Caddoan languages

Caddoan languages

Infobox Language family
region=Great Plains, North America

map_caption=Caddoan languages

The Caddoan languages are a family of Native American languages. They are spoken across the Great Plains of the central United States, from North Dakota to Oklahoma.

Family division

Five languages belong to the Caddoan language family:

I. Northern Caddoan: A. Pawnee-Kitsai:: a. Kitsai::: 1. Kitsai (also known as Kichai) "(†)":: b. Pawnee::: 2. Arikara (also known as Ree)::: 3. Pawnee (dialects: South Bend, Skiri "(also known as Skidi or Wolf)): B. Wichita::: 4. Wichita (dialects: Wichita proper, Waco, Towakoni)

II. Southern Caddoan::: 5. Caddo (dialects: Kadohadacho, Hasinai, Natchitoches, Yatasi)

The Kitsai language is now extinct, its members having been absorbed into the Witchita tribe in the 19th century. Caddo, Wichita, and Pawnee are presently spoken in Oklahoma by small handfuls of elders. Arikara is spoken on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Some of the languages were formerly more widespread; the Caddo, for example, used to live in northeastern Texas, southwestern Arkansas, and northwestern Louisiana as well as southeastern Oklahoma. The Pawnee formerly lived along the Platte River in what is now Nebraska.

External relations

Adai, a language isolate known only from a 275-word list, may be a Caddoan language, but the documentation is too scanty to determine with certainty. Wallace Chafe finds the relationship unlikely.

Numerous attempts to link the Caddoan and Iroquoian languages in a Macro-Siouan language family are suggestive but remain hypothetical. Similar attempts to find a connection with the Algonkian languages has been partially useful, but not enough evidence for linguists to propose a hypothetical Macro-Algonkian/Iroquoian language family. Fact|date=September 2008


Indiana University-Bloomington American Indian Studies Research Institute's Northern Caddoan Linguistic Text Corpora site: [] and Dictionary Database Search (includes Arikara, Skiri Pawnee, South Band Pawnee, Assiniboine [Nakoda] , and Yanktonai Sioux [Dakota] ): []


* Campbell, Lyle. (1997). "American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America". New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
* Chafe, Wallace L. (1973). Siouan, Iroquoian, and Caddoan. In T. Sebeok (Ed.), "Current trends in linguistics" (Vol. 10, pp. 1164-1209). The Hague: Mouton. (Reprinted as Chafe 1976).
* Chafe, Wallace L. (1976). Siouan, Iroquoian, and Caddoan. In T. Sebeok (Ed.), "Native languages in the Americas" (pp. 527-572). New York: Plenum. (Originally published as Chafe 1973).
* Chafe, Wallace L. (1976). "The Caddoan, Iroquioan, and Siouan languages". Trends in linguistics; State-of-the-art report (No. 3). The Hague: Mouton. ISBN 90-279-3443-6.
* Chafe, Wallace L. (1979). "Caddoan". In L. Campbell & M. Mithun (Eds.), "The languages of Native America: Historical and comparative assessment" (pp. 213-235). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-74624-5.
* Chafe, Wallace L. (1993). Indian languages: Siouan-Caddoan. "Encyclopedia of the North American colonies" (Vol. 3). New York: C. Scribner's Sons ISBN 0-684-19611-5.
* Lesser, Alexander; & Weltfish, Gene. (1932). Composition of the Caddoan linguistic stock. "Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections", "87" (6), 1-15.
* Mithun, Marianne. (1999). "The languages of Native North America". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.
* Taylor, Allan. (1963). Comparative Caddoan. "International Journal of American Linguistics", "29", 113-131.

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