Talk:Iroquoian languages

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Previously headerless discussion[edit] Lachler, McElwain, and Burke
Listen to Mingo Greetings, [1]
Mingo (Iroquois) etymology about boating: kaháwa' noun means boat. kényua'. This switch-interactive verb means to row a boat or more to ferry someone across a stretch of water. It belongs to the semantic fields the sea and transportation. Etymology kényua' -NYU- Verb Root. Grammatical Info Base -nyu-.Stem Class LX. Conjugation Class XX. kényua' "I row boats". kaháwa', (boat) grammatical info base -haw- Stem Class C, Prefix Class Agent, Linker Vowel ö. Note that the -h- at the beginning of this base is strong, and so does not drop out when it would come between two vowels. Varies with kahôwö'. Possessed Form akháwa' my boat. Plural Form kahawa'shö'ö boats. káhu' means "this way" or in this direction.
To include the Mingo groups on the language map, one will "red-colour" over the region of West Virginia and eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania otherwise the upper Ohio Valley to nearly the Susqueahanna region. The Anacostan Nuetralls, according to the earliest Baltimores records (1621-31) report they were trading with the Irowuois from beyond the Allegheny Mountains and Potomac Valley. Conaughy (talk) 18:09, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Please feel free to remove anything offered. No offence will be taken nor meant ... I'll continue to assist our state's official archeologist, museums who call me over to lecture informally before official tribal clan's visits and ofcoarse other Wiki editors who have asked. Conaughy (talk) 18:52, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Regarding Sources[edit]

Hello again Conaughy, I've added the "expert opinion" template on this article because I think it would be a very good idea to try and have some firm guidance at the onset regarding this subject. Iroquoian cultural studies in general is a vast and complex subject area and has been heavily written about over the past half century, linguistics in particular is very tricky. At this point it seems logical to me to get a reliable framework down from someone who really does know what they're talking about, once that's established the rest of us can plug away at fleshing it out. Once again, my advice is to go very easy on relying heavily on "older" sources, say pre 1950's-60's, as the field has changed a great deal in comparison to before that time. It's certainly not the case that any work done before that time is valueless, it's just that the sum total of scholarship in the area has increased to such an extent in the interim that a lot of information that was once regarded as the last word on the subject is now widely questioned (and sometimes completely rejected) by those who specialize in the subject. The Sanson map is a case in point. Archaeologists have completely rejected its accuracy here in southern Ontario, which should be a 'word to the wise' for others who are attempting to extrapolate and utilize it in other geographical areas. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 19:13, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

I am very glad you point this out, respectfully. Perhaps I should have mentioned at least that Dr. Jordan Lachler is a linguist of Athabaskan and Keresan languages, has worked on Iroquoian dialects and is currently working on Haida. Dr. Thomas McElwain is on the faculty of the University of Stockholm in the Department of Comparative Religion. He is originally from West Virginia and is one of our few native speakers of West Virginia Mingo [2]. I grew up on a little upper Cherokee [3], Mingoe [4] and the cousin's Shawnee [5]. I just thought maybe one of my grandma's people Iroquois dialect or maybe I should say, Unyææshæötká' language. I don't know as much about as these WIKI editors though. May I suggest:

Encyclopaedia Britannica 1988 ver. Book22: Page782 Languages of the World: Table 60: North American Indian Languages, quoting from them: "*Phyla given boldface; families in italics (including those consisting of single languages); single languages, or dialect groups so closely related that they can be treated as single languages, given in roman type 1981 estimate Minimal num-er of speakers; i.e., under 10," My World Book Encyclopaedia was bought in 1963 of which I orginally grew up with. I sometimes cross-ref it because it has older forgotten things in it. Anyway, no WIKI linguists seem to be interested in this article considering how long the tag has been placed. The spellings of yesteryear and today is no problem in changing or deleting or as you may reason. There are plenty of variations in spelling the same Iroquois phrase-word. I guess it's like the old song, "one says patata, the other says potatoe..." cheers Conaughy (talk) 17:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)


