|Assiniboin, Hohe, Nakota, Nakoda, Nakon, Nakona, or Stoney|
|Native to||Canada, United States|
|Region||Montana, United States|
|Ethnicity||3,500 Assiniboine (2007)|
The Assiniboine language (also known as Assiniboin, Hohe, or Nakota, Nakoda, Nakon or Nakona, or Stoney) is a Nakotan Siouan language of the Northern Plains. The name Assiniboine comes from the term Asiniibwaan, from Ojibwe, meaning "Stone Siouans". The reason they were called this was due to the fact that Assiniboine people used heated stone to boil their food. In Canada, Assiniboine people are known as Stoney Indians, while they called themselves Nakota or Nakoda, meaning "allies".
The Dakotan group of the Siouan family has five main divisions: Dakota (Santee-Sisseton), Dakota (Yankton-Yanktonai), Lakota (Teton), Nakoda (Assiniboine) and Nakoda (Stoney). Along with the closely related Stoney, Assiniboine is an n variety of the Dakotan languages, meaning its autonym is pronounced with an initial n (thus: Nakʰóta as opposed to Dakʰóta or Lakʰóta, and Nakʰóda or Nakʰóna as opposed to Dakʰód or Lakʰól). The Assiniboine language is also closely related to the Sioux language and to the Stoney language (likewise called Nakoda or Nakota), although they are hardly mutually intelligible.
An estimate of native speakers ranges from less than 50, to about 100, to about 150 Assiniboine people, most of them elderly.
Sioux, Assiniboine, and Stoney are closely related languages of the Dakota family. Many linguists consider Assiniboine and Stoney to be dialects. However, they are mutually unintelligible. Parks and DeMallie report that they are not variant forms of a single dialect, but that Assiniboine is closer to the Sioux dialects than it is to Stoney. The exact number of interrelationships among the subdialects and dialects comprising this continuum is unknown.
|DIALECT GROUP||SELF-DESIGNATION||POLITICAL DESIGNATION|
The languages of the Dakotan group are spoken in the following regions:
- United States
|RESERVATION OR RESERVE||DIALECT|
|Carry the Kettle||Assiniboine|
|Moose Woods (White Cap)||Sioux (Sisseton, Yanktonai)|
|Mosquito-Grizzly Bear's Head||Assiniboine|
|Sioux Wahpeton (Round Plain)||Sioux (Sisseton, Yanktonai)|
|Standing Buffalo||Sioux (Sisseton, Yanktonai)|
|Wood Mountain||Sioux (Teton)|
|Oak Lake||Sioux (Santee)|
|Sioux Valley||Sioux (Santee)|
|Sioux Village-Long Plain||Sioux (Santee)|
|Devil's Lake||Sioux (Sisseton, Yanktonai)|
|Standing Rock||Sioux (Yanktonai)|
|Cheyenne River||Sioux (Teton)|
|Crow Creek||Sioux (Yanktonai)|
|Lower Brule||Sioux (Teton)|
|Pine Ridge||Sioux (Teton)|
|Standing Rock||Sioux (Teton)|
|Lower Sioux||Sioux (Santee)|
|Prairie Island||Sioux (Santee)|
|Prior Lake||Sioux (Santee)|
|Upper Sioux||Sioux (Santee)|
|Fort Peck||Assiniboine, Sioux (Yanktonai, Sisseton)|
Example of lexical difference between the languages of the Dakotan group:
The phonemic inventory has 27 consonants, which includes aspirated, plain, and ejective stops. In addition to this, it has five oral vowels and three nasal vowels. It is a structure-preserving language. Assiniboine has no definite or indefinite articles, no nominal case system, and no verbal tense marking. Clauses unmarked are "realized," while clauses marked as "potential" by means of verbal enclitic, which is successful in producing a future/non-future distinction. The verbal system is split into active and stative (split-intransitive). The active object pronominal affixes coincide with the stative verbs of the subject pronominal affixes.
|Labial||Alveolar|| Palatal or
The stops (and affricates) of Assiniboine are often described as voiced rather than plain, due to intervocalic voicing rules which result in surface voiced forms. Nonetheless, these should be analyzed as plain.
|Character we use:||IPA Symbol||Assiniboine Pronunciation|
|i||i||i as in police|
|u||u||u as in flute|
|e||e||e as in a in mate|
|o||o||o as in vote|
|a||a||a as in father|
|Character we use:||IPA Symbol||Also used as|
|ą||ã||an, an, aη, aN|
|į||ĩ||in, in, iη, iN|
|ų||ũ||un, on, un, uη, uN|
Words that follow above rules
- /bahá/ hill
- /pahá/ hair
- /čupó/ fog
- /ptą/ otter
- /pka/ heavy
- /psi/ rice
- /pša/to sneeze
Syllables are primarily of CV structure. While codas are possible, they are restricted and uncommon, often becoming restructured as the onset of the following syllable. Onsets may include up to two consonants but codas must be simplex. Possible onset clusters are given in the following table (reproduced from Cumberland 2005):
have a sore
Morphological processes for Assiniboine language are primarily agglutinating. In addition, the character of morpheme alternation in Assiniboine may be classified in terms of phoneme loss, phoneme shift, contraction, nasalization loss , syllable loss , syntactic contraction, and syntactic alternation.
- /a/+/i/ > /i/
- Ex1) ápa “morning” + íyapi “they go” > ápayapi “they stayed awake until morning"
- Ex2) nakóta “ally” + iápi “they speak” > nakótiapi “a little Indian (to speak)”
- /i/+/i/ > /i/ Ex) ohómini “circle” + íyapi “they go” > (a) óhominiyapi “they circle”
- /a/+/u/ > /u/ Ex) wicá “them” + úkkupica “we give” > wicúkkupica “we give them”
Phoneme loss: Syllabics
when /a/ is in medial position between /k/ and /h/:
- /a/> /Φ/ Ex) waníyaka "to see you" + hi "he comes" > waníyakshi "he came to see you"
when /o/ is in the medial position between /i/ and/k/:
- /o/>/Φ/ Ex) ukíce “we ourselves” + okáxniga “to understand” > ukícaxnigapi “we understand each other”
when /e/ is in medial position between /p/ and /k/:
- /e/>/Φ/ Ex) napé “hand” + kóza “to wave” > napkóza “to beckon”
Phoneme loss: semi syllabics
- /y/ > /Φ/ when:
- /y/ follows /n/ Ex)mn “I” + yuhá “to have” > mnuhá “I have”
Phoneme loss:non syllanics
/k/ is in medial position between/u/ and/k/ or /u/ and /h/ or /u/ and /n/ or /u/ and /y/
- /k/ > /Φ/
- Ex1) uk “we” + kágapi “they make” > ukágapi “we make”
- Ex2) uk “we” + ya “you” + naxú “to hear” > nauyaxúpi “you hear us”
- /i/ > /a/ before /n/ Ex) awáci "to think" + ni "you" > awácani "you think"
Phoneme shift: non syllabics
When /a/--/e/ is in medial position between/g/ and /š/
- /g/ > /x/ Ex) okáxnige “to understand” + -ši(negative suffix) > owákaxnixeši “I don’t understand”
When /a/--/e/ is in medial position between/g/ and /c/
- /g/ > /x/ Ex) okáxniga “to understand” + -ce(iterative suffix) + wa “I” > owákaxnixace “I understand”
When /g/ is in medial position between /a/ and /y/
- /g/ > /x/ Ex) icáge “to grow” + -ya(causative suffix) > icáxya “to cause to grow”
Nasalization loss exists as follows:
- /ą/ > /a/ Ex) mázą "iron" + ska "white" > mazáska "money"
Syllable loss occurs as follows:
- /ye/ > /Φ/ Ex) iyópe... ye "to pay" so, iyópe + wa + ye > iyópewa "I pay"
Syntactic contraction: personal inflectional morphemes
- wa "I" + ni "you" > ci "I...you"; Ex) kku "to give" + ci "I... you" + -kta(future suffix) > cicúta "I will give you"
Syntactic contraction with verbal themes occurs as follows
- /i/ + /k/ - /kk/ > c; Ex) i "with something" + kahíta "to sweep" > icáhita "broom"
- /a/ > /e/ in verbal theme Ex) wamnáka "I saw" > wamnáke "I saw"
- /a/>/e/ in nomial theme Ex) skúya "sweet" > skúye "sweet"
- /a/>/e/ with the future suffix; wicákkupikta "they will be given" > wicákkupikte "they will be given"
Assiniboine is SOV word order. Elements order might be different from the canonical SOV, this is not free nor scrambling word order, but instead, the result of topicalization or other movements. Out of context sentences are always interpreted as SOV order even if it sounds odd. For example, 'the man bit the dog', unless an element is moved into a focus position. Focused element sentences are highly marked, and practically, a strange semantic reading is preferred over an interpretation of OSV. For example, the following sentence was interpreted as 'a banana ate the boy' by the Native Americans, and to get the OSV reading out of it the object must be stressed.
škóškobena wãži hokšína že yúda.
banana a boy DET ate A banana ate the boy. The boy ate a banana. - preferred translation
- záptą- Five
- napcuwąga- Nine
- Prounonciation can be learned at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7o1X1tBgaw by Fred Spyglass
wa- 1st person+singular
ya- 2nd person
ma- 1st person+singular
ni- 2nd person
For both class 1 and 2
ũ- 1st person-singular
o- 3rd person
wica- 3rd person
- Assiniboine at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Assiniboine". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- For the usage of the term “nakona” by Fort Peck's Assiniboine, cf. Fort Peck Community College and NHE
- Parks, D. R., & DeMallie, R. J.. (1992). Sioux, Assiniboine, and Stoney Dialects: A Classification. Anthropological Linguistics, 34(1/4), 233–255. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/30028376
- Miller, D., Smith, D., McGeshick, J. R., Shanley, J., & Shields, C. (2008). The History of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana, 1800-2000. Montana: Montana Historical Society Press.
- West, Shannon L. (2003). Subjects and Objects in Assiniboine Nakoda (Doctoral dissertation). University of Victoria.
- Cumberland, Linda (2005). A grammar of Assiniboine: a Siouan language of the Northern Plains (Ph.D. Thesis). Indiana University.
- Ethnologue (cf. above).
- Hollow, R. C.. (1970). A Note on Assiniboine Phonology. International Journal of American Linguistics, 36(4), 296–298. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1264256
- Levin, N. B. (1964).The Assiniboine language. Bloomington: Indiana University.
- Riggs, S. R. (1892). A Dakota-English Dictionary. Washington: US Government Printing
|Assiniboine language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- A video of Fred Spyglass (Mosquito First Nation) counting
- Video on Assiniboine history
- Language Geek:Assiniboine
- Native Languages: Assiniboine
- Online dictionary of Assniboine, American Indian Studies Research Institute