Caddoan language family (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Today, three key Caddoan languages survive: Caddo proper, Pawnee, and Wichita. Some experts extend the list to include Arikara (or Ree), a nearly distinct tongue originally related dialectically to Pawnee.
The original geographical area in which Caddoan languages were spoken spanned what eventually became Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and parts of East Texas. By the twentieth century, the Caddoan group had become quite limited, both in the number of languages still traceable and the number of remaining speakers of each. Today, three key Caddoan languages survive: Caddo proper, Pawnee, and Wichita. Some experts extend the list to include Arikara (or Ree), a nearly distinct tongue originally related dialectically to Pawnee. Use of the term Caddoan as a general classification came after the research into Indian language groups undertaken by John Powell in the 1890's. Before then, the term Pawnee was applied to both Caddo and Wichita, as well as to Pawnee itself. Historically, the ancestors of today's Caddoan speakers referred to themselves as Hasinai, a name apparently applicable to tribes in the East Texas area, or Kadohadacho, a more general grouping covering the area from East Texas eastward and northeastward.
Linguists assume that when European explorers first recorded their observation of Caddoan speakers—possibly as early as Hernando de Soto's expedition of 1541, and certainly by Sieur de La Salle's...
(The entire section is 801 words.)
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