|Arapaho language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
|Native to||United States|
|Region||Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming; Oklahoma|
|Native speakers||≈250 (2008)|
The Arapaho language or Arapaho proper (also spelled "Arapahoe"; in Arapaho: Hinóno’eitíít ) is one of the Plains Algonquian languages, closely related to Gros Ventre and other Arapahoan languages. It is spoken by under 300 people over age 50 in Wyoming, and in Oklahoma by "only a handful of people . . . all near eighty or older". As such, it is in danger of becoming extinct. As of 1996, there were approximately 1,000 speakers among the Northern Arapaho. As of 2008, the authors of a newly published grammar estimated there were slightly over 250 fluent speakers, plus "quite a few near-fluent passive understanders". In 2008, it was reported that a school had been opened to teach the language to children.
Besawunena, only attested from a wordlist collected by Kroeber, differs only slightly from Arapaho, though a few of its sound changes resemble those seen in Gros Ventre. It had speakers among the Northern Arapaho as recently as the late 1920s.
Among the sound changes in the evolution from Proto-Algonquian to Arapaho are the loss of Proto-Algonquian *k, followed by *p becoming either /k/ or /tʃ/; the two Proto-Algonquian semivowels merging to either /n/ or /j/; and *m often becoming /b/. Arapaho is unusual among Algonquian languages in retaining the contrast between the reconstructed phonemes *r and *θ (generally as /n/ and /θ/, respectively). These and other changes serve to give Arapaho a phonological system very divergent from that of Proto-Algonquian and other Algonquian languages, and even from languages spoken in the adjacent Great Basin. Some examples comparing Arapaho words with their cognates in Proto-Algonquian can illustrate this:
|*sakime•wa||nóúbeː||'mosquito' > 'fly'|
|*ka•ka•kiwa||hóuu||'raven' > 'crow'|
At the level of pronunciation, Arapaho words cannot begin with a vowel, so where the underlying form of a word begins with a vowel, a prothetic /h/ is added.
Arapaho has a series of four short vowels /i e o u/ (pronounced [ɪ ɛ ɔ ʊ]) and four long vowels /iː eː oː uː/ (customarily written ⟨ii ee oo uu⟩ and pronounced [iː ɛː ɔː uː]). The difference in length is phonemically distinctive: compare hísi’, "tick" with híísi’, "day", and hócoo, "steak" with hóócoo, "devil"./i/ and /u/ are mostly in complementary distribution, as, with very few exceptions, the former does not occur after velar consonants, and the latter only occurs after them. /u/ does have some exceptions as in the free variants kokíy ~ kokúy, "gun"; kookiyón ~ kookuyón, "for no reason"; and bíí’oxíyoo ~ bíí’oxúyoo, "Found in the Grass" (a mythological character). There is only one minimal pair to illustrate the contrast in distribution: núhu’, "this" versus níhi’-, "X was done with Y", in which níhi’- only occurs in bound form.
There are four diphthongs, /ei ou oe ie/, and several triphthongs, /eii oee ouu/ as well as extended sequences of vowels such as /eee/ with stress on either the first or the last vowel in the combination.
The consonant inventory of Arapaho is given in the table below. When writing Arapaho, /j/ is normally transcribed as ⟨y⟩, /tʃ/ as ⟨c⟩, /ʔ/ as ⟨’⟩, and /θ/ as ⟨3⟩.
The phoneme /b/ (the voiced bilabial stop) has a voiceless allophone [p] that occurs before other consonants or at the end of a word. The plosives /tʃ/, /k/, and /t/ are pronounced without aspiration in most environments, but are aspirated before other consonants or at the end of a word, or when preceding a syllable-final sequence of short vowel + /h/. In this same environment /b/ is aspirated and devoiced. For example, the grammatical prefix cih- is pronounced [tʃʰɪh], the grammatical prefix tih- is pronounced [tʰɪh], and the word héétbih’ínkúútiinoo, "I will turn out the lights" is het[b̥ʰ]ih’ínkúútiinoo.
