Native American Languages
Native American Cultures
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Native Languages of the Americas:
Gros Ventre (Ahe, Ahahnelin, Aane, Atsina)
Language: Gros Ventre--Ahe or A'ananin to its own speakers--is an
Algonkian language spoken today by
only a handful of elders in Montana. Most linguists consider Gros Ventre a dialect of
Arapaho, though the two tribes have
distinct political and cultural identities. Gros Ventre had the unusual trait of being pronounced differently by male and female
speakers--women used the sound "k" where men used "ty" or "ch." (Both genders, of course, could easily
understand each other.) Gender dialects have not been preserved among the young Gros Ventre learning
to speak their language again, so even if the language is successfully
revived, it seems unlikely this
feature will survive outside of a linguistics book.
People: Gros Ventre was the French name for these Plains Indians (supposedly because of their
hearty appetites), and Atsina the name their kinsmen the
Arapaho bestowed on them, but they call
themselves A'aninin, the White Clay People. They share a reservation in Montana with their allies the
Assiniboine. The Gros Ventre people are
occasionally confused with the completely unrelated Hidatsa,
whom the French also called Gros Ventre (apparently because the symbols for the two tribes in
Plains Indian Sign Language are quite similar). There are about 3000
Gros Ventre Indians today.
History: The Gros Ventre tribe began as a splinter group of Arapaho Indians
who left their kinsmen to journey north. Their poor choice of the powerful
Blackfoot Nation as enemies left their ranks weakened and depleted
by war just as the western smallpox epidemic struck, a calamity their population still has
not recovered from. The Gros Ventre and their Assiniboine allies did avoid
removal to Oklahoma, accepting instead the reservation in Montana where they live to this
day; however, the government continues to mine for gold on Gros Ventre tribal lands over their
objections due to the exploitative treaty with the Americans they signed at gunpoint in the 19th century.
Gros Ventre Language Resources
Gros Ventre language samples, articles, and indexed links.
Gros Ventre Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Gros Ventre Indians past and present.
Gros Ventre Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Gros Ventres, their language and culture.
Gros Ventre Legends
Introduction to Gros Ventre Indian mythology.
Our Online Gros Ventre Language Materials
Gros Ventre Vocabulary:
List of vocabulary words in the Gros Ventre language, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Gros Ventre Pronunciation Guide:
How to pronounce Gros Ventre words.
Gros Ventre Animal Words:
Illustrated glossary of animal words in Gros Ventre.
Gros Ventre Colors:
Worksheet showing color words in the Gros Ventre language.
Gros Ventre Animate Nouns:
Lesson on Gros Ventre animate and inanimate nouns.
Gros Ventre Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
Aaniiih and Nakoda Speeches:
Interesting book about Gros Ventre and Assiniboine oratory and ceremonial language.
American Indian Language Dictionaries:
Crow and other Native American dictionaries and language materials for sale.
Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions
White Clay People:
Bilingual coloring book in Gros Ventre and English, aimed at children.
Language Museum: Gros Venture:
Gros Ventre language samples.
Gros Ventre Language Page:
Gros Ventre word lists and a Gros Ventre version of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Fort Belknap College:
Fort Belknap's homepage has audio recordings of Nakota and Gros Ventre.
Gros Ventre Language Preservation and Usage
GrosVentre Documentation Project:
Developing a dictionary of the Gros Ventre language.
Ethnologue: Gros Ventre:
Demographic information about the Atsina Indian language.
Gros Ventre Language Tree:
Theories about Gros Ventre's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Arapaho and Gros Ventre Proper Names
Arapaho Place Names:
A linguistic study of Arapaho placenames in Colorado.
Native American Dog Names:
Our new fundraiser offering names for dogs and other animals in American Indian languages (including Gros Ventre).
Additional Resources, Links, and References
Wikipedia: Gros Ventre:
Encyclopedia articles on the Gros Ventre language.
La Lengua Grosventre:
Article on the Gros Ventre language in Spanish. With a language map.
Gros Ventre Language:
Gros Ventre links.
Gros Ventre Tribe:
Gros Ventre Indian books.
Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 Contacts and FAQ page
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