Dakota language


Dakota language
Dakota
Dakhótiyapi, Dakȟótiyapi
Pronunciation [daˈkʰotijapi], [daˈqˣotijapi]
Spoken in United States, with some speakers in Canada
Region Primarily North Dakota and South Dakota, but also northern Nebraska, southern Minnesota
Native speakers 15,400[1]  (no date)
Language family
Siouan
  • Western Siouan
    • Mississippi Valley Siouan
Language codes
ISO 639-2 dak
ISO 639-3 dak

Dakota (also Dakhota) is a Siouan language spoken by the Dakota people of the Sioux tribes. Dakota is closely related to and mutually intelligible with the Lakota language.

Contents

Dialects

Dakota has two major dialects with two sub-dialects each (and minor variants, too):[2]

  1. Eastern Dakota (aka Santee-Sisseton or Dakhóta)
    • Santee (Isáŋyáthi: Bdewákhatuŋwaŋ, Waȟpékhute)
    • Sisseton (Sisítuŋwaŋ, Waȟpétuŋwaŋ)
  2. Western Dakota (aka Yankton-Yanktonai or Dakȟóta)
    • Yankton (Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ)
    • Yanktonai (Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna)
      • Upper Yanktonai (Wičhíyena)

The two dialects differ phonologically, grammatically, and to a large extent, also lexically. They are mutually intelligible to a high extent, although Western Dakota is lexically closer to the Lakota language with which it has higher mutual intelligibility.

Writing systems

For a comparative table of the various writing systems conceived over time for the Sioux languages, cf. the specific section of the article Sioux language.

Sound system

Vowels

Dakota has five oral vowels, /a e i o u/, and three nasal vowels, /aŋ iŋ uŋ/.

Front Central Back
high oral i u
nasal
mid e o
low oral a
nasal

Consonants

Bilabial Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m [m] n [n]
Plosive unaspirated p [p] t [t] č [tʃ] k [k] [ʔ]
voiced b [b] d [d] g [ɡ]
aspirated ph [pʰ] / [pˣ] th [tʰ] / [tˣ] čh [tʃʰ] kh [kʰ] / [kˣ]
ejective p’ [pʔ] t’ [tʔ] č’ [tʃʔ] k’ [kʔ]
Fricative voiceless s [s] š [ʃ] ȟ [χ]
voiced z [z] ž [ʒ] ǧ [ʁ]
ejective s’ [sʔ] š’ [ʃʔ] ȟ’ [χʔ]
Approximant w [w] y [j] h [h]

Comparison of the dialects

Phonological differences

In respect to phonology Eastern and Western Dakota differ particularly in consonant clusters. The table below gives the possible consonant clusters and shows the differences between the dialects:[2]

Dakota consonant clusters
Santee
Sisseton
Yankton Yanktonai
b ȟ k m p s š t h k[3] g
bd ȟč mn šk tk hm km gm
ȟd kp ps sk šd hn kn gn
ȟm ks sd šb hd kd gd
ȟn pt sm šn hb kb gb
ȟp kt sn šp
ȟt sp št
ȟb st šb
sb

The two dialects also differ in the diminutive suffix (-da in Santee, and -na in Yankton-Yanktonai and in Sisseton) and in a number of other phonetic issues that are harder to categorize. The following table gives examples of words that differ in their phonology.[2]

Eastern Dakota Western Dakota gloss
Santee Sisseton Yankton Yanktonai
hokšída hokšína hokšína boy
nína nína nína / dína[4] very
hdá kdá gdá to go back[5]
hbéza kbéza gbéza ridged
hnayáŋ knayáŋ gnayáŋ to deceive
hmúŋka kmúŋka gmúŋka to trap
ahdéškada ahdéškana akdéškana agdéškana lizzard

Lexical differences

There are also numerous lexical differences between the two Dakota dialects as well as between the sub-dialects. Yankton-Yanktonai is in fact lexically closer to the Lakota language than it is to Santee-Sisseton. The following table gives some examples:[2]

