Muskogean (also Muskhogean, Muskogee) is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. The Muskogean languages are generally divided into two rough branches, Eastern and Western, though these distinctions are the subject of some debate. They are agglutinative languages.
The Muskogean family has been subdivided into two competing genetic trees. The traditional classification is from Mary Haas and her students. A more recent and controversial classification has been proposed by Pamela Munro.
I. Western Muskogean
II. Eastern Muskogean
I. Northern Muskogean
II. Southern Muskogean
Haas (1951, 1952) suggested that Muskogean languages were part of a larger group she labeled Gulf, composed of Muskogean, Atakapa, Chitimacha, Tunica, and Natchez. These relationships are controversial, however. Sources such as Campbell (1997) reject the Gulf group. Some people have suggested a relationship with the language of the Yamasee. Little is known about the Yamasee language. It is possible that the Yamasee were an amalgamation of several different ethnic groups and did not speak a single language. Chester B. DePratter describes the Yamasee as consisting mainly of speakers of Hitchiti and Guale. The historian Oatis also describes the Yamasee as an ethnically mixed group that included people from Muskogean-speaking regions such as the early colonial-era towns of Hitchiti, Coweta, and Cussita.
The phonemes reconstructed by Mary Haas as */x/ and */xʷ/ show up as /h/ and /f/ (or /ɸ/), respectively, in all Muskogean languages; they are therefore reconstructed by some as */h/ and */ɸ/. */kʷ/ appears as /b/ in all the daughter languages except Creek, where it is /k/ initially and /p/ medially. The value of the proto-phoneme written <θ> is unknown; it appears as /n/ in Western Muskogean languages and as /ɬ/ in Eastern Muskogean languages. Mary Haas reconstructed it as a voiceless /n/, that is, */n̥/.
Verbs mark for first and second person, as well as agent and patient (Choctaw also marks for dative). Third-persons (he, she, it) have a null-marker.
Plurality of a noun agent is marked by either 1) affixation on the verb or 2) an innately plural verbal stem.
Example (pluralization via affixation, Choctaw)
"you [sg.] eat"
"you [pl.] eat"
Example (innately-numbered verbal stems, Mikasuki)
"to run (singular)"
"to run (several)"
"to run (many)"