Western Siouan languages

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Western Siouan
Siouan Proper
central North America
Linguistic classification: Siouan
  • Western Siouan
  • Missouri River (Crow–Hidatsa)
  • Mandan
  • Mississippi Valley (Central)
  • Ohio Valley (Southeastern)
Glottolog: core1249[1]
Pre-contact distribution of the Western Siouan languages

The Western Siouan languages, also called Siouan proper or simply Siouan,[2] are a large language family native to North America. They are closely related to the Catawban languages, sometimes called Eastern Siouan, and together with them constitute the Siouan (Siouan–Catawban) language family.

Linguistic and historical records indicate a possible southern origin of the Siouan people, with migrations over a thousand years ago from North Carolina and Virginia to Ohio. Some continued down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and up to the Missouri. Others went down the Mississippi, settling in what is now Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Others traveled across Ohio to what is now Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, home of the Dakota.

Family division[edit]

The Siouan family proper consists of some 18 languages and various dialects:

I. Missouri River Siouan (AKA Crow–Hidatsa)

1. Crow (AKA Absaroka, Apsaroka, Apsaalooke, Upsaroka)
2. Hidatsa (AKA Gros Ventre, Minitari, Minnetaree)

II. Mandan Siouan

3. Mandan
a. Nuptare
b. Nuetare

III. Mississippi Valley Siouan (AKA Central Siouan)

 ? Michigamea (†)
A. Dakotan (AKA Sioux–Assiniboine–Stoney)
4. Sioux
a. Santee–Sisseton (AKA Santee, Eastern Sioux, Eastern Dakota)
i. Santee
ii. Sisseton
b. Yankton–Yanktonai (AKA Yankton, Central Sioux, Western Dakota)
i. Yankton
ii. Yanktonai
c. Lakota (AKA Lakhota, Teton, Western Sioux)
i. Northern Lakota
ii. Southern Lakota
5. Assiniboine (AKA Assiniboin, Nakhóta, Nakhóda, Nakhóna)
6. Stoney (AKA Alberta Assiniboine, Nakhóda)
B. Chiwere–Winnebago (AKA Chiwere)
7. Chiwere (AKA Ioway–Otoe–Missouria, Ioway–Otoe) (†)
a. Iowa (AKA Ioway)
b. Otoe (AKA Oto, Jiwere)
c. Missouria (AKA Missouri)
8. Winnebago (AKA Hocák, Hochunk, Hochank, Hocangara, Hotcangara, Hochangara)
C. Dhegiha
9. Omaha–Ponca
a. Omaha
b. Ponca (AKA Ponka)
10. KansaOsage
a. Kansa (AKA Kanza, Kaw) (†)
b. Osage
11. Quapaw (AKA Kwapa, Kwapaw, Arkansas)

IV. Ohio Valley Siouan (AKA Southeastern Siouan) (†)

A. Virginia Siouan (AKA Tutelo) (†)
12. Tutelo-Saponi, Monacan (†)
13. Moneton (†)
B. Mississippi Siouan (AKA Ofo–Biloxi) (†)
14. Biloxi (†)
15. Ofo (AKA Ofogoula) (†)

(†)Extinct language

Another view of both the Dakotan and Mississippi Valley branches is to represent them as dialect continuums.

All the Virginia Siouan dialects listed here are thought to have been closely related to one another; the term Tutelo language is also used in reference to their common tongue.

See also[edit]


  • Parks, Douglas R.; & Rankin, Robert L. (2001). "The Siouan languages", in R. J. DeMallie (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians: Plains (Vol. 13, Part 1, pp. 94–114). W. C. Sturtevant (Gen. Ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-16-050400-7.
  • Rood, David S.; & Taylor, Allan R. (1996). "Sketch of Lakhota, a Siouan language", in Handbook of North American Indians: Languages (Vol. 17, pp. 440–482). Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Ullrich, Jan. (2008). New Lakota Dictionary: Incorporating the Dakota Dialects of Santee–Sisseton and Yankton–Yanktonai (Lakota Language Consortium). ISBN 0-9761082-9-1.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Core Siouan". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ In which case the greater family is called Siouan–Catawban

External links[edit]