Arikara language

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Native to United States
Region North-central North Dakota
Native speakers

10 and decreasing  (2007)[1]
Shifting to English. Nearly extinct.

  • elderly only
  • Reportedly a group Lewis and Clark met in 1804 in North Dakota. 30,000 were reduced to 6,000 due to smallpox.
  • Northern
    • Pawnee–Kitsai
      • Pawnee
        • Arikara
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ari
Glottolog arik1262[2]
Arikara language distribution

Arikara is a Caddoan language spoken by the Arikara Native Americans who reside primarily at Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Arikara is very close to the Pawnee language, but they are not mutually intelligible.

Arikara is now spoken in North Dakota by a very few elders. One of the last fluent speakers, Maude Starr, died on January 20, 2010.[3] She was a certified language teacher who participated in Arikara language education programs.[4] Language revitalization efforts are continuing. As of 2014, speakers are centered on White Shield, North Dakota. The language is taught at Fort Berthold Community College, White Shield School, and at the Arikara Cultural Center.[5]

Arikara is extensively documented, with several volumes of interlinear texts of Arikara stories,[6] a learner's introductory text,[7] and linguistic studies.[8] As of 2014, iPhone and iPad Arikara language apps are available.[5]


  1. ^ Arikara at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Arikara". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ "Tribe mourns loss of fluent Arikara speaker". Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  4. ^ "MHA Nation - Three Affiliated Tribes". Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  5. ^ a b Rudy, Dan (2014-04-20). "Arikara app aims to revitalize language". Minot Daily News, via Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  6. ^ Parks, Douglas R.; Alfred Morsette (1991). Traditional Narratives of the Arikara Indians: Stories of Alfred Morsette, interlinear linguistic texts. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-3691-2. 
  7. ^ Douglas R. Parks (1998). Sáhniš wakuúnuʼ: An introduction to the Arikara language. (Roseglen, N.D): White Shield School District. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  8. ^ Merlan, Francesca (1975). Noun-verb relationships in Arikara syntax. University of New Mexico. 

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