Talk:Lakota language

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I have deleted the following statement from the "Phrases" section:

"Hokahe!" is a phrase used by traditional Lakota people during battle. It means "let's go". Crazy Horse was known to use it to mean "charge!" It can be contracted to just "ho!". According to a Lakota Holy Man, Eagle Voice, as recounted by Nebraska poet John Neihardt, it is literally translated as "Hold fast. There is more!"[1]

The New Lakota Dictionary gives two senses under the entry hókahé: 1) Welcome! exclamation for greeting a visitor; 2) exclamation for the start of a race or a joint effort. It seems to me that the dictionary is a more reliable source than that given in the hokahe paragraph (Bobby Bridger). If it was up to me I would delete the whole Phrases section unless it contains a list of phrases. Thiyopa (talk) 14:50, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I would support the deletion of the phrases section.·Maunus·ƛ· 14:56, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Im sure I read somewhere years ago that shouting Hókahé meant 'Its a good day to die' during a battle. Is there any basis for this or is it pure 'Hollywood'? Thanks 2winjustonce (talk) 14:36, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Orthography and Alphabet[edit]

The word orthography is defined as "A set of conventions for representing language in a written form" (O'Grady et al. 2001). Since the alphabet is the main convention used for writing Lakhota (others include things like writing from left to right, using punctuation, etc.), I think that Alphabet should be a sub-section of Orthography, rather than a section of Sound system with equal prominence. Cnilep (talk) 13:54, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Changed. Thiyopa (talk) 14:54, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

This pair of additions notes that the standard orthography is not accepted by all speakers, a point that I think bears mention. This subsequent edit helpfully adds a source, but the source is the preface to a work on Dakota history and legend. The preface mentions that some of the author's sources differ from what she calls "the 'accepted' spelling" and "the 'correct' spelling" (scare-quotes in original). Can we find a more apropos third-party source? Cnilep (talk) 06:41, 30 November 2010 (UTC)


I downgraded the article from B to C because of insufficient sourcing. By that I mean that the number of inline citations is insufficient, generally there should be at least one citation per section/long paragraph to merit B-class. Also the better part of the citations are to Rood and Taylors rather basic sketch in HNIA - I am sure there are more comprehensive sources (including journal articles) that could benefit the article.·Maunus·ƛ· 16:03, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Immersion programs?[edit]

Considering that the Lakota language is endangered (average speaker age is 65), I think it would be helpful to mention any immersion programs (be they in schools, colleges or universities) that have been implemented to teach Lakota and Sioux youth their ancestral language so that it does not become lost. Ericster08 (talk) 03:30, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

IPA versus Lakota Orthography[edit]

I recently rolled back a large series of edits that changed the orthography on this page from IPA to Standard Lakota Orthography. WP:MOSIPA calls for transcription using broad IPA, though I think Lakota words can be written in the SLO if that is the consensus among editors. (Even then, there should not be SLO renderings for example within IPA templates, though.)

In rolling back the edits I appear to have removed some valuable additions. I'm afraid I don't have time just now to evaluate each of the changes and figure out which ones were useful (I know, I know, I probably shouldn't have edited if I didn't have time to do a proper job). Unfortunately the IP editor who made those changes doesn't have a talk page. I invite others to evaluate the changes, and will try to get back to it in a week or so. Cnilep (talk) 07:17, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

(new user in conversation) I apologize for the Orthographical changes, I had not read the WP:MOSIPA article and did not realize fully what I was doing. Sorry for the hassle it created. I re-added the Ablaut section which was accidentally erased. I did not add anything more, just a repost of the existing Ablaut changes. mikekat93 (talk) 10:22, October 2010 —Preceding undated comment added 03:23, 23 October 2010 (UTC).

Thanks for fixing my screw-up, and welcome! Your contributions here are most welcome. Cnilep (talk) 07:07, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Is it an oversight that the ejective fricatives are not listed in the alphabet table? — kwami (talk) 02:04, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Orthography again[edit]

This edit seems not quite appropriate to me. At least, it seems to go beyond what is claimed in the source it cites. Palmer suggests that the texts she collected use a variety of spelling conventions, including many that differ from what she calls "the 'correct' spelling". That is, Palmer puts "correct" in scare quotes. She does not say that this spelling is phonetic (all ways of writing Lakota that I have seen are at least phonographic in principle, meaning they attempt to represent the pronunciation of words), and although one might infer from her scare quotes that Palmer regards the variants as correct, she does not state so explicitly, nor does she claim that anyone else says so.

Furthermore, as I noted above, Palmer's book is not principally interested in the Lakota language but in the history recorded in Lakota/Dakota/Nakoda stories and myths. It is therefore not a very good source for assertions about orthography.

I am of the opinion that Maunus's 22 December version was good, and that Uyvsdi's 23 December edits are not a step forward and may actually introduce some errors or potential misunderstanding. Cnilep (talk) 04:00, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

It was User:Windhorsewoman who made the statement that many Native Lakota speakers don't embrace the formal orthography. I just found a published source that backed up her idea - and yes, the source does state that different spellings are regarded as correct. I'll look for more sources if you insist. Lakota is a living language and if some native speakers does embrace certain orthographies, I have no problem with that or expressing that sentiment. -Uyvsdi (talk) 04:36, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Page two of Palmer's introduction reads (in relevant part),

If the author quoted used a phonetic spelling that differed from the "accepted" spelling, then that spelling is preserved. If it is too different from the original, then the "correct" spelling or the English translation is embedded parenthetically in the text. (Palmer 2008, 2)

