Algonquian–Wakashan languages

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North America, Sakhalin Island, and Southern Siberia
Linguistic classificationproposed language family



Algonquian–Wakashan (also Almosan, Algonkian–Mosan, Algonkin–Wakashan) is a hypothetical language family composed of several established language families that was proposed in 1929. The proposal consists of the following:

I. Algic (Algonkin–Ritwan)

A. Algonquian (Algonkin)
B. Beothuk
C. WiyotYurok (Ritwan)

II. Kutenai (also known as Kootenay; a language isolate)

III. Mosan

A. Wakashan
B. Chimakuan
C. Salishan

Kutenai may possibly be distantly related to the Salishan family, but this link has not been demonstrated. The Mosan family proposal is also hypothetical and is currently considered undemonstrated, rather appearing to be a Sprachbund.

Joseph Greenberg renamed Sapir's proposal Almosan and grouped it in an even more inclusive Almosan–Keresiouan phylum with the Caddoan, Iroquoian, Keresan, and Siouan families. This proposal has been rejected by linguists specializing in Native American languages.[1]

More recently, Sergei Nikolaev has argued in two papers for a systematic relationship between the Nivkh language of Sakhalin and the Amur basin and the Algic languages on the one hand and a secondary relationship between these two together and the Wakashan languages.[2][3]


  1. ^ Lyle Campbell (2000). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford University Press. pp. 327–328. ISBN 978-0-19-514050-7. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  2. ^ Nikolaev, S. (2015)
  3. ^ Nikolaev, S. (2016)


  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Greenberg, Joseph H. (1987). Language in the Americas. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Sapir, Edward. (1929). Central and North American languages. In The encyclopædia britannica: A new survey of universal knowledge (14 ed.) (Vol. 5, pp. 138–141). London: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, Ltd.