Catawba language

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Native to United States
Region South Carolina
Ethnicity Ye Iswąˀ (Catawba)
Extinct 1959, with the death of Samuel Taylor Blue[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 chc
Glottolog cata1286[2]
Linguasphere 64-ABA-ab

Catawba (/kəˈtɔːbə/; Katapa [kataːpa]) is one of two Eastern Siouan languages of the eastern US, which together with the Western Siouan languages formed the Siouan language family.

The last native speaker of Catawba died before 1960.[1] Red Thunder Cloud, apparently an impostor born Cromwell Ashbie Hawkins West, claimed to speak the language until he died in 1996 (Goddard 2000). The Catawba tribe is now working to revive the Catawba language.



Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d
Fricative s ʃ h
Trill r
Nasal m n
Approximant w j

There is also a /ɡ/ sound, which happens to be an allophone of /k/. /ʃ/ is seldom used.


Short Long Nasal
Close i ĩ
Mid e
Open a ã
Back u ũ

Short vowel sounds /i, e, a, u/ can be unstressed, ranging to /ɪ, ə~ɛ, ɑ, ʊ/. Back vowel sounds can range from /u/ to /o/, and a short /a/ can range to a back vowel sound /ɑ/.[3]


  1. ^ a b Catawba at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Catawba". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Rudes, Costa, Blair, David (2003). Essays in Algonquian, Catawban, and Siouan Linguistics in Memory of Frank T. Siebert, Jr.

External links

  • Ives Goddard, 2000. "The Identity of Red Thunder Cloud", Smithsonian Institution, reprinted from Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas Newsletter. (accessed 8 Apr 2010)
  • Catawba Indian Language
  • Catawba Texts

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