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(I inadvertently have a bit of a Lakota theme running this week!)

One of the commenters on my previous blog post asked about the Lakota language and mentioned her boyfriend’s band is called “Nakota”, and since I’m a geek for language classifications I hope you’ll indulge me a bit.

Nakota” (or “Nakoda”) is a name for a Native American band who speak a language now known as Assiniboine or Stoney.  It’s no coincidence the name looks like “Lakota”; the Assiniboine tribe split off from the Sioux Nation, but originally the languages of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota bands were mutually intelligible.  Those three language groups comprise a single language family.  You can see the relationship in the terms these groups gave to themselves: all three of those words mean “friend” or “ally” in that dialect, the only difference being that each band used a slightly different noun prefix (i.e. La-, Da-, Na-).

The term “Sioux”, by the way, is probably a more common term for the Lakota and Dakota peoples collectively, though it’s not how they refer to themselves in their languages.  Wikipedia has an interesting examination of the origins of that term, if you’re interested.  And yes, these are the people for whom North and South Dakota were named!

To learn more about the Lakota language, please check out the Lakota Language Consortium, and to read about a really exciting language revitalization project, please check out my post from earlier this week!

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