|Native to||United States, Mexico|
|Region||Central Oklahoma, Northeastern Kansas, Iowa, and Coahuila|
|Ethnicity||760 Meskwaki and Sauk and 820 Kickapoo in the US (2000 census) and 423 Mexican Kickapoo (2010 census)|
|700: 250 Sauk and Fox and 400 Kickapoo in the US (2007–2015)|
60 Kickapoo in Mexico (2020 census)
Great Lakes Algonquian syllabics
Fox (known by a variety of different names, including Mesquakie (Meskwaki), Mesquakie-Sauk, Mesquakie-Sauk-Kickapoo, Sauk-Fox, and Sac and Fox) is an Algonquian language, spoken by a thousand Meskwaki, Sauk, and Kickapoo in various locations in the Midwestern United States and in northern Mexico.
The three distinct dialects are:
If Kickapoo is counted as a separate language rather than a dialect of Fox, then only between 200 and 300 speakers of Fox remain. Extinct Mascouten was most likely another dialect, though it is scarcely attested.
Most speakers are elderly or middle-aged, making it highly endangered. The tribal school at the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa incorporates bilingual education for children. In 2011, the Meskwaki Sewing Project was created, to bring mothers and girls together "with elder women in the Meskwaki Senior Center sewing traditional clothing and learning the Meskwaki language."
Prominent scholars doing research on the language include Ives Goddard and Lucy Thomason of the Smithsonian Institution and Amy Dahlstrom of the University of Chicago.
See also: Sauk people § Language
The consonant phonemes of Fox are given in the table below. The eight vowel phonemes are: short /a, e, i, o/ and long /aː, eː, iː, oː/.
Other than those involving a consonant plus /j/ or /w/, the only possible consonant cluster is /ʃk/.
Until the early 1900s, Fox was a phonologically very conservative language and preserved many features of Proto-Algonquian; records from the decades immediately following 1900 are particularly useful to Algonquianists for this reason. By the 1960s, however, an extensive progression of phonological changes had taken place, resulting in the loss of intervocalic semivowels and certain other features.
Mesquakie numerals are as follows:
Besides the Latin script, Fox has been written in two indigenous scripts.
"Fox I" is an abugida based on the cursive French alphabet (see Great Lakes Algonquian syllabics). Consonants written by themselves are understood to be syllables containing the vowel /a/. They are l /pa/, t /ta/, s /sa/, d /ša/, tt /ča/, の /ya/, w /wa/, m /ma/, n /na/, K /ka/, 8 /kwa/. The characters d for /š/, tt for /č/, and 8 for /kw/ derive from French ch, tch, and q(u).
Vowels are written by adding dots to the consonant: l. /pe/, l· /pi/, l.. /po/.
"Fox II" is a consonant–vowel alphabet, though according to Coulmas, /p/ is not written (as /a/ is not written in Fox I). Vowels (or /p/ plus a vowel) are written as cross-hatched tally marks, approximately × /a/,
II /e/, III /i/, IIII /o/.
Consonants are (approximately) + /t/, C /s/, Q /š/, ı /č/, ñ /v/, ═ /y/, ƧƧ /w/, 田 /m/, # /n/, C′ /k/, ƧC /kw/.
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