Consonant clusters in Arapaho can only be two consonants long. Consonant clusters do not occur word initially, and /hC/ is the only that occurs word finally. The only consonant cluster that is "base generated" (exists in the most underlying representation of words) is /hC/. At the "surface" (at the level of actual pronunciation), other clusters arise by phonological processes including vowel syncope, or by juxtaposition of morphemes.
Arapaho is a pitch-accent language. There are two phonemic tones: high (marked with an acute accent) or "normal" (unmarked). The contrast can be illustrated with the pair hónoosóó’, "it is fancy" and honoosóó’, "it is raining." Long vowels and vowel sequences can carry a contour tone from high to low, as in hou3íne-, "to hang" (where the first syllable has a normal tone) versus hóu3íne-, "to float" (where the first syllable has a high+normal, or falling, tone). Although tonal contrasts are distinctive in Arapaho, minimal pairs such as those listed above are rare.
- Conathan 2006, 'A'.
- Cowell & Moss 2008, p. 1.
- Greymorning 2001, p. 287.
- New York Times 2008 October 18.
- Hale 2001, pp. 283-284.
- Goddard 1974.
- Goddard 1990, p. 103.
- Goddard 1974, pp. 1974:104, 106, 107, 108.
- Goddard 2001, p. 75.
- Cowell & Moss 2008, p. 14.
- Cowell & Moss 2008, pp. 14-16.
- Salzman et al. 1998.
- Cowell & Moss 2008, pp. 22-23.
- Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514050-8.
- Conathan, Lisa (1 June 2006). "English-Arapaho dictionary (draft)". The Arapaho Language: Documentation and Revitalization Project. University of California at Berkeley. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- Cowell, Andrew, and Moss, Alonzo, Sr. 2008. The Arapaho Language. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 978-0-87081-901-8
- Goddard, Ives. 1974. "An Outline of the Historical Phonology of Arapaho and Atsina". International Journal of American Linguistics 40:102-16.
- Goddard, Ives. 1990. "Algonquian Linguistic Change and Reconstruction". In Linguistic Change and Reconstruction Methodology, ed. Philip Baldi. Trends in Linguistics, Studies and Monographs 45. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 99-114.
- Goddard, Ives. 2001. "The Algonquian Languages of the Plains". Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 13: 71-79. Washington: the Smithsonian Institution.
- Greymorning, Steven. 2001. "Reflections on the Arapaho Language Project". In The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice, ed. Ken Hale and Leanne Hinton. San Diego, California: Academic Press.
- Hale, Ken. 2001. "The Arapaho Language". In The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice, ed. Ken Hale and Leanne Hinton. San Diego, California: Academic Press.
- "Its Native Tongue Facing Extinction, Arapaho Tribe Teaches the Young". New York Times. 18 October, 2008.
- Kroeber, Alfred Louis (1917). Arapaho dialects. University of California Press. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- Salzmann, Zdeněk and The Northern Arapaho Tribe and Anderson, Jeffrey. 1998. Dictionary of the Northern Arapaho Language.
- Goddard, Ives. 1998. Recovering Arapaho etymologies by reconstructing forwards. In Melchert, Craig & Jasanoff, Jay H. (eds.) Mír Curad: Studiesin Honor of Calvert Watkins, Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaftder Universität Innsbruck, Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, pp.183–200.
- Jacques, Guillaume 2013. The sound change s>n in Arapaho, Folia historica linguistica.
- Pentland, David. 1997. [review of] principles and methods in historical phonology: from proto-Algonkian to Arapaho, by Marc Picard, 1994. Diachronica 14.2: 383–386.
- Pentland, David. 1998. Initial *s > n in Arapaho-Atsina. Diachronica 15.2:309–321.
- Picard, Marc. 1994. Principles and Methods in Historical Phonology: From Proto-Algonkian to Arapaho. Montreal and Kingston: McGill—Queen's University Press.
- Mithun, Marianne. 1999. The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
|Wikibooks has more on the topic of: Arapaho language|
- Arapaho language at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Entry for Arapaho at Rosetta Project
- The Arapaho Language
- Arapaho Language Archives, with many dialogues and narratives in Arapaho with glosses
- Nun-na-a-in-ah Ve-vith-ha Hin-nen-nau Hin-nen-it-dah-need (1895) Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in Arapaho