Chickasaw

Spoken in ...

USA: in central southern Oklahoma, from Byng or Happyland in the north, and from Davis or Ardmore in the west, to Fillmore and Wapanucka in the east.

Number of speakers

Approximately 1,000.

Legal status

Non-specific protection.

English is the USA's de facto official language. The Native American Languages Act (1990, 1992; amended in 2001) was the first federal legislative act on the language rights of Native Americans and the indigenous peoples of Alaska, Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific. The act not only requires the government of the USA to preserve, protect and promote the aforementioned communities' rights to use and develop their languages, but also specifically recognises their entitlement to use those languages for the purposes of education. Hawaiian is an official language of the Hawaiian Islands, alongside English.

Source(s)

CAMPBELL, L. (1997) American Indian Languages. The Historical Linguistics of Native America, Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford.

LECLERC, J. (2007) L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde. Quebec: TLFQ, Université Laval.

MITHUN, M. (1999) The Languages of Native North America, Cambridge University Press.

Produced by the Endangered Language Study Group (Grup d'Estudi de Llengües Amenaçades or GELA) of the General Linguistics Department of the University of Barcelona.

Comments

When first encountered by Europeans in 1539, the speakers of the Muskogean languages lived in an extensive territory lying within the present-day states of South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, in the southeast of the USA. Most of them were forced to move westwards during the great Indian revolt of 1836-1840.

The Muskogean family's internal classification is not entirely clear, as it is difficult to distinguish between elements that are common to its languages due to interrelationship and those that they share as a result of interaction. The two main proposals regarding the family's internal classification have been made by the linguists Haas and Munro.

Some linguists regard Chickasaw as a dialect of Choctaw and claim that speakers of the two are able to understand one another after a brief period of contact. However, Chickasaw and Choctaw correspond to separate ethnic groups and are thus best treated as different languages.

Chickasaw is spoken in central southern Oklahoma. It has approximately 1,000 speakers (most of whom are aged over 40) among an ethnic group of around 35,000 people. There are also some speakers of the language in Los Angeles (California).

The toponym Oklahoma (okla homma) means 'red people' in Choctaw and Chickasaw.

Number system

Sistema arĂ¡bico

Direction in which language is written

Esquerra a dreta

Alphabet

Classification

  • Family:
    Muskogean
  • Branch:
    Western
  • Group:
    ---------------

Location

  • Continents:
    America
  • Countries:
    United States

Did you know that?

  • Did you know that there are no monolingual states in the world?

Online resources