Hi all, I was cleaning up a few misspellings in the lead when I noticed that some phonological aspects of Iroquoian languages were being contrasted with Indic languages. I'm a bit of an amateur linguist and I recognize, as does Wikipedia's own Indic disambiguation page, that Indic is generally recognized to refer to topics, including those linguistic, relating to the Indian subcontinent, so I added a clarification request template. Any idea why the Indic languages might have been singled out as a contrastive element in this fashion, as opposed to Basque or Ugric or...? I suspect, given the subject matter, that Native American might have been a better choice, but I am not an expert, so thought I'd bring it here for discussion. Cheers, Northumbrian (talk) 03:21, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Relationship between the Iroquoian and Algic (Algonquian etc) language groups[edit]

Can anyone shed any light on the relationship between the Iroquoian and Algic (Algonquian etc) language groups? There must be some linguistic relationship, even if it has to be traced back to the general vicinity of Siberia! Heavenlyblue (talk) 23:54, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

True or False[edit]

True or false: origins--Inayity (talk) 22:39, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Surprisingly enough, it might be true: Basque trade jargon > Montagnais > French. But an Algonkian etymology is still possible. See Iroquois: An Etymology and the editor's footnotes here.[6]kwami (talk) 00:49, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Table organization Questioned[edit]

The table indents Lake Iroquois from the Northern Iroquois, but the terms are likely alternative names of the same thing. Removing that level of indentation would better organize the table. The Tuscarora aren't listed with Southern Iroquois either, but as a separate group. This strikes me as a single source error--whomever wrote that para didn't ever see (or understand) other scholars had classified the language with the Cherokee, iirc. Best regards, FrankB 23:28, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

These are linguistic classifications, not geographical, with the term Iroquoian, not Iroquois, in the same way that English is a Germanic language, but is not German. Although the Tuscarora people lived in the south before most moved to New York in the 1700s, their language is part of the Northern Iroquoian branch. Only Cherokee is in the Southern Iroquoian branch. However, you're right that the indentation is a problem. Tuscarora-Nottoway should be under Northern Iroquoian, as a sister to Lake Iroquoian. Huronian should be a sister to what's called here 'Five Nations Confederation of the Iroquois and Susquehannock', which should be changed as it is a novel term (at this moment a Google search finds that phrase on only this one page. See the references below for the usual terms). The limited knowledge we have of Neutral shows it was more like the Five Nations languages than Huronian. Since an Unclear category has been put here, Neutral, Erie, and Wenro should all be placed there due to the limited amount of data available. These are standard understandings of the Iroquoian family from many different scholars, who differ mostly on what to do with the Unclear languages. Eliminating Lake Iroquoian as a separate part of Northern Iroquoian is from the single source used by Glottolog (Julian 2010). For the usually accepted arrangement, see these references: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] MT301 (talk) 01:20, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Two changes to the table: 1) removed the tree image due to multiple issues (e.g., Susquehannock listed twice, Onondaga missing, etc). The link code is appended to my comment here in case anyone wants to edit it. 2) organized the text table to better match consensus of references, e.g. changed indenting to match subgrouping, moved languages to proper subgroups, changed label Five Nations Confederation of the Iroquois and Susquehannock, etc

Iroquoian Family Tree

MT301 (talk) 23:16, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ Iroquoian: Composite. MultiTree: A digital library of language relationships. Institute for Language Information and Technology: Ypsilanti, MI. 2013. Web. Accessed November 14, 2016. Published July 27, 2013 . <>
  2. ^ Mithun, Marianne. 1979. Iroquoian. In Campbell and Mithun. The Languages of Native America: Historical and Comparative Assessment. Austin: University of Texas Press. 133-212.
  3. ^ Mithun, Marianne. 1984. “The proto-Iroquoians: cultural reconstruction from lexical materials,” in Extending the Rafters: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Iroquoian Studies. Edited by Michael K. Foster, Jack Campisi and Marianne Mithun, pp. 259-281. Albany: State University of New York Press
  4. ^ Blin-Lagarde, Pierrette. 1972. Une étude historique dans les langues de la famille huronne-iroquoise. Master’s thesis, McGill University, Montreal.
  5. ^ Hoffman, Bernard G. 1959. Iroquois linguistic classification from historical materials. Ethnohistory 6:160-185.
  6. ^ Hickerson, Harold, Glen D. Turner, and Nancy P. Hickerson. 1952. Testing procedures for estimating transfer of information among Iroquois dialects and languages. International Journal of American Linguistics 18:1-8.
  7. ^ Lounsbury, Floyd G. 1978. “Iroquoian languages,” in Handbook of North American Indians, Northeast, Vol. 15. Edited by Bruce G. Trigger, pp. 334-343. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution.