases of their federally recognized tribes. In addition, there are numerous bands. The Western Apache bands call themselves Ndee (Indé) ; because of dialectical differences the Pinaleño/Pinal and Arivaipa/Aravaipa bands of the San Carlos Apache pronounce the word Innee or Nnēē:.

The Tonto Apache is one of the groups of Western Apache people. The term is also used for their dialect, one of the three dialects of the Western Apache language. The Chiricahua living to the south called them Ben-et-dine or binii?e'dine'. The neighboring Western Apache ethnonym for them was Koun'nde, from which the Spanish derived their use of Tonto for the group. The kindred but enemy Navajo to the north called both the Tonto Apache and their allies, the Yavapai, Dilzhʼíʼ dinéʼiʼ - “People with high-pitched voices”).

The Plains Apache language is a Southern Athabaskan language spoken by the Plains Apache peoples living primarily in central Oklahoma.

Mescalero-Chiricahua is a Southern Athabaskan language spoken by the Mescalero and the Chiricahua tribes in Oklahoma and New Mexico. It is related to Navajo and Western Apache and has been described in great detail by the anthropological linguist Harry Hoijer (1904–1976), especially in Hoijer & Opler (1938) and Hoijer (1946). Hoijer & Opler's Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache Texts, including a grammatical sketch and traditional religious and secular stories, has been converted into an online "book" available from the University of Virginia.

Harry Hoijer was a linguist and anthropologist who worked on primarily Athabaskan languages and culture. He additionally documented the Tonkawa language, which is now extinct. Hoijer's few works make up the bulk of material on this language. Hoijer was a student of Edward Sapir.

Grenville Goodwin, born Greenville Goodwin (1907–1940), is best known for his participant-observer ethnology work among the Western Apache in the 1930s in the American Southwest. Largely self-taught as an anthropologist, he lived among the Apache for nearly a decade, and learned their stories and rituals. His monograph The Social Organization of the Western Apache was considered a major contribution to American ethnology. It was published in 1941 after his death at age 32, when his promising career was cut short.

Yavapai Native American tribe

Yavapai are a Native American tribe in Arizona. Historically, the Yavapai – literally “people of the sun” – were divided into four geographical bands who identified as separate, independent peoples: the Ɖo:lkabaya, or Western Yavapai; the Yavbe', or Northwestern Yavapai; the Guwevkabaya, or Southeastern Yavapai; and the Wi:pukba, or Northeastern Yavapai - Verde Valley Yavapai.

Pliny Earle Goddard was an American linguist and ethnologist noted for his extensive documentation of the languages and cultures of the Athabaskan peoples of western North America. His early research, carried out under the auspices of the University of California, Berkeley, focused on the Hupa and adjacent Athabaskan groups in northwestern California. After moving to New York in 1909 at the invitation of Franz Boas his scope expanded to include the Athabaskans of the Southwest, Canada, and Alaska. During the 1910s and 1920s. as Boas's junior colleague at the American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University, Goddard played a major role in creating the academic infrastructure for American Indian linguistics and anthropology in North America.

Black River (Arizona) river in Arizona, United States

The Black River is a 114-mile-long (183 km) river in the White Mountains of the U.S. state of Arizona. It forms southwest of Alpine and flows southwest then northwest to meet the White River west of Fort Apache. The merged streams form the Salt River, a major tributary of the Gila River.

Timeline of anthropology, 1970–1979

John Rope White Mountain Apache clan leader and Apache scout

John Rope (circa 1855/1863 – 8 August 1944, born Tlodilhil was a White Mountain Apache clan leader and Apache scout who received a medal of honor. Rope was born somewhere between Old Summit and Black River, Arizona, but says his earliest memories are from his time near Cedar Creek, which is just West of Fort Apache. Rope's father was Nayundiie, a White Mountain Apache clan leader. He was foster brother to Mickey Free.

The Mescal Mountains are a series of connected mountain ridges in southern Gila County, Arizona. Their highest point is El Capitan Mountain, which has an elevation of 6,568 ft and a prominence of 1,828 ft. The highest point has a topographic isolation of 5.98 miles, with the nearest point of equal or greater elevation being to the north west in the Pinal Mountains. The mountain ridges are visible in the east from Arizona State Route 77 between Globe and Winkelman.The range is approximately 10 miles west of San Carlos Lake, which lies in the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation; the ridges themselves also mostly fall within the boundary of the reservation, with the exception of the western section and the high point. As such, hiking the ridge may require special permission from San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, although no trails exist on the mountains themselves or leading to them. The ridge's relative proximity to the more visually dominant Pinal Mountains, make it an often-overlooked feature. The range is one of many to occur in the Arizona transition zone.

References

  1. as reported by Willem de Reuse in Golla, Victor. 2007. North America. In Encyclopedia of the world's endangered languages, ed. Christopher Moseley (pp. 1–95). Routledge: London.
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Western Apache". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 1 2 http://www.native-languages.org/apache.htm.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. "Did you know Western Apache is threatened?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  5. Sandra Rambler (2011-11-09). "Arizona Silver Belt Tribe focuses on preservation of Apache language". Arizona Silver Belt. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  6. 'Testimony of Mary Kim Titla:Reclaiming our Image and Identity for the next Seven Generations,' Senate Committee on Indian Affairs,' November 29, 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Basso, Keith H. (1 January 1988). ""Speaking with Names": Language and Landscape among the Western Apache". Cultural Anthropology. 3 (2): 99–130. doi:10.1525/can.1988.3.2.02a00010. JSTOR   656347.
  8. Basso, Keith H. (1996). Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and language among the Western Apache. Albequerque: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 46–48.
  9. 1 2 Basso, Keith H. (1 January 1968). "The Western Apache Classificatory Verb System: A Formal Analysis". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology. 24 (3): 252–266. JSTOR   3629347.
  10. 1 2 Basso, KH; Anderson, N. "A Western apache writing system: the symbols of silas john". Science. 180: 1013–22. doi:10.1126/science.180.4090.1013. PMID   17806568.
  11. "Phonetic Structures of Western Apache: Articles+". eds.b.ebscohost.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 Basso, Keith H.; Anderson, Ned (1973-01-01). "A Western Apache Writing System: The Symbols of Silas John". Science. 180 (4090): 1013–1022. doi:10.1126/science.180.4090.1013. JSTOR   1736310.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 J., de Reuse, Willem. "Issues in Language Textbook Development: The Case of Western Apache".

Bibliography

Language pedagogy

Literature and dictionaries