Iroquoian Languages


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Related to Iroquoian Languages: Native American Languages

Iroquoian Languages

 

a group of closely related North American Indian languages in the northeastern part of the USA and adjacent regions of Canada. The group includes Iroquois, Erie, Seneca, Oneida, Tuscarora, Mohawk, Huron, and Cherokee. Together with the Caddo, Pawnee, Arikara, and some other languages in the central part of the USA, the Iroquoian languages are sometimes grouped in the Iroquois-Caddoan family, which is provisionally included in the more extensive Hokan-Siouan family.

The phonetic system of the Iroquoian languages has fewer than 20 phonemes with a high percentage of vowels. Noun morphology is considerably poorer than verb morphology. The verb is polysynthetic and, in addition to a rich system of affixation, uses incorporation of the direct object. It constitutes the nucleus of the sentence. The Iroquoian languages have well-developed derivation. A syllabic writing system consisting of 85 characters, which was created in the early 19th century by an American Indian named Sequoyah, existed in Cherokee.

REFERENCES

Allen, L. “Siouan and Iroquoian.” International Journal of American Linguistics, 1931, vol. 6, nos. 3–4.
Bender, E. “Cherokee.” International Journal of American Linguistics, 1949, vol. 15, no. 3.
Holmer, N. M. The Character of the Iroquoian Languages. Uppsala, 1952.
Holmer, N. M. The Seneca Language. Uppsala-Copenhagen, 1954.

G. A. KLIMOV

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Conferences, such as the September conference, are on-going, and include inspirational talks, such as on how the Mohawks preserve their language, which helped the Huron-Wendats to think in terms of an Iroquoian language model, unlike the now more familiar French one.
The various Iroquoian languages employ a variety of coordinators and an historical survey of texts reveals that coordinators were grammaticized in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century when bilingualism with English or French was becoming common.