Karankawa language (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Karankawan language is thought to be an isolated one. There is revisionist thought put forward by Herbet Landar, however, that Karankawa should be classified as a Cariban language. The language's area in the early modern era (1500 through 1840) was the extreme western coast of the Gulf of Mexico, reaching from West Galveston Bay south to Laguna Madre in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Spanish missions were sent to the region to minister to the Karankawa. These included the mission of Espiritu Santa de Zuniga and the Nuestra Señora del Refugio, as well as a number of Franciscan missions south of the Rio Grande or Rio Bravo del Norte. After the Austin Colony of Anglo-Americans settled in the valley of the Brazos, the remaining Karankawa were driven south into Tamaulipas, where they lived in association with the missions along with the remaining speakers of Coahuiltecan, Tamaulipecan, and Janambrian.
Knowledge of the language stems from materials collected by Albert S. Gatschet from Old Simon and Sally Washington, both Tonkawa, and Alice W. Oliver in the late nineteenth century. Word lists were also collected by a few French observers in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
An adequate comparison of the languages that existed along the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico between Galveston Bay and the Laguna Madre is extremely difficult. Reasons for this difficulty include divergent methods of recording the languages by the various...
(The entire section is 506 words.)
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