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Studying Choctaw

Choctaw is a language spoken by the Choctaw nation. It is classified under the Muskogean family and is used by Native Americans in the southeastern U.S. It was a very popular language in the Frontier days, even known by the likes of some American presidents.

Today it is spoken by just under 10,000 people. Choctaw has been linked to the Chickasaw language, another Native American language, but members of the tribe would scoff at the claim that the languages are comparable. The Choctaw alphabet is short five letters in contrast to the English version.

There are no rolling rs in the Choctaw language, as this sound is absent. The Choctaw language can be divided into three dialects: "Native" Choctaw from Oklahoma, Mississippi Choctaw (also in Oklahoma), and Choctaw of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (this version actually is in Mississippi). The dialects are thought to have come about as the result of some of the tribe being forced to relocate to Oklahoma with the Trail of Tears. Each dialect can still comprehend the other, it's just the pronunciation is a bit different. Interestingly the state of Oklahoma is actually a Choctaw word meaning "red people".

Sounds simple enough, but when it comes to Choctaw grammar, it may seem confusing to those who are accustomed to English. Verbs, for example, are also adjectives that can have up to three prefixes or five suffixes and are always listed at the end of a sentence. Tenses are indicated by adverbs that follow verbs, and neither singular nor plural nouns exist.

Amounts are instead expressed using these terms: Chito (cheh-toe) - For one to be large Hochito (hoe-cheh-toe) - For several to be large Hikia (heh-keh-ah) - For one to stand Heli (hay-leh) - For two to stand Hiyohli (heh-yoe-leh) - For many to stand Choctaw today is usually only spoken by individuals forty-five years of age and up, but in Mississippi an effort is being made to raise kids with it as their first language. Those children are reared by the head of the household, which is considered to be the woman for the Choctaws because they are the primary caretakers. Today, the Choctaw Nation supplies its people with countless services. Like any other advanced society, there are housing programs, hospitals, and educational assistance grants. The Choctaw have founded numerous bingo joints and shopping plazas, which in turn provide plenty of jobs for these Native Americans. They delight in their free time and holidays, too, engaging in food, games, and sports that celebrate their heritage.

Jacob Lumbroso is a world traveler and an enthusiast for foreign languages, history, and foreign cultures. He writes articles on history and languages has recommends several programs for learning Choctaw .


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