As I read it, Palmer states explicitly that many spellings exist, but only implies that she considers many variants correct. Other inferences are also possible. On the other hand, I was mistaken when I said she doesn't call them phonetic; she does. Again, though, this is her description of the texts she is quoting, not a general description of the state of Lakota orthography. Cnilep (talk) 04:48, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

This is the passage I was citing, same page: "Historically most words in the written language have been spelled phonetically, which tends to be entirely dependent on the 'ear' of the listener. As a result, the read of historical texts finds that the Two-face Woman, Anog Ite (the g is pronounced as a soft 'k') of Walker's books is spelled Anukite elsewhere, and neither spelling can be considered incorrect. one system has taken precedence over another, and there can be any number of written transcriptions of a single sound." Cheers, -Uyvsdi (talk) 05:13, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Ejective fricatives?[edit]

This article and several others on Wikipedia claim that Lakota has ejective fricatives. I have just now trawled the linguistic literature and have nowhere seen any testaments to this claim. I even personally asked a couple of linguists who have worked on the language and they indicated that they had never encountered ejective fricatives in the language. Since these sounds are remarkably rare cross-linguistically, this article needs an explicit citation for them and should also give some example vocabulary including them.

There is some confusion in the linguistic literature regarding the difference between glottalized and ejective sounds, particularly in North Americanist work where the phonetic distinction was historically either ignored or not made clear. It may be that an enthusiastic contributor has misinterpreted some transcriptions that actually describe glottalized fricatives, i.e. sounds like [ʔs] or [sʔ], which are phonetically distinct from [sʼ] and use an entirely different airstream mechanism (pulmonic egressive rather than glottalic egressive). Or possibly someone has misinterpreted the term “glottalized” as equivalent to “ejective”, whereas these two terms are distinct today. In any case, if no linguistic literature can be brought to bear on this issue, then I must insist that the claims in this article for Lakota’s use of ejective fricatives be removed. — (talk) 19:22, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I am no expert in phonetics, but I note that Rood and Taylor (1996) write, "the glottalized stops of Lakhota are ejectives". If this is a confusion, it would seem to be one represented explicitly in the source material, not misunderstood from phonetic transcriptions. (Almost by definition, scholars writing about Lakota are North Americanists.)
At the same time, though, I need to point out that Rood and Taylor refer only to "glottalized stops" or "ejective stops" (both labels for the set they transcribe as pˀ, tˀ, čˀ and kˀ) and not to ejective fricatives. These stop constants are made by closing the glottis and another point of articulation (labial, dental, etc.), then releasing both. I think that this is what calls "glottalized", as opposed to "glottalic egressive". Cnilep (talk) 06:12, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Missing Sources[edit]

One should urgently give sources of what is claimed in the different sections. It is e.g. not verifiable if there are really 4 articles in Lakhota, since no source is given. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Garrafao (talkcontribs) 22:43, 5 October 2012

Format of references[edit]

This article currently has a 'Notes' section, which includes a number of citations referencing the content. It also includes a 'References' section, which lists three more sources. The 'Further reading' section lists more publications that are not directly cited in the article.

This should be cleaned up, so that either the footnotes give the full reference (as is the case for most of them now) or the footnotes point to sources that are listed in a separate References section (as I think is the case only for Jessica Palmer's book). Templates such as {{cite journal}} and {{cite book}} are available to help with this.

I usually prefer the simpler, footnotes-only style, but many good articles use citation footnotes plus a list of references; see for example Greenlandic language. In contrast, International Phonetic Alphabet uses what I'm calling "footnotes only"; its "Notes" section is for explanatory asides.

Before I proceed with any changes, though, I want to find out if other editors have a preference for one-part ("footnotes only") or two-part (footnotes plus reference list) citations. Cnilep (talk) 01:46, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Voiceless Aspirates[edit]

The text refers to voiceless aspirated plosives, but they're not represented in the consonant chart. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:03, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

The chart was labeled "unaspirated", but that word had an internal link to voiceless consonant. I suspect that someone intended to label it as "voiceless" but made a small mistake. Cnilep (talk) 01:13, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
That does not solve the problem, though. Compare Dakota language#Consonants, which does list aspirated stops – my understanding is that the Dakotan languages all have them.
Another problem is that the vowel chart does not use IPA but only the orthographical convention with ‹ŋ›, which is misleading in this context. In Dakota language#Vowels, IPA is not even used in the running text, despite the slashes indicating phonemic notation (which is usually IPA-based, after all). --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:30, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Aha, here's the explanation for both issues: Back in 2012, an IP vandalised the article at various places. I hate, hate, hate it when I can't simply hit undo anymore because the watchers were too &"!$/@%§ to undo the vandalism already back when it happened. So, please make up for your inattention now. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:58, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Because none of you lazy &"!$/@%§s could be arsed, I just did it myself, as well as I could. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:29, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
If you are so displeased, I believe Wikipedia will refund your subscription fee. Thank you for bowdlerizing the abuse. Cnilep (talk) 02:21, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
How magnanimous of you to not even simply thank me for my edit (I'd preferred if somebody who actually knows something about Lakota had performed the cleanup, just to avoid introducing additional errors, you know) and instead make a sarcastic retort. Apparently hitting the "thank you" button is more work than thinking up and typing down a reply. I expect a petty non-apology apology. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:20, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
JFTR: I'm mad as hell that major vandalism is not only not reverted soon by the regular watchers of an article on Wikipedia, but even left alone indefinitely even when pointed out with a handy diff-link, and I think my annoyance is quite justified, or at least understandable. (For reasons I don't want to go into here, I can't edit Wikipedia as swiftly and easily as others, and as pointed out, I'm not a connoisseur, that's why I didn't immediately clean the issue up myself.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:37, 10 February 2017 (UTC)