Sioux is a Siouan language spoken by over 30,000 Sioux in the United States and Canada, making it the fifth most spoken indigenous language in the United States or Canada, behind Navajo, Cree, Inuit languages and Ojibwe.
|Native to||United States, Canada|
|Region||Northern Nebraska, southern Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, northeastern Montana; southern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan|
Sioux has three major regional varieties, with other sub-varieties:
Yankton-Yanktonai (Western Dakota) stands between Santee-Sisseton (Eastern Dakota) and Lakota within the dialect continuum. It is phonetically closer to Santee-Sisseton but lexically and grammatically, it is much closer to Lakota. For this reason Lakota and Western Dakota are much more mutually intelligible than each is with Eastern Dakota. The assumed extent of mutual intelligibility is usually overestimated by speakers of the language. While Lakota and Yankton-Yanktonai speakers understand each other to a great extent, they each find it difficult to follow Santee-Sisseton speakers.
Closely related to the Sioux language are the Assiniboine and Stoney languages, whose speakers use the self-designation term (autonym) Nakhóta or Nakhóda. Speakers of Lakota and Dakota have more difficulty understanding each of the two Nakoda languages (Assiniboine and Stoney).
The following table shows some of the main phonetic differences between the regional varieties of the Sioux language. The table also provides comparison with the two closely related Nakota languages (Assiniboine and Stoney), which are, however, no longer mutually intelligible with the Sioux language.
|Lakota||Western Dakota||Eastern Dakota|
|kibléza||kibdéza||kibdéza||kimnéza||gimnéza||to sober up|
There are also numerous lexical differences among the Sioux dialects as well as between the sub-dialects. Yankton-Yanktonai is lexically closer to the Lakota language than it is to Santee-Sisseton. The following table gives some examples:
|Northern Lakota||Southern Lakota|
|knife||isáŋ / mína||mína||míla|
Life for the Dakota changed significantly in the nineteenth century as the early years brought increased contact with white settlers, particularly Christian missionaries. The goal of the missionaries was to introduce the Dakota to Christian beliefs. To achieve this, the missions began to transcribe the Dakota language. In 1836, brothers Samuel and Gideon Pond, Rev. Stephen Return Riggs, and Dr. Thomas Williamson set out to begin translating hymns and Bible stories into Dakota. By 1852, Riggs and Williamson had completed a Dakota Grammar and Dictionary (Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center). Eventually, the entire Bible was translated.
Today, it is possible to find a variety of texts in Dakota. Traditional stories have been translated, children's books, even games such as Pictionary and Scrabble. Despite such progress, written Dakota is not without its difficulties. The Pond brothers, Rev. Riggs, and Dr. Williamson were not the only missionaries documenting the Dakota language. Around the same time, missionaries in other Dakota bands were developing their own versions of the written language. Since the 1900s, professional linguists have been creating their own versions of the orthography. The Dakota have also been making modifications. "Having so many different writing systems is causing confusion, conflict between our [the Dakota] people, causing inconstancy in what is being taught to students, and making the sharing of instructional and other materials very difficult" (SICC).
Prior to the introduction of the Latin alphabet, the Dakota did have a writing system of their own: one of representational pictographs. In pictographic writing, a drawing represents exactly what it means. For example, a drawing of a dog literally meant a dog. Palmer writes that,
As a written language, it [pictographs] was practical enough that it allowed the Lakota to keep a record of years in their winter counts which can still be understood today, and it was in such common usage that pictographs were recognized and accepted by census officials in the 1880s, who would receive boards or hides adorned with the head of the household’s name depicted graphically. (pg. 34)
For the missionaries, however, documenting the Bible through pictographs was impractical and presented significant challenges.
|aː||a (á)||á||a||a||a||a||a||a||a||a||'a[note 1]|
|ã||an, an' (aη)||aŋ||an̄||ą||an||ą||aŋ||aŋ||aŋ||aη||an|
|tʃʰ||c (c, c̔)||čh||ć||cʽ||c||čh||ć̣||c̣||c||ċ[note 2]||ch|
|eː~ɛː||e (é)||é||e||e||e||e||e||e||e||e||'e[note 1]|
|iː||i (í)||í||i||i||i||i||i||i||i||i||'i[note 1]|
|ĩ||in, in' (iη)||iŋ||in̄||į||in||į||iŋ||iŋ||iŋ||iη||in|
|k||k (k, k̇)||k||k||k||k||k||k||k||k||k||k|
|oː||o (ó)||ó||o||o||o||o||o||o||o||o||'o[note 1]|
|õ~ũ||on, on' (oη)||uŋ||un̄||ų||on||ų||oŋ||oŋ||uŋ||uη||un|
|p||ṗ (p, ṗ)||p||p||p||p||p||p||p||p||p̄||p|
|ʃ||š||š||š||ṡ||x, ś||š||ś||ṡ||ṡ||ṡ[note 3]||sh|
|ʃʔ~ʃʼ||š’||š’||ș̌||ṡ’||x, ś||š||ś’||ṡ’||ṡ’||ṡ’[note 3]||sh'|
|t||t (t, ṫ)||t||t||t||t||t||t||t||t||t||t|
|uː||u (ú)||ú||u||u||u||u||u||u||u||u||'u[note 1]|
|õ~ũ||un, un' (uη)||uŋ||un̄||ų||un||ų||uŋ||uŋ||uŋ||uη||un|
Dakota is an agglutinating language. It features suffixes, prefixes, and infixes. Each affix has a specific rule in Dakota. For example, the suffix –pi is added to the verb to mark the plurality of an animate subject (Shaw, pg. 10). "With respect to number agreement for objects, only animate objects are marked, and these by the verbal prefix wicha-" (Shaw, p. 11). Also, there is no gender agreement in Dakota.
Example of the use of –pi:
Example of the use of wicha-
(Shaw, pg. 12)
Infixes are rare in Dakota, but do exist when a statement features predicates requiring two "patients".
Example of infixing:
Dakota has subject/object/ verb (SOV) word order. Along the same line, the language also has postpositions. Examples of word order:
(Shaw, pg. 10)
According to Shaw, word order exemplifies grammatical relations.
In Dakota, the verb is the most important part of the sentence. There are many verb forms in Dakota, although they are "dichotomized into a stative-active classification, with the active verbs being further subcategorized as transitive or intransitive" (Shaw, p. 11). Some examples of this are:
(Shaw, pp. 11–12)
The phonology, morphology, and syntax of Dakota are very complex. There are a number of broad rules that become more and more specific as they are more closely examined. The components of the language become somewhat confusing and more difficult to study as more sources are examined, as each scholar has a somewhat different opinion on the basic characteristics of the language.
Beaver Creek is a stream in Renville County, in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is a tributary of the Minnesota River.
Beaver Creek is an English translation of the native Sioux language name.Chanunpa
Čhaŋnúŋpa (in Standard Lakota Orthography) is the Sioux language name for the sacred, ceremonial pipe and the ceremony in which it is used. It is often spelled imprecisely as Chanunpa, Chanupa, or C'anupa.
Lakota tradition has it that White Buffalo Calf Woman brought the čhaŋnúŋpa to the people, as one of the Seven Sacred Rites, to serve as a sacred bridge between this world and Wakan Tanka, the "Great Mystery".The čhaŋnúŋpa is one means of conveying prayers to the Creator and the other sacred beings. The various parts of the pipe have symbolic meanings, and much of this symbolism is not shared with those outside the culture. While sacred pipes of various designs are used in ceremonies by a number of different Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, čhaŋnúŋpa is specifically the Lakota name for their type of ceremonial pipe and ceremony. Other nations have their own names for their pipes and ceremonies, in their particular indigenous languages.Cokato Township, Wright County, Minnesota
Cokato Township is a township in Wright County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 1,238 at the 2000 census. Cokato Township was organized in 1868, and named for the Sioux language word meaning "at the middle". The 1896 Cokato Temperance Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Dakotan
Dakotan may refer to:
Sioux language, particularly the dialect of the Santee
Dakotan, a member of the Sioux, especially the Santee tribe
Dakotan, a branch of the Siouan languages including Sioux, Assiniboine and Stony
SS Dakotan, a 1912 American-Hawaiian ship
Dakotan (train), a named passenger train of the United States
Dakotan, of or relating to the Dakota Territory in the United StatesFort L'Huillier
Fort L'Huillier was a short-lived fortification located near the confluence of the Le Sueur River and Blue Earth River in New France in what is now Minnesota.
The garrison, which originally held about 30 men, was built beginning in the autumn of 1700 under the direction of Pierre-Charles Le Sueur, a French trader and explorer interested in mining a blue clay that he thought was copper ore. It was named in honor of a metallurgical assayer, Remy-François L'Hullier. Le Sueur left the fort in 1701 to take samples to New Orleans for further analysis. While he was gone, however, the fort was apparently attacked and abandoned by 1702, and no more was heard of the remaining men. In addition, the blue clay was found to be worthless, not the copper ore Le Sueur had hoped.
The fort was southwest of the present city of Mankato, Minnesota (from "mah kato: "blue earth" in the Sioux language). Its exact location is unknown, although attempts have been made to find it.Great Sioux Nation
The Great Sioux Nation was the political structure of the Sioux in North America at the time of their contact with Europeans and Euro-Americans. Most of the peoples speaking a Siouan language were members of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (pronounced [oˈtʃʰetʰi ʃaˈkowĩ]) or Seven Council Fires. The seven members are sometimes grouped into three regional/dialect groups (Lakota, Western Dakota, and Eastern Dakota), but these mid-level identities were not politically institutionalized. The seven smaller groups were separate members of one confederacy.Hawk Creek (Minnesota)
Hawk Creek is a 62.0-mile-long (99.8 km) tributary of the Minnesota River in Kandiyohi, Chippewa, and Renville counties, Minnesota, United States. It begins at the outlet of Foot Lake in Willmar and flows southwest, passing the cities of Raymond, Clara City, and Maynard. Turning south, it reaches the Minnesota River 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Granite Falls.
"Hawk Creek" is an English translation of the native Sioux language name.Hunkpapa
The Hunkpapa (Lakota: Húŋkpapȟa) are a Native American group, one of the seven council fires of the Lakota tribe. The name Húŋkpapȟa is a Lakota word meaning "Head of the Circle". (At one time, the tribe's name was represented in European-American records as Honkpapa.) By tradition, the Húŋkpapȟa set up their lodges at the entryway to the circle of the Great Council when the Sioux met in convocation. They speak Lakȟóta, one of the three dialects of the Sioux language.Keyapaha, South Dakota
Keyapaha is an unincorporated community in Tripp County, South Dakota, United States. Keyapaha is southwest of Colome and south of New Witten.
The community took its name from the Keya Paha River. The name "Keya Paha" is taken from the Sioux language; literally translated, it means "turtle hill".Lake Okabena
Lake Okabena is a small lake located in Nobles County in southwestern Minnesota. It was first noted on a map made by French explorer Joseph Nicollet in 1841, based upon his explorations of the 1830s. The name okabena means "home of the heron" in the Sioux language. Lake Okabena is located entirely within the present-day city limits of Worthington, Minnesota.Lake Shaokatan
Lake Shaokatan is a lake in Lincoln County, in the U.S. state of Minnesota.. The Minnesota DNR identifies the lake as ID 41008900. It is a "sentinel" lake of 996 acres.
