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Western Siouan
Siouan Proper
central North America
Linguistic classificationSiouan
  • Western Siouan
  • Missouri River (Crow–Hidatsa)
  • Mandan
  • Mississippi Valley (Central)
  • Ohio Valley (Southeastern)
Pre-contact distribution of the Western Siouan languages

The Western Siouan languages, also called Siouan proper or simply Siouan,[1] are a large language family native to North America. They are closely related to the Catawban languages, sometimes called Eastern Siouan, and together with them constitute the Siouan (Siouan–Catawban) language family.

Linguistic and historical records indicate a possible southern origin of the Siouan people, with migrations over a thousand years ago from North Carolina and Virginia to Ohio. Some continued down the Ohio River, to the Mississippi and up to the Missouri. Others went down the Mississippi, settling in what is now Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Others traveled across Ohio to what is now Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, home of the Dakota.

Family division

The Siouan family proper consists of some 18 languages and various dialects:

()Extinct language

Another view of both the Dakotan and Mississippi Valley branches is to represent them as dialect continuums.

All the Virginia Siouan dialects listed here are thought to have been closely related to one another; the term Tutelo language is also used in reference to their common tongue.

Writing systems

There are two systems used to transcribe within this family:

See also



  1. ^ In which case the greater family is called Siouan–Catawban
  2. ^ "Osage Nation Language Department". Archived from the original on 20 November 2011.
  3. ^ Martucci, Brian (15 January 2014). "The Endangered Osage Language Gets a Unicode-Friendly Alphabet". The Line. Retrieved 12 December 2020.