The Caddoan languages are a family of Native American languages. They are spoken by Native Americans in parts of the Great Plains of the central United States, from North Dakota south to Oklahoma.
Family divisionFive languages belong to the Caddoan language family:
- Caddo (dialects: Kadohadacho, Hasinai, Natchitoches, Yatasi)
- Northern Caddoan
- * Wichita (dialects: KirikirɁi:s (a.k.a. Wichita Proper), Waco, Tawakoni) (†)
- * Pawnee–Kitsai
- ** Kitsai (also known as Kichai) (†)
- ** Pawnee
- *** Arikara (also known as Ree)
- *** Pawnee (dialects: South Band, Skiri ''(also known as Skidi or Wolf))
Pre-history of CaddoanGlottochronology is a controversial method of reconstructing in broad detail the history of a language and its relationships. In the case of proto-Caddoan it appears that it divided into two branches, Northern and Southern, more than 3,000 years ago. (The division of the language implies also a geographic or political separation.) South Caddoan or Caddo proper evolved in north-eastern Texas and adjacent Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Other than Caddo, no daughter languages are known, although some probably existed in the 16th and 17th century but were not recorded. Northern Caddoan evolved into several different languages. The language that became Wichita (with several different dialects) branched off about 2,000 years ago. Kitsai separated from the Northern Caddoan stem about 12 centuries ago and Pawnee and Arikara separated 300 to 500 years ago." Caddoan Tree", Texas Beyond History, accessed 30 May 2011; Schleser, Karl H. Plains Indians, A.D. 500 to 1500: The Archaeological Past of Historic Groups. Norman: U of OK Press, 1994, pp. 147-148
External relationsAdai, a language isolate known only from a 275-word list collected in 1804, may be a Caddoan language. The documentation is too scanty to determine with certainty. The Adai lived in Louisiana." Adai." Native Languages, accessed 1 Jun 2011 The language of the Eyeish or Ais, who lived adjacent to the Caddo, was a distinct language, but was probably related to Caddoan." Who were the Ais." Texas Beyond History, accessed 1 Jun 2011 (Another unrelated people also called the Ais lived in Florida.) Some linguists believe that the Caddoan, Iroquoian, and Siouan languages may be connected in a Macro-Siouan language family, but work is suggestive and the theory remains hypothetical. Similar attempts to find a connection with the Algonquian languages have been inconclusive. There is insufficient evidence for linguists to propose a hypothetical Macro-Algonquian/Iroquoian language family.Mithun, Marianne. The languages of native North America. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 305
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