Western Apache language

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Western Apache
Ndee biyáti' / Nnee biyáti'
Native to United States
Region Primarily south-east Arizona
Ethnicity Western Apache
Native speakers
14,000 (65% of pop.) (2007)[1]
Dené–Yeniseian
Language codes
ISO 639-3 apw
Glottolog west2615[2]

The Western Apache language is a Southern Athabaskan language spoken among the 14,000 Western Apaches living primarily in east central Arizona as well as Texas[3] and New Mexico. There are approximately 6,000 speakers living on the San Carlos Reservation and 7,000 living on the Ft. Apache Reservation.[4] Goodwin (1938) claims that Western Apache can be divided into five dialect groupings:

  • Cibecue
  • Northern Tonto
  • Southern Tonto
  • San Carlos
  • White Mountain

Other researchers do not find any linguistic evidence for five groups but rather three main varieties with several subgroupings:

Western Apache is most closely related to other Southern Athabaskan languages like Navajo, Chiricahua Apache, Mescalero Apache, Lipan Apache, Plains Apache, and Jicarilla Apache.

In 2011, the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Language Preservation Program in Peridot, Arizona, began its outreach to the "14,000 tribal members residing within the districts of Bylas, Gilson Wash, Peridot and Seven Mile Wash,"[5] only 20% of whom still speak the language fluently.[6]

Place names

Many Western Apache place names currently in use are believed to be creations of Apache ancestors.[7] Keith Basso, a prominent Western Apache linguist, writes that the ancestors frequently traveled for food, and the need to remember specific places was “facilitated by the invention of hundreds of descriptive placenames that were intended to depict their referents in close and exact detail.”[7] Basso also writes that not only do place names provide descriptions of specific locations, but also “positions for viewing these locations.”[7] These place names are a fundamental aspect of Western Apache communication, allowing for what Basso describes as an appropriation of “mythic significance” for “specialized social ends” via the practice of “speaking with names.”[7]

Grammar

Western Apache uses a classificatory verb system comparable to both the Jicarilla[3] and Mescalero Apaches. Basso gives this example: "the stems –tii and –'a are used in the phrases nato sentii and nato sen’a both of which may be translated broadly as “hand (me) the tobacco.” The difference in meaning between the two verb forms is signaled by their stems: --tii refers to the handling of a single, elongated object (e.g., a cigarette), while –‘a refers to the handling of a single, compact object (e.g., a packet of cigarettes). In short, the referent of the noun nato (“tobacco”) is made more precise according to the stem with which it is coupled."[8]

The use of classificatory verbs is similar to that of nouns: the speaker must select an expression that corresponds to the situation in the world he wishes to refer to. The speaker must place specific objects into categories and use the appropriate verb form in accordance with the particular category. Basso gives these examples of classifications for the Western Apache verb system:

  1. Animal/Non-animal. There are two features on this dimension: "animal" and "non-animal." The former, designated by the symbol (a1) includes all vertebrates and insects. The latter, designated (a2), includes flora, liquids, minerals, and practically all items of material culture.
  2. Enclosure. There are two features on this dimension. The first (bl) refers to the condition whereby the item or object being talked about is enclosed in a container. The second (b2) refers to the condition whereby it is not enclosed, i.e., not in a container.
  3. State. There are three features on this dimension: "solid" (c1), "plastic" (c2), and "liquid" (c3). The second feature refers to moist, plastic substances such as mud, wet clay, etc., and might also have been defined as "neither solid nor liquid."
  4. Number. There are three features on this dimension: "one" (d1), "two" (d2), and "more than two" (d3).
  5. Rigidity. There are two features on this dimension: "rigid" (e1), and "non-rigid" (e2). The Apache consider and object tp be rigid (nkliz) if, when held at its edge or end, it does not bend.
  6. Length. There are two features on this dimension. The first (f1), refers to the condition whereby the horizontal length of an object is at least three times greater than either its width of height. The second feature (f2) refers to the condition whereby the length of an object is less than three times its width or height.
  7. Portability. There are two features on this dimension: "portable" (g1) and "non-portable" (g2). The former refers to items light enough in weight to be easily carried by one man. The latter refers to items sufficiently heavy to require at least two men to carry them.[8]

