Shawnee Language

Shawnee Language Family

The Shawnee language is a Central Algonquian language spoken in parts of central and northeastern Oklahoma by about 200 Shawnee people.

It was originally spoken in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. It is closely related to other Algonquian languages, such as Mesquakie-Sauk (Sac and Fox) and Kickapoo

Specifically, Shawnee is part of the Central/Plains language group of the Algonquian language family, a group that also includes languages such as Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Kickapoo, Miami-Illinois, Arapahoan, Cree-Montagnais, and others.

During the 19th century and 20th century, a number of spelling systems for Shawnee were developed by missionaries, linguists and anthropologists. One system was devised by a Shawnee, Thomas Wildcat Alford. None of these spelling systems were widely adopted.

The earliest known text in and about the Shawnee language was A Story of the Shawnee, by George Blue Jacket, which was published in Wapaughonnetta in October, 1829.

Other Algonquian languages

  • Abenaki, Algonquin, Atikamekw, Chippewa, Cree, Fox, Massachusett, Menominee, Míkmaq, Mohegan, Mohican, Montagnais, Munsee, Narragansett, Naskapi, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Unami (Lenape), Wiyot