Thursday, February 26, 2009

Changes in the Ioway-Otoe-Missouria Language

As you go through these pages from Hamilton
and Irvin, and compare it to contemporary
examples from scholars like Good Tracks,
Wistrand-Robinson, or even people you
know personally as friends or family, you
will see things that may be different from
each other.

A lot of Ioway-Otoe seems to have had phonological
(sound) changes due to the increasing importance
and use of English, and also probably because of
isolation and eventual differentiation among Ioway
speakers who lived in different areas, some in
Kansas-Nebraska, and others in Oklahoma; some
associating or intermarrying more with Otoe, others
Sauk (Sac and Fox), others white people, and even
other tribes in Oklahoma like Pawnee, Creek, etc.

There has been a long period of drift and
differentiation in this
way, for sounds, spelling, vocabulary, diction.
Sometimes to the point that each extended family
or geographic group has its own "right way" of
talking Ioway or Otoe, and anyone who "talks
different" isn't doing it "the right way."

But the reality is, no one is wrong, it is just that in
isolation and disuse, the language has drifted
in different directions over the last 150-200 years,
sort of like Texas English vs New York English.
Texans and New Yorkers can still MOSTLY understand
and talk to each other... WHEN they want to!

This blog doesn't make any judgements about
what is "right" or "wrong" just gives examples
from the past and the present, and you can make
up your own mind about it all. The main thing is,
try to PRACTICE and USE the language to your best
knowledge and ability!