Phonology

Consonants

There are 29 consonants in Western Apache:

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral
Nasal m n
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced (ⁿd/d)
aspirated
ejective
Affricate voiceless ts
aspirated tsʰ tɬʰ tʃʰ
ejective tsʼ tɬʼ tʃʼ
Fricative voiceless s ɬ ʃ h
voiced z ʒ ɣ
Approximant w l j

Vowels

There are 16 vowels in Western Apache:

  Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close oral ɪ        
nasal ɪ̃ ĩː        
Open-mid oral ɛ ɛː     o
nasal ɛ̃ ɛ̃ː     õ õː
Open oral     a    
nasal     ã ãː    

An acute accent /á/ represents a high toned accent. Low toned accents are not marked.

Phonetic Semantic signs are divided into two sub-parts: a logographs[9] (donate only one word) and phraseographs (donate one or more words).

Unaffricated Stops

Western Apache utilizes unaffricated stops. Willem de Reuse explains, "Unaffricated stop consonants are produced in three locations: bilabial, alveolar, velar. At the alveolar and velar places of articulation, there are three possibilities: aspirated, ejective, and unaspirated. (The voiceless unaspirated alveolars are characteristically realized as taps in intervocalic environments other than stem-initial position) The bilabial stops are more restricted. Ejective bilabial stops do not occur, and aspirated bilabial stops are rarely attested, surfacing primarily, if not exclusively, in borrowed words. The closure for three alveolar stops is voiceless, as indicated by the absence of any energy in the spectrograms during the closure phase."[10]

Writing System

The only writing system native to Western Apache is a system of symbols created in 1904 by Silas John Edwards to record 62 prayers that he believed came to him from heaven.[11] A Silas John prayer-text is a set of graphic symbols written on buckskin or paper. The symbols are arranged in horizontal lines which are read from left to right in descending order. Symbols are separated by a space, and each symbol corresponds to a single line of prayer, which may consist of a word, a phrase, or one or more sentences.[11] An interesting feature of this writing system is that it includes symbols for nonverbal actions as well as verbal speech.[11]

Symbols can either be "compound" or "non-compound". Compound symbols consist of two symbols being combined in order to form a new symbol. Non-compound symbols are symbols that are not combination of two separate symbols.[11] The "names" of non-compound symbols are the same as the line of text that the symbols elicit. Because of this, the linguistic referent of a non-compound symbol is always the same as the meaning of the element that forms it and can be learned in a single operation.[11]

Usage

The geographic locations where events occurred are crucial components to any Western Apache story or narrative.[7] All Western Apache narratives are spatially anchored to points upon the land with precise depictions of specific locations, which is characteristic of many Native American languages.[9][7] Basso called this practice of focusing on places in the language "speaking with names."[7]

According to Basso, the Western Apache practice of "speaking with names" expresses functional range and versatility. Basso claims, "a description of a place may be understood to accomplish all of the following actions:

  1. produce a mental image of a particular geographical location;
  2. evoke prior texts, such as historical tales and sagas;
  3. affirm the value and validity of traditional moral precepts (i.e., ancestral wisdom);
  4. display tactful and courteous attention to aspects of both positive and negative face;
  5. convey sentiments of charitable concern and personal support;
  6. offer practical advice for dealing with disturbing personal circumstances (i.e., apply ancestral wisdom);
  7. transform distressing thoughts caused by excessive worry into more agreeable ones marked by optimism and hopefulness;
  8. heal wounded spirits."[7]

Basso also claims the practice of “speaking with names” can only occur between those with shared “knowledge of the same traditional narratives.”[7] He notes that though many elders in Western Apache communities, such as Cibecue, share this knowledge, younger generations of Western Apache “are ignorant of both placenames and traditional narratives in increasing numbers,” and this makes engaging in the practice of “speaking with names” incredibly difficult.[7]

Examples

  • Hat' ii baa nadaa? - What are you doing?/What are you busy with?[12]
  • Shiyoo' baa nashaa. - I am doing my beading.[12]
  • Doo shaa nadaa da. - Don't bother me.[12]
  • Naa naghaa. - S/he is bothering you[12]

