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Arikara Language (Sanish, Arikari, Arickaree)

Language: Arikara is a Caddoan language of the Great Plains, originally spoken in North and South Dakota. It is a tone language with complex polysynthetic morphology. Today, the Arikara Indians share a reservation with the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes. The Arikara language has been in decline and is spoken today by only a few elders in North Dakota, but some young people are working to keep their ancestral language alive.

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Names: The origins of the tribal name Arikara are not entirely known. It was probably originally a place name or the name of a particular band in the language of a neighboring tribe; it resembles Pawnee words for "male deer" and "horns." Their own name for themselves is Sáhniš, which means "the people." In the past, they were often known as the Ree Indians, and sometimes as the Pandani or Star-rah-he. Alternate spellings of these names include Arikari, Arikaree, Arickaree, Aricara, Aricaree, Arikkara, Ricara, Racari, Ricaree, Riccaree, Arikaris; Sanish, Sahnish, Sahnis, Tanish; Ris, Rees, Rus, Padani, and Starrahhe. The Arikara reservation used to be known as Fort Berthold, but today the people prefer to call their shared community the Three Affiliated Tribes or the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation.

Arikara Language
Arikara language samples and resources.

Arikara Tribe Culture and History
Information and links about the life of the Arikara Indians past and present.

Arikara Legends
Introduction to Arikara mythology.

Arikara Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Arikaras, their language and culture.

Arikara Language Resources

Our Arikara Language Materials

Arikara Vocabulary:
    Our list of vocabulary words in the Arikara language, with comparison to words in other Caddoan languages.
Arikara Pronunciation Guide:
    Learn how to pronounce Arikara words.
Arikara Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Arikara language.
Arikara Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in Arikara.
Arikara Colors:
    Worksheet showing color words in Arikara.
Arikara Numbers:
    Worksheet showing how to count in Arikara.
Tribes in North Dakota: * Tribes in South Dakota:
    Map showing the area where Arikara was historically spoken.

Arikara Dictionaries and Language Books for Sale
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Traditional Narratives of the Arikara Indians * Traditional Narratives From Alfred Morsette:
    Two-volume set of legends and stories in the Arikara/Sahnish language, with English translation.
Caddoan Texts:
    A collection of legends and stories in Arikara and related languages.
Native American Dictionaries:
    Arapaho and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials for sale.

Arikara Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

English to Sanish Language Dictionary:
    Arikara language materials from the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish tribal college.
Arikara Language Program:
    Homepage of a tribal initiative to create Arikara language materials, including an online phrasebook.
Arikara (Sáhniš):
    Profile of the Arikara language including a phonological inventory, orthography and a text.
Arikara Language Tree:
    Theories about Arikara's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
World Language Structures: Arikara:
    Arikara linguistic profile and academic bibliography.
*Plains Indian Vocabularies:
    Early 20th-century wordlists of Mandan, Arikara and Atsina.

Arikara Proper Names

Names in Arikara:
    Examples of Arikara names with audio clips.
Bands and Villages of the Arikara and Pawnee:
    Paper on Arikara and Pawnee place names.
Indian Names and Meanings:
    Our fundraiser offering names for dogs and other animals in Native American languages (including Arikara).

Arikara Language Preservation and Usage

House of Languages: Arikara
    Information about Arikara language usage.
Less than 65 people speak endangered Northern Plains languages: * North Dakota colleges to preserve tribal language:
    Articles about an Arikara language preservation initiative on the Fort Berthold reservation.
Native language in 'The Revenant'
    How the endangered Arikara language was featured in a Hollywood movie.

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Links, References, and Additional Information

Endangered Languages Project: Arikara: * OLAC: Arikara: * Learning Arikara:
Bibliographies of Arikara language resources.
Wikipedia: Arikara:
Encyclopedia article on the Arikara language.
La Lengua Arikara * Langue Arikara:
Information about the Arikara language in Spanish and French.
Arikara Language:
Arikara links pages.

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