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Native Languages of the Americas: Narragansett (Nipmuc)
Language: Narragansett was an Algonkian language, closely related to
Mohegan (Pequot) and
Massachusett (Wampanoag). Some linguists consider Narragansett
a dialect of one of those two languages, while others consider it a distinct language. Either way, Narragansett was spoken by the
Nipmuc and Narragansett tribes, while Mohegan was spoken by the other so-called Mohegan tribes. Unfortunately none of these languages
has been natively spoken for more than a century,
though some young people are interested in reviving their use.
People: The Narragansett are considered by most historians to be a sub-tribe of the
Mohegans, though their language may have been closer to that of the
Wampanoag. The Narragansett tribe, like the Niantic, Nipmuc, Montauk,
and Pequot, was originally a distinct and independent nation. However, due to heavy population losses and aggressive colonial expansion,
the Indian tribes of New England were scattered, merged, and assimilated to such a degree that they lost their languages and much of their
individual tribal characters. In particular, the Narragansett, Nipmuc, and Niantic tribes were driven together under the general Mohegan
rubric; other Narragansetts took refuge with the Abenakis or
Stockbridge Indians, assimilating into those cultures. The Narragansett only
regained official tribal status in 1985, though they never stopped practicing their culture within their communities. There are about 2500
Narragansetts in Rhode Island today, including those of Niantic, Nipmuc, and Pequot descent, and 2500 other Mohegans
(including some with Narragansett ancestry) in Connecticut and Long Island.
Narragansett Language Resources
Narragansett/Nipmuc language samples, articles, and indexed links.
Narragansett Culture and History Directory
Information and links about the Narragansett tribe.
Nipmuc Culture and History Directory
Information and links about the Nipmuc tribe.
Narragansett Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Narraganset Indians and their culture.
Nipmuc Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Nipmuc Indians and their culture.
Introduction to Narragansett and Nipmuc Indian mythology.
Our Online Narragansett Language Materials
List of vocabulary words in the Narragansett language, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Narragansett-Wampanoag Language Revival:
Series of language revival articles and vocabulary charts by Dr. Frank Waabu O’Brien.
Narragansett Animal Words:
Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Narragansett Indian language.
Narragansett Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
A Key into the Language of America:
Roger Williams' 1643 Narraganset Indian vocabulary for sale
Indian Language Dictionaries:
Narragansett and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials for sale.
Narragansett Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions
Demographic information about Narragansett from the Ethnologue of Languages
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett Language Tree Massachusett-Narragansett Language Tree:
Theories about Narragansett's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Mohican and Narragansett links.
Additional Resources, Links, and References
Information about the Mohegan and Narragansett languages in Spanish.
Narragansett Indian books.
Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 Contacts and FAQ page
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