Potawatomi language


Potawatomi language

language
name=Potawatomi
nativename=Neshnabémwen
familycolor=American
states=United States, Canada
region=Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kansas, and southern Ontario
speakers=50
fam1=Algic
fam2=Algonquian
iso2=alg|iso3=pot

Potawatomi (also spelled Pottawatomie; in Potawatomi Bodéwadmimwen or Bodéwadmi Zheshmowen or Neshnabémwen) is a Central Algonquian language and is spoken around the Great Lakes in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Kansas in the United States, and in southern Ontario in Canada, by fewer than 50 Potawatomi people, all elderly. There is currently an effort underway to revive the language.

Classification

Potawatomi is a member of the Algonquian language family (itself a member of the larger Algic stock). It is usually classified as a Central Algonquian Language, along with languages such as Ojibwe, Cree, Menominee, Miami-Illinois, Shawnee and Fox but the label "Central Algonquian" signifies a geographic grouping, rather than that the group of languages descended from a common ancestor language within the Algonquian family. Of these languages, Potawatomi is most similar to Ojibwe, however it also has borrowed a considerable amount of vocabulary from Sauk.

Writing systems

Current writing system

Though no standard orthography has been agreed upon by the Potawatomi communities, the system most commonly used is the "Pedagogical System" developed by the Wisconsin Native American Languages Program. As the name suggests, this writing system was designed to be used in language teaching. The system is alphabetic (based on the Roman Alphabet), and is phonemic, with each letter or digraph representing a contrastive sound. The letters used are: a b ch d e é g h ' i j k m n o p s sh t w y z zh.

Traditional system

The "Traditional System" used in writing Potawatomi is an alphabetic system. Letters are written in syllable groups. Potawatomi, Ottawa, Sac, Fox and Winnebago communities all used this form of syllabic writing. The System was derived from the Roman Alphabet, thus it resembles hand-written Roman text. However, unlike the Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics or the Cherokee alphabet, this writing system has not yet been incorporated into the Unicode standards.

Each Potawatomi Syllabic block in the Traditional System consists of at least two of the 17 alphabetic letters: 13 consonants and 4 vowels. Of the 13 phonemic consonantal letters, the written with [A] was considered optional.

Grammar

Correspondence to the Ojibwe language

Due to the relatively recent diversion from the Ojibwe language, the Potawatomi language still exhibits strong correspondences to the Ojibwe language, and more specifically with the "Odaawaa" (Ottawa) dialect.

Further reading


* Gailland, Maurice. "English-Potawatomi Dictionary". 1840.
* Hockett, Charles Francis. "The Potawatomi Language A Descriptive Grammar". Ann Arbor, Mich: University Microfilms International, 1987.
* Hockett, Charles Francis. "Potawatomi Syntax". 1939.
* Quimby, George Irving. "Some Notes on Kinship and Kinship Terminology Among the Potawatomi of the Huron". S.l: s.n, 1940.
* Wisconsin Native American Languages Project, and John Nichols. "Potawatomi Traditional Writing". Milwaukee Wis: Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, 1975.

External links

* [http://www.potawatomilanguage.org Potawatomi Language Vocabulary, Audio and Video, Interactive Language Games, Online Courses]
* [http://www.potawatomilang.org/Reference/Grammar/grammartopics.html Potawatomi Grammar]
* [http://bzhekigigyagos.objectis.net Potawatomi grammar, teaching materials, stories, etc.]
* [http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=pot Ethnologue report for Potawatomi]
* [http://www.rosettaproject.org/archive/pot The Rosetta Project - Potawatomi Language page]
* [http://www.rosettaproject.org/archive/pot?tab_choice=forum The Rosetta Project - Potawatomi discussion forum]
* [http://www.rosettaproject.org/archive/pot?tab_choice=members The Rosetta Project - people interested in Potawatomi]
* [http://www.neaseno.org The Neshnabe Institute for Cultural Studies - Dedicated to Potawatomi Language Revitalization]
* [http://www.kansasheritage.org/PBP/homepage.html Prairie Band Potawatomi Language Project] Smokey McKinney, 1997


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  • Potawatomi — noun 1. a member of the Algonquian people originally of Michigan and Wisconsin • Hypernyms: ↑Algonquian, ↑Algonquin 2. the Algonquian language spoken by the Potawatomi • Hypernyms: ↑Algonquian, ↑Algonquin, ↑Algonquian language …   Useful english dictionary

  • Potawatomi — noun a) A Native American people of the upper Mississippi River region. b) The Algonquian language spoken by the Potawatomi people …   Wiktionary

  • Potawatomi — [ˌpɒtə wɒtəmi] noun (plural same or Potawatomis) 1》 a member of an American Indian people inhabiting the Great Lakes region, principally in Michigan and Wisconsin. 2》 the Algonquian language of the Potawatomi. Origin the name in Ojibwa …   English new terms dictionary

  • Potawatomi — Pot•a•wat•o•mi [[t]ˌpɒt əˈwɒt ə mi[/t]] n. pl. mis, (esp. collectively) mi. 1) peo a member of an American Indian people residing in SW Michigan and E Wisconsin in the 17th century: later widely dispersed, and now living mainly in Kansas,… …   From formal English to slang

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