Additional Help is Available In addition to the assistance provided by our Indian Outreach Services program, you may be able to get help from the following organizations.Cheyenne Language Web Site Conservation of Endangered Languages Ernie's Learn to Speak a Little Hawaiian Ethnologue: Languages of the world Human-Languages Page Index of Native American Language Indians Work To Save a Language--and Their Heritage Lakota Language Translation On-Line Dictionary Language Families of the World Linguistics Maori Language Native American Languages Native Languages of the Americas Native Fonts Ojibwe Language and Culture Oneida Indian Language Project Raven's Tsalagi (Cherokee) Page Translation Humor University of Michigan Linguistics Archive At the time of first European contact, probably close to 1,000 American Indian languages were spoken in North, Central, and South America.Some names are chosen politically rather than linguistically: for instance, Creek and Seminole are mutually intelligible Muskogean languages but are traditionally treated as separate because the tribes who use them are different.
Getting Started For eligibility and to request assistance, contact an IOS employee near you.
Native Americans do not need to be eligible for financial assistance in order to receive Indian Outreach Services.
As genetic relationships are discovered, languages are grouped into families, which then are often compared themselves.
Related families can be classified in turn into larger groups called phyla (singular, phylum) or stocks, or into even broader groupings known as macrophyla or superstocks.
Only a few Native American Indian languages have a written history; therefore, comparative study must be based upon quite recent sources.
Following the traditional principles of historical linguistics, words from Indian languages believed to be related are subjected to minute comparison, in a search for regular correspondences of sound and meaning.Perhaps 300 languages were spoken in Canada and the United States when the first Europeans arrived, and about 200 are still spoken by some 300,000 people. One phylum, American Arctic-Paleosiberian, includes both Eskimo-Aleut, spoken from Alaska to Greenland, and the Chukchi-Kamchatkan family of Siberia.The American explorer and ethnologist John Wesley POWELL presented the first comprehensive classification of the languages north of Mexico in 1891, dividing them into 58 families. This phylum is the only American language family to have an accepted connection with a non-American language group.Many descriptions of Indian languages are important in the literature of the linguistic school known as American structuralism.Today interest in Native American Indian languages is increasing, and Americanists, as those who study the languages are called, hold regular meetings to report on their findings.Regularity is the key: thus, while Luiseno paa-la, Papago wa-, and Aztec a-tl, all meaning "water," do not immediately appear similar, the words are seen to be cognate (derived from the same word in the ancestor language) when other sets such as Luiseno pe-t, Papago woog, and Aztec o-tli, all meaning "road," are considered, since Luiseno initial p and Papago initial w regularly correspond to the lack of any initial consonant sound in Aztec.