Adai (Native American culture)

Adai (Native American culture)

states=United States
extinct=19th century
family=Language isolate


Adai (also Adaizan, Adaizi, Adaise, Adahi, Adaes, Adees, Atayos) is the name of a people and language that was spoken in northwestern Louisiana and were a Southeastern culture of Native Americans. The name "Adai" is derived from the Caddo word "hadai" meaning 'brushwood'.

The Adai were among the first peoples in North America to experience European contact—and were profoundly affected. In 1530 Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca writes of them using the name "Atayos". The Adai subsequently moved away from their homeland. By 1820, there were only thirty persons remaining.


The Adai language is a language isolate. Adai is very poorly documented (known only from a list of 275 words): classification is probably impossible. It was previously proposed that there was a connection between Adai and the Caddoan languages (due to proximity), but this now seems unlikely.

Adai is now extinct.


* Campbell, Lyle. (1997). "American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America". New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-509446-509426-1.
* Mithun, Marianne. (1999). "The languages of Native North America". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.

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