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Chitimacha language

Pronunciation Sitimaša
Native to USA
Region Southern Louisiana
Extinct 1940
Language isolate
(possibly Gulf?)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ctm
Glottolog chit1248[1]

Chitimacha [2] is a language isolate historically spoken by the Chitimacha people of Louisiana, United States. It went extinct in 1940 with the death of the last fluent speaker, Delphine Ducloux.

Although no longer spoken, it is fairly extensively documented in the early 20th-century work (mostly unpublished) of linguists Morris Swadesh[3][4] and John R. Swanton. Swadesh in particular wrote a full grammar and dictionary, and collected numerous texts from the last two speakers, although none of this is published.

Language revitalization efforts are underway to teach the language to a new generation of speakers.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Chitimacha". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Carl Waldman, 2009, Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Swadesh, M. (1934). "The phonetics of Chitimacha". Language 10 (4): 345–362.  
  5. ^ "YouTube – Chitimacha Language Episode – Finding Our Talk 3". Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Press Release, Media Room, Rosetta Stone". Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  7. ^ Larry Abramson (Director) (2010-02-02). "Software Company Helps Revive 'Sleeping' Language". NPR. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  • "Chitimacha Language and the Chitimacha Indian Tribe (Chitamacha, Chetimacha, Shetimasha)". Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  • John Reed Swanton (1919). A structural and lexical comparison of the Tunica, Chitimacha, and Atakapa languages. Govt. Printing Office. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  • Thomas Noxon Toomey (1914). Relationships of the Chitimachan Linguistic Family. Hervas Laboratories. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 

External links

  • OLAC resources in and about the Chitimacha language
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