Central Algonquian languages

Central Algonquian
North America
Linguistic classificationAlgic
cree1271  (Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi)
east2765  (Eastern Great Lakes Algonquian)
meno1252  (Menominee)

The Central Algonquian languages are commonly grouped together as a subgroup of the larger Algonquian family, itself a member of the Algic family. Though the grouping is often encountered in the literature, it is an areal grouping, not a genetic grouping. In other words, the languages are grouped together because they were spoken near one another, not because they are more closely related to one another than to other Algonquian languages. Within the Algonquian family, only Eastern Algonquian is a valid genealogical group.

Within the Central Algonquian grouping, Potawatomi and Chippewa, otherwise known as Ojibwe, are closely related and are generally grouped together as an Ojibwa-Potawatomi sub-branch. "Eastern Great Lakes" was first proposed by Richard Rhodes in 1988, and first discussed by Ives Goddard as "Core Central" in 1994. In Goddard's assessment, he divides the "Core Central" into the Ojibwa-Potawatomi and Miami-Illinois group, and the Sauk-Fox-Kickapoo and Shawnee group; the hypothesis for the subgroup was based on lexical and phonological innovations. David J. Costa in his 2003 book The Miami-Illinois Language agrees with Rhodes and Goddard that Central Algonquian has a specific language sub-branch that he refers to as "Eastern Great Lakes" but in his assessment Costa also states "...there seems to be no evidence that Miami-Illinois is closer to Ojibwe-Potawatomi than it is to Sauk-Fox-Kickapoo."[1]

Family division

The languages are listed below along with dialects and subdialects. This classification follows Goddard (1996) and Mithun (1999).

1. Cree-Montagnais (also known as Kirištino˙ or Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi)

i. Cree
ii. Montagnais-Naskapi

2. Menominee (also known as Menomini)
? Eastern Great Lakes (also known as Core Central)

  • Ojibwe–Potawatomi (also known as Ojibwe–Potawatomi–Ottawa, Anishinaabemowin, or the Anishinaabe language)
3. Ojibwe (also known as Ojibwa, Ojibway, Ojibwe–Ottawa, Ojibwemowin or the Anishinaabe language)
i. Northern
  • Algonquin
  • Oji-Cree (also known as Severn Ojibwe, Anishininiimowin or the Anishinini language)
ii. Southern
4. Potawatomi
5. Fox (also known as Fox-Sauk-Kickapoo or Mesquakie-Sauk-Kickapoo)
  • Fox (also known as Meskwaki, Mesquakie, or Meshkwahkihaki)
  • Sauk (also known as Sac and Fox)
  • Kickapoo
  • Mascouten (unattested)
6. Shawnee
7. Miami-Illinois

See also


  1. ^ Costa, David J. (2003). The Miami-Illinois Language. University of Nebraska Press. p. 1. ISBN 0803215142.

External links


  • Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Goddard, Ives (1994). "The West-to-East Cline in Algonquian Dialectology." In William Cowan, ed., Papers of the 25th Algonquian Conference 187-211. Ottawa: Carleton University.
  • ———— (1996). "Introduction". In Ives Goddard, ed., "Languages". Vol. 17 of William Sturtevant, ed., The Handbook of North American Indians. Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution.
  • Mithun, Marianne (1999). The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.

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