American Indian language groups * American Indian culture * Native American ancestry

Atakapa linguistic relationships

Q: You helped me earlier with a language affinity. I hope you have time for another question. I am finding conflicting comments on Atakapa. First Swanton said it was related to Tunica, then changed his mind. Another source said "distantly related to Muskogean." What was it related to? Thanks!!

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A: Atakapa has not been spoken in almost a century, so most of what I know about it is just from the academic records, which you already seem to know. Most linguists treat it as an isolate. Some (especially Swanton and Swadesh) have hypothesized connections to Tunica and Chitimacha. In the 1950's Haas suggested those three languages might be distantly related to Muskogean, but I don't think anyone believes that anymore.

It's certainly not -closely- related to any other recorded language. I'd treat the relationships with Tunica and Chitimacha as hypothetical, and discount the Muskogean idea, personally.

Hope that helps!
Native Languages of the Americas

Related Links

 Atakapa language
 Native American language families
 Tunica language
 Chitimacha language
 Muskogean languages

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