According to Warren Upham, Shaokatan is a name derived from the Sioux language of unknown meaning.The inlet for Lake Shaokatan is located on the west side of the lake and the outlet is located on the North side of the lake. Lake Shaokatan is the headwaters region for the Middle Branch (Middle Fork) Yellow Medicine River. It is a member of the Yellow Medicine River Watershed and tributary to the Minnesota River.Lake Tetonkaha
Lake Tetonkaha is a natural lake in South Dakota, in the United States.Tetonkaha is a name derived from the Sioux language meaning "standing of the big lodging house".Lake Waconia
Lake Waconia is a lake located within the city limits of Waconia in Carver County, Minnesota in the United States.Waconia is derived from a Sioux-language word meaning "fountain" or "spring".
The maximum depth of Lake Waconia is 37 feet deep and is 3,080 acres in size. The lake has long been known for walleye and muskellunge fishing and many anglers target these fish on the numerous reefs that dot the main part of the lake. The lake also is heavily fished for largemouth bass and panfish.
Eurasian watermilfoil was found in the lake in 1989 and zebra mussels were found in 2014.Lakota language
Lakota (Lakȟótiyapi), also referred to as Lakhota, Teton or Teton Sioux, is a Siouan language spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux tribes. Though generally taught and considered by speakers as a separate language, Lakota is mutually intelligible with the other two languages (such as Dakota language), and is considered by most linguists as one of the three major varieties of the Sioux language.
Speakers of the Lakota language make up one of the largest Native American language speech communities in the United States, with approximately 2,000 speakers, who live mostly in the northern plains states of North Dakota and South Dakota. There is a Lakota language program online available for children to use. There is also a Lakota Language Program with classes for children at Red Cloud Indian School.The language was first put into written form by European-American missionaries around 1840. It has since evolved to reflect contemporary needs and usage.Utica, South Dakota
Utica is a town in Yankton County, South Dakota, United States. The population was listed as 65 at the 2010 census.
Some say Utica is a name derived from the Sioux language meaning "dweller", while others believe the name is a transfer from Utica, New York.Wasioja Township, Dodge County, Minnesota
Wasioja Township is a township in Dodge County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 963 at the 2000 census. The unincorporated community of Wasioja is located within the township.
Wasioja Township was organized in 1858. Wasioja is the native Sioux language name for the Zumbro River.Watauga, South Dakota
Watauga is an unincorporated community in Corson County, South Dakota, United States. Although not tracked by the Census Bureau, Watauga has been assigned the ZIP code of 57660.
Watauga is a name derived from the Sioux language meaning "foam".Wewela, South Dakota
Wewela (Lakota: wiwíla; "A spring") is an unincorporated community in Tripp County, South Dakota, United States. Wewela is located on U.S. Route 183 near the Nebraska border south of Colome.
The community most likely was named for springs near the original town site, Wewela meaning "small spring" in the Sioux language.Whitewater River (Minnesota)
The Whitewater River is a 16.6-mile-long (26.7 km) tributary of the Upper Mississippi River which flows through the Driftless Area of Minnesota, reaching its mouth in Wabasha County at the community of Weaver opposite Buffalo, Wisconsin. The nearest towns are Altura, Saint Charles, and Elba. The region hosts endangered native dry oak savannas, semiforested areas that seem to have been dependent on fire for their well-being.The main stem of the Whitewater River is formed by the confluence of the North and Middle forks at Elba, and is joined by the South Fork just downstream. The North Fork flows through Wabasha, Olmsted, and Winona counties, with a "channel length of 47 km" (c. 30 miles). The upper branches of the Whitewater River system including the portion that flows through Whitewater State Park are designated trout streams. Native brook, wild brown and occasionally stocked rainbow trout populate the streams.
The state maintains Whitewater State Park on the upper reach of the main stem, on the Middle Fork and on Trout Run Creek. Crystal Springs Fish Hatchery is located on the lower portion of the South Fork.Whitewater River is the English translation of the native Sioux language name.
Italics indicate extinct languages