[al-gong-kee-uhn, -kwee-uhn]
Algonquian, branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic family of North America. See Native American languages.
Algonquian-Wakashan (also Almosan, Algonkian-Mosan, Algonkin-Wakashan) is a hypothetical language phylum composed of several established language families that was proposed by Edward Sapir in 1929. His proposal consists of the following:

I. Algic (Algonkin-Ritwan)

A. Algonquian (Algonkin)
B. Beothuk
C. Wiyot-Yurok (Ritwan)

II. Kutenai (also known as Kootenay; a language isolate)

III. Mosan

A. Wakashan
B. Chimakuan
C. Salishan

Kutenai may possibly be distantly related to the Salishan family, but this link has not been demonstrated. The Mosan family proposal is also hypothetical and is currently considered undemonstrated, rather appearing to be a Sprachbund.

Joseph Greenberg renamed Sapir's proposal Almosan and grouped it in an even more inclusive Almosan-Keresiouan phylum with the Caddoan, Iroquoian, Keresan, and Siouan-Catawban families. This proposal has received little support among historical linguists.


  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Greenberg, Joseph H. (1987). Language in the Americas. Stanford: Stanford University 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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