Algic Language Family

Algic Language Family

The Algic languages (also known as Algonquian-Wiyot-Yurok or Algonquian-Ritwan) are an indigenous language family of North America. They are all thought to descend from Proto-Algic, a second-order proto language reconstructed using Proto-Algonquian and the languages Wiyot and Yurok.

Most Algic languages are part of the Algonquian subfamily, which are spoken from the Rocky Mountains to New England.

The other Algic languages are the Yurok and Wiyot languages of northwestern California.Wiyot, Miami, Illinois, Etchemin, Loup A, Loup B, Mahican, Massachusett, Mohegan, Pequot, Nanticoke, Narragansett, Pamlico, Powhatan, Quiripi, Naugatuck, Unami, Unquachog, and Shinnecock are now extinct.

The last known Wiyot speaker died in 1962. All other languages are endangered. Yurok is thought to have ten or fewer speakers.

The two Algic languages of California, Wiyot and Yurok, have sometimes been combined into a subgroup called Ritwan (leading to a two-branch genetic tree of Ritwan and Algonquian).

This grouping has been disfavored by many specialists.

Wiyot and Yurok do not seem to be any more similar to each other than either language is to Algonquian languages.

Within the Algonquian subfamily there is a smaller genetic grouping of the Eastern Algonquian languages.

The other (non-Eastern) Algonquian languages have sometimes been categorized into two smaller subgroups: Central Algonquian and Plains Algonquian. However, these two subgroups are not based on genetic relationship but are rather area subgroups.

Algic Family Tree

Carolina Algonquian (United States) (also known as Pamlico, Pamtico, Pampticough, Christianna Algonquian) (Extinct)
Central Algonquian(23)

Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (9)

Atikamekw (Canada)
Moose Cree (Canada)
Northern East Cree (Canada)
Plains Cree (Canada)
Southern East Cree (Canada)
Swampy Cree (Canada)
Woods Cree (Canada)
Montagnais (Canada)
Naskapi (Canada)

Ojibwa (8)

Algonquin (Canada)
Chippewa (United States)
Central Ojibwa (Canada)
Eastern Ojibwa(Canada)
Northwestern Ojibwa (Canada)
Severn Ojibwa (Canada)
Western Ojibwa (Canada)
Ottawa (Canada)

Kickapoo (United States)
Menominee (United States)
Meskwaki (United States)
Miami (United States) (aka Illinois and Illinois-Miami) (Officially extinct but a revitalization program is in progress since an extensive dictionary exists)
Potawatomi (United States)
Shawnee (United States)

Eastern Algonquian(10)


Unami (also known as Lenape) (Extinct)

Northern Unami
Southern Unami

Eastern Abnaki,(United States)(also known as Abenaki or Abenaki-Penobscot)

Penobscot (also known as Old Town or Old Town Penobscot)

Etchemin (uncertain) (Extinct)
Loup A (probably Nipmuck) (uncertain) (Extinct)
Loup B (Uncertain) (Extinct)
Western Abnaki (Canada) (also known as Abnaki, St. Francis, Abenaki, or Abenaki-Penobscot)
Malecite-Passamaquoddy (Canada)  (also known as Maliseet-Passamquoddy)

Maliseet (also known as Malecite)

Massachusett (United States) (Extinct)

North Shore (United States)
Natick (United States)
Wampanoag (United States)
Nauset (United States)
Cowesit (United States)

Micmac (Canada and United States) (also known as Mic Mac, Mi’kmaq, Mi’gmaq, or Mi’kmaw)
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett (United States) (aka  Mohegan-Pequot-Montauk)

Mohegan (Extinct)
Narragansett (Extinct)
Pequot (Extinct)
Shinnecock (uncertain) (Extinct)

Munsee (Canada)
Nanticoke (United States)

Nanticoke (Extinct)
Piscataway (also known as Conoy)

Powhatan (United States) (also known as Virginia Algonquian) (Extinct)

Quiripi (also known as Quinnipiak or Connecticut) (Extinct)
Naugatuck (Extinct)
Unquachog (Extinct)

Plains Algonquian (5)

Arapaho (3)

Arapaho (United States)
Gros Ventre (United States)
Nawathinehena (United States)

Blackfoot (Canada) and Blackfeet (United States)
Cheyenne (United States)

Mahican (also known as Mohican) (Extinct)


Piscataway (United States)
Unclassified (1)

Lumbee (United States)


Wiyot (United States) (Extinct)


Yurok (United States)