Narragansett language

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Narragansett
Native to United States
Region Rhode Island
Extinct

~17th century (?)

  • No known L1 speakers today. Ethnic population: 1,400 of Narragansett and Mohegan-Pequot (1977 SIL).
Algic
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xnt
Linguist list
xnt
Glottolog narr1280[1]
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The location of the Narragansett tribe and their neighbors, c. 1600

Narragansett /ˌnærəˈɡænsɪt/[2] is an extinct Algonquian language formerly spoken in most of what is today Rhode Island by the Narragansett people.[3] It was closely related to the other Algonquian languages of southern New England like Massachusett and Mohegan-Pequot. The earliest study of the language in English was by Roger Williams, founder of the Rhode Island colony, in his book A Key Into the Language of America (1643).

Name[edit]

The word Narragansett means, literally, "(People) of the Small Point."

History[edit]

Traditionally the tribe spoke the Narragansett language, a member of the Algonquian language family. The point may be located on the Salt Pond, in Washington County, where RI Site 110 is located. The language became almost entirely extinct during the Narragansetts' centuries of living within the larger English-majority society, through forced assimilation.

The tribe has begun language revival efforts, based on early-20th-century books and manuscripts, and new teaching programs. The Narragansett spoke a "Y-dialect", similar enough to the "N-dialects" of the Massachusett and Wampanoag to be mutually intelligible. Other Y-dialects include the Shinnecock and Pequot languages spoken historically by tribes on Long Island and in Connecticut, respectively.

In the 17th century, Roger Williams, a co-founder of Rhode Island, learned the tribe's language. He documented it in his 1643 work, A Key Into the Language of America. Williams gave the tribe's name as Nanhigganeuck.

American English has absorbed a number of loan words from Narragansett and other closely related languages, such as Wampanoag and Massachusett. Such words include quahog, moose, papoose, powwow, squash, and succotash.

Language revival efforts[edit]

According to Dr. Frank Waabu O'Brien, who has taught the language for the Aquidneck Indian Council, "Narragansett was understood throughout New England." He states that "Scholars refer to Massachusett and Narragansett as dialects of the same language," and has created a diagram of the relationships between the languages as described in their source documentation [4] as well as instructional materials.[5][6][7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Narragansett". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Simmons, William S. (1978) "Narragansett." In Northeast, ed. Bruce G. Trigger. Vol. 15 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, pg. 190.
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 16th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics
  4. ^ Dr. Frank Waabu O'Brien. "Bringing Back Our Lost Language". Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  5. ^ Moondancer, Strong Woman (2001). Introduction to Narragansett Language: A Study of Roger Williams' A Key into the Language of America. Newport, RI: Aquidneck Indian Council. Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  6. ^ Dr. Frank Waabu O'Brien (2009). Grammatical Studies in the Narragansett Language (2nd ed.). Massachusett-Narragansett Revival Program. Retrieved 2012-11-11.  (abstract)
  7. ^ Dr. Frank Waabu O'Brien. "Verb Conjugation in Narragansett Language". Retrieved 2012-11-11. 

References[edit]

  • Aubin, George Francis. A Historical Phonology of Narragansett. Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University. (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation.)
  • Aubin, George Francis. "More on Narragansett Keesuckquand." International Journal of American Linguistics 41 (1975): 239-40.
  • Aubin, George Francis. Narragansett Color Terms. pp. 105–114 in Papers of the 7th Algonquian Conference, 1975, William Cowan, ed., Ottawa: Carleton University.
  • Aubin, George Francis. Quelques aspects du système consonantique du narragansett. pp. 151–155 in Actes du 8e Congrès des Algonquinistes, 1976, William Cowan, ed., Ottawa: Carleton University.
  • Cowan, William. "General Treat's Vocabulary of Narragansett." In Papers of the Thirteenth Algonquian Conference. Ottawa: Carleton University, 1982.
  • Cowan, William. "PA *a, *k and *t in Narragansett." International Journal of American Linguistics 35 (1969): 28-33.
  • Cowan, William. Narragansett 126 Years After. International Journal of American Linguistics 39 (1973) (1):7-13.
  • Hamp, Eric P. "On Nasalization in Narragansett." International Journal of American Linguistics 36 (1970): 58-9.
  • Mierle, Shelley. "Further Evidence Regarding the Intrusive Nasal in Narragansett." International Journal of American Linguistics 41 (1975): 78-80.
  • The Narragansett Dawn. Miscellaneous articles on the Narragansett Language.
    **"Lesson Two in Narragansett Tongue." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (June 1935): 14-5.
    **"Lesson No. Three in Narragansett Tongue." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (July 1935): 10.
    **"The Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 4.” The Narragansett Dawn 1 (August 1935): 88-9.
    **"The Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 5." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (September 1935): 122-4.
    **"Narragansett Lesson No. 6." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (October 1935): 138-9.
    **"Narragansett Tongue- Lessons 7 and 8." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (December 1935): 185-7.
    **"Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 9." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (January 1936): 204.
    **"Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 10." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (February 1936): 232.
    **"Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 11." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (March 1936): 259-60.
    **"Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 12." The Narragansett Dawn 1 (April 1936): 287.
    **"Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 13." The Narragansett Dawn 2 (May 1936): 5.
    **"Narragansett Tongue- Lesson 14." The Narragansett Dawn 2 (June 1936): 29.
    **"Narragansett Words." The Narragansett Dawn 2 (October 1936): 6.

External links[edit]