|eastern North America|
|Linguistic classification||One of the world's primary language families|
|ISO 639-2 / 5||iro|
Pre-European contact distribution of the Iroquoian languages.
The Iroquoian languages are a language family of indigenous peoples of North America. They are known for their general lack of labial consonants. The Iroquoian languages are polysynthetic and head-marking.
As of 2020, all surviving Iroquoian languages are severely or critically endangered, with only a few elderly speakers remaining. The two languages with the most speakers, Mohawk in New York and Cherokee, are spoken by less than 10% of the populations of their tribes.
- Northern Iroquoian
- Lake Iroquoian
- Iroquois Proper
- Lake Iroquoian
- Southern Iroquoian:
(†) — language extinct
Evidence is emerging that what has been called the Laurentian language appears to be more than one dialect or language. Ethnographic and linguistic field work with the Wyandot tribal elders (Barbeau 1960) yielded enough documentation for scholars to characterize and classify the Huron and Petun languages.
The languages of the tribes that constituted the tiny Wenrohronon,[a] the powerful Conestoga Confederacy and the confederations of the Neutral Nation and the Erie Nation are very poorly documented in print. They are historically grouped together, and geographically the Wenro's range on the eastern end of Lake Erie placed them between the two much larger confederations. To the east of the Wenro, beyond the Genesee Gorge, were the lands of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and southeast, beyond the headwaters of the Allegheny River, lay the Conestoga (Susquehannocks). The Conestoga Confederacy and Erie were militarily powerful and respected by neighboring tribes. These groups were called Atiwandaronk, meaning 'they who understand the language' by the surviving Huron (Wyandot people). By 1660 all of these peoples but the Conestoga Confederacy and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy were defeated and scattered, migrating to form new tribes or to be adopted into others—the practice of adopting valiant enemies into the tribe was a common cultural tradition of the Iroquoian peoples.
The group known as the Meherrin were neighbors to the Tuscarora and the Nottoway (Binford 1967) in the American South and may have spoken an Iroquoian language. There is not enough data to determine this with certainty.
Linguistics and language revitalization
As of 2012, a program in Iroquois linguistics at Syracuse University, the Certificate in Iroquois Linguistics for Language Learners, is designed for students and language teachers working in language revitalization.
Starting in September 2017, the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario have started offering a credit course in Mohawk; the classes are to be given at Renison University College in collaboration with the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre, St. Paul's University College.
|Wiktionary has a list of reconstructed forms at Appendix:Proto-Iroquoian reconstructions|
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- "Laurentian Language and the Laurentian Indian Tribe (Stadaconan, Kwedech, Hochelagan)". www.native-languages.org. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
- Editor: Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., by The editors of American Heritage Magazine (1961). pages 188-219 (ed.). The American Heritage Book of Indians. American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. LCCN 61-14871.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- "Certificate in Iroquois Linguistics for Language Learners". University College. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- Gale Courey Toensing (September 2, 2012). "Iroquois Linguistics Certificate at Syracuse University Comes at Important Time for Native Languages". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- Six Nations Polytechnic
- Bueckert, Kate (August 17, 2017). "Mohawk language course to be offered for 1st time at UW". CBC News. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
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- Mithun, Marianne (1984), "The Proto-Iroquoians: Cultural Reconstruction from Lexical Materials", in Foster, Michael K.; Campisi, Jack; Mithun, Marianne (eds.), Extending the Rafters: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Iroquoian Studies, Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 259–82, ISBN 0-87395-781-4, OCLC 9646457.
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- Snow, Dean R. 1994. The Iroquois. Blackwell Publishers. Peoples of America. ISBN 9781557862259
- Snow, Dean R.; Gehring, Charles T; Starna, William A. 1996. In Mohawk country: early narratives about a native people. Syracuse University Press. An anthology of primary sources from 1634–1810.