Revitalization efforts

Western Apache is an endangered language, and there are efforts to increase the number of speakers.[12] One method of teaching Western Apache is the Total Physical Response (TPR) Method,[12] which focuses, especially early in the instruction, on commands.[12] TPR exercises are best for teaching straightforward aspects of grammar, such as yes and no questions, and these can be enhanced with further grammatical exercises.[12]

References

  1. ^ as reported by Willem de Reuse in Golla, Victor. 2007. North America. In Encyclopedia of the world's endangered languages, ed. Christopher Moseley (pp. 1–95). Routledge: London.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Western Apache". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.native-languages.org/apache.htm.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Did you know Western Apache is threatened?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  5. ^ Sandra Rambler (2011-11-09). "Arizona Silver Belt Tribe focuses on preservation of Apache language". Arizona Silver Belt. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  6. ^ 'Testimony of Mary Kim Titla:Reclaiming our Image and Identity for the next Seven Generations,' Senate Committee on Indian Affairs,' November 29, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Basso, Keith H. (1 January 1988). ""Speaking with Names": Language and Landscape among the Western Apache". Cultural Anthropology. 3 (2): 99–130. JSTOR 656347. 
  8. ^ a b Basso, Keith H. (1 January 1968). "The Western Apache Classificatory Verb System: A Formal Analysis". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology. 24 (3): 252–266. JSTOR 3629347. 
  9. ^ a b Basso, KH; Anderson, N. "A Western apache writing system: the symbols of silas john". Science. 180: 1013–22. doi:10.1126/science.180.4090.1013. PMID 17806568. 
  10. ^ "Phonetic Structures of Western Apache: Articles+". eds.b.ebscohost.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Basso, Keith H.; Anderson, Ned (1973-01-01). "A Western Apache Writing System: The Symbols of Silas John". Science. 180 (4090): 1013–1022. JSTOR 1736310. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h J., de Reuse, Willem. "Issues in Language Textbook Development: The Case of Western Apache". 

Bibliography

Language pedagogy
  • Arizona State University & American Indian Language Development Institute. (1983). Nohwiyati’ [Our language]. SIL.
  • Bunney, Curtis. (1974). Nnee baa nadaagoni’ [Apache stories]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District.
  • Bunney, Curtis. (1974). Oshii bigonsh’aa. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District.
  • Bunney, Curtis. (n.d.). Apache Workbook l: Oshii bigonsh’aa. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District.
  • Bunney, Curtis. (n.d.). Nnee dii k’ehgo daagoląąni’. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District.
  • Bunney, Curtis. (n.d.). The Little Red Hen (and other stories): Chaghashe bi nagoni’e. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District.
  • Bunney, Curtis; & and Crowder, Jack. (1972). Western Apache Series. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District. [20 booklets].
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). The cactus boy: Hosh nteelé ishkiin. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Chagháshé táági [The three children]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Da’ónjii nadaagohilnéhé [We read we play]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Doo hant’é dalke’ da. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Gosh’ii: Shíí Mary nshlii: Gosh’ii. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Haigo: Zas naláá. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Idiists’ag, gosh’ii: [I hear, I see]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Kih nagodenk’áá: Kih diltli’. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Mary hik’e tl’oh bilgo. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Nnee kéhgo onltag bigonláa [Learn to count in Apache]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Shíí nnee nshlii. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Shíígo shil nlt’éé. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Shiyo’ tséé dotl’izhi alzáa [Mary's peridot necklace]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Stephen hik’e na’inniihí [Stephen and the airplane]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Tahbiyú [Early morning]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Tl’oh tú yidlaa. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). Tulgayé ligayi: Tulagayé bijaa igodi [The white donkey]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). The wild animals: Itsá. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Crowder, Jack L. (1972). [Apache language readers]. San Carlos, AZ.
  • Edgerton, Faye E.; & Hill, Faith. (1958). Primer, (Vols. 1-2). Glendale, AZ.
  • Goode, Phillip. (1985). Apache language course and lesson plans for Globe High School: Grades 9-12. [Unpublished manuscript].
  • Goode, Phillip. (1996). Total physical response sentences from Asher (1982) translated into San Carlos Apache, with commentary by Willem J. de Reuse. [Unpublished manuscript].
  • Hunn, E. S. (n.d). Western Apache Language and Culture (Book). Ethnohistory, 