Central Algonquian

The Central Algonquian languages are commonly grouped together as a subgroup of the larger Algonquian family, itself a member of the Algic family.

Though this grouping is often encountered in the literature, it is an areal grouping rather than a genetic one.

This means the languages are grouped together because they were spoken near each other, not because they are any closer related to one another than to any other Algonquian language.

Within the Algonquian family, only Eastern Algonquian constitutes a valid genealogical group.

Within the Central Algonquian grouping languages that are closely related are Potawatomi and Chippewa otherwise known as the Ojibwe, which are generally grouped together as an Ojibwa-Potawatomi sub-branch.

David J. Costa spectulcated in his 2003-2004 web publications that within Central Algonquian there is a specific language sub-branch he refers to as “Eastern Great Lakes”.

The hypothesis for this subgroup is based on lexical and phonological innovations.

Family division

The languages are listed below along with dialects and subdialects. This classification follows Goddard (1996) and Mithun (1999).

1. Cree-Montagnais (also known as Kirištino˙ or Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi)
i. Cree

Plains Cree
Woods Cree
Western Swampy Cree
Eastern Swampy Cree and Moose Cree
Atikamekw(also known as Attikamek, Attikamekw, Atikamek or Tête de Boule)

ii. Montagnais-Naskapi

East Cree (also known as James Bay Cree or Eastern Cree)Naskapi

Northern East Cree
Southern East Cree

Montagnais(also known as Innu-aimun or Innu)

2. Menominee (also known as Menomini) I. Eastern Great Lakes (also known as Core Central)
a. Ojibwe–Potawatomi (also known as Ojibwe–Potawatomi–Ottawa, Anishinaabemowin, or the Anishinaabe language)

3. Ojibwe (also known as Ojibwa, Ojibway, Ojibwe–Ottawa, Ojibwemowinor the Anishinaabe language)

i. Northern

Oji-Cree(also known as Severn Ojibwe, Anishininiimowin or the Anishinini language)

ii. Southern

Saulteaux(also known as Nakawēmowin, Plains Ojibwe or Western Ojibwe)
Eastern Ojibwe(also known as Mississauga Ojibwa or Jibwemwin)
Southwestern Ojibwe(also known as Chippewa, Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Ojibwemowin or Ojibway)
Ottawa(also known as Odawa or Daawaamwin)
Northern Ojibwe(also known as Northwestern Ojibwe)
Nipissing Algonquin(also known simply as Algonquin)

4. Potawatomi

5. Fox(also known as Fox-Sauk-Kickapoo or Mesquakie-Sauk-Kickapoo)

Fox(also known as Meskwaki, Mesquakie, or Meshkwahkihaki)

Sauk(also known as Sac and Fox)


Mascouten (unattested)

6. Shawnee (Ša˙wano˙ki)
7. Miami-Illinois