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Siouan languages

The Siouan (a.k.a. Siouan proper, Western Siouan) languages are a Native American language family of North America, and the second largest indigenous language family in North America, after Algonquian. The Siouan family is related to the Catawban family, together making up the Siouan-Catawban family. Some authors use the term Siouan to refer to the Siouan-Catawban family and the term Siouan proper to refer to the Siouan family.

While the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota comprise "the Great Sioux Nation", the language family is much broader and includes "the old speakers", the Ho-Chunk and their linguistic cousins, the Crow. The Siouan family also extends eastward to Virginia and southward to the Gulf of Mexico.

While social migrations have yet to be definitively worked out, linguistic and historical records indicate a possible southern origin of Siouan people, with migrations over a thousand years ago from North Carolina and Virginia to Ohio, then both down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and up to the Missouri, and across Ohio to Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, home of the Dakota.

Family division

The Siouan family consists of 17 languages with various sub-languages:

I. Missouri River Siouan (a.k.a. Crow-Hidatsa)

1. Crow (a.k.a. Absaroka, Apsaroka, Apsaalooke, Upsaroka)
2. Hidatsa (a.k.a. Gros Ventre, Minitari, Minnetaree)
II. Mandan Siouan
3. Mandan
a. Nuptare
b. Neutare
III. Mississippi Valley Siouan (a.k.a. Central Siouan)
A. Dakotan (a.k.a. Sioux-Assiniboine-Stoney)
4. Sioux
a. Santee-Sisseton (a.k.a. Santee, Eastern Sioux, Dakota)
i. Santee
ii. Sisseton
b. Yankton-Yanktonai (a.k.a. Yankton, Central Sioux, Dakota)
i. Yankton
ii. Yanktonai
c. Teton (a.k.a. Lakhota, Lakota, Western Sioux)
i. Northern Teton
ii. Southern Teton
5. Assiniboine (a.k.a. Assiniboin)
6. Stoney (a.k.a. Alberta Assiniboine)
B. Chiwere-Winnebago (a.k.a. Chiwere)
7. Chiwere (a.k.a. Ioway-Otoe-Missouria, Ioway-Otoe)
a. Iowa (a.k.a. Ioway)
b. Otoe (a.k.a. Oto, Jiwere)
c. Missouria (a.k.a. Missouri)
8. Winnebago (a.k.a. Hocák, Hochunk, Hochank, Hocangara, Hotcangara, Hochangara)
C. Dhegiha (a.k.a. Dhegihan)
9. Omaha-Ponca
a. Omaha
b. Ponca (a.k.a. Ponka)
10. Kansa-Osage
a. Kansa (a.k.a. Kanza, Kaw) (†)
b. Osage
11. Quapaw (a.k.a. Kwapa, Kwapaw, Arkansas) (†)
IV. Ohio Valley Siouan (a.k.a. Southeastern Siouan)
A. Virginia Siouan
12. Tutelo
13. Saponi (a.k.a. Saponey) (†)
14. Moniton (a.k.a. Monacan) (†)
15. Occaneechi
B. Mississippi Siouan (a.k.a. Ofo-Biloxi) (†)
16. Biloxi (†)
17. Ofo (a.k.a. Ofogoula) (†)

(†) - Extinct (dormant) language

Another view of both the Dakotan and Mississippi Valley branches is to represent them as dialect continuums. Notice: This article does not have information about the Virginia Siouan group.

Genetic relations

Some linguists associate Siouan languages with Caddoan and Iroquoian languages in a Macro-Siouan language family. However, such linguistic associations are yet to be proven.

See also


  • Parks, Douglas R.; & Rankin, Robert L. (2001). The Siouan languages. In R. J. DeMallie (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians: Plains (Vol. 13, Part 1, pp. 94-114). W. C. Sturtevant (Gen. Ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-16-050400-7.

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