English gloss Santee-Sisseton Yankton-Yanktonai Lakota
Northern Lakota Southern Lakota
child šičéča wakȟáŋyeža wakȟáŋyeža
knee hupáhu čhaŋkpé čhaŋkpé
knife isáŋ / mína mína míla
kidneys phakšíŋ ažúŋtka ažúŋtka
hat wapháha wapȟóštaŋ wapȟóštaŋ
still hináȟ naháŋȟčiŋ naháŋȟčiŋ
man wičhášta wičháša wičháša
hungry wótehda dočhíŋ ločhíŋ
morning haŋȟ’áŋna híŋhaŋna híŋhaŋna híŋhaŋni
to shave kasáŋ kasáŋ kasáŋ glak’óǧa

Grammatical differences

Yankton-Yanktonai has the same three ablaut grades as Lakota (a, e, iŋ),[6] while in Santee-Sisseton there are only two (a, e). This significantly impacts word forms, especially in fast speech and it is another reason why Yankton-Yanktonai has better mutual intelligibility with Lakota than with Santee-Sisseton.

Some examples:

English gloss to go [5] I shall go to go back [5] he/she/it will go back
santee-sisseton yá bdé kte hdá hdé kte
yankton-yanktonai yá mníŋ kte kdá/gdá kníŋ/gníŋ kte
lakota yá mníŋ kte glá gníŋ kte

There are other grammatical differences between the dialects.

References

  1. ^ http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=dak
  2. ^ a b c d Ullrich, Jan (2008). New Lakota Dictionary (Incorporating the Dakota Dialects of Yankton-Yanktonai and Santee-Sisseton). Lakota Language Consortium. ISBN 0-9761082-9-1. 
  3. ^ many Yankton speakers pronounce the following clusters in the same way as the Yanktonai (Ullrich, p. 5).
  4. ^ in Upper Yanktonay
  5. ^ a b c more precisely: ‘he/she/it is going (back)’ (hence elsewhere).
  6. ^ which means that, in many words ending in -a (which are conventionally cited, in Ullrich’s dictionary (cf. pp. 699/700), with a capitalized final –A/Aŋ), the same -a turns into -e or into -iŋ when some circumstances occur (the word is the last in a sentence, or is modified by suffixes that trigger the ablaut, or, still, is followed by a word that triggers the ablaut, as well).

Bibliography

  • DeMallie, Raymond J. (2001). Sioux until 1850. In R. J. DeMallie (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians: Plains (Vol. 13, Part 2, pp. 718–760). W. C. Sturtevant (Gen. Ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-16-050400-7.
  • Parks, Douglas R.; & Rankin, Robert L. (2001). The Siouan languages. In Handbook of North American Indians: Plains (Vol. 13, Part 1, pp. 94–114). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
  • de Reuse, Willem J. (1990). A supplementary bibliography of Lakota languages and linguistics (1887–1990). Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, 15 (2), 146-165. (Studies in Native American languages 6). (Online version: https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/dspace/handle/1808/441).
  • Rood, David S.; & Taylor, Allan R. (1996). Sketch of Lakhota, a Siouan language. In Handbook of North American Indians: Languages (Vol. 17, pp. 440–482). Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version: [1]
  • Parks, D.R. & DeMallie, R.J. (1992). Sioux, Assiniboine, and Stoney Dialects: A Classification . Anthropological Linguistics vol. 34, nos. 1-4
  • Riggs, S.R., & Dorsey, J.O. (Ed.). (1973). Dakota grammar, texts, and ethnography. Minneapolis: Ross & Haines, Inc.
  • Shaw, P.A. (1980). Theoretical issues in Dakota phonology and morphology. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.
  • Ullrich, Jan. (2008). New Lakota Dictionary. & Incorporating the Dakota Dialects of Santee-Sisseton and Yankton-Yanktonai (Lakota Language Consortium). ISBN 0-9761082-9-1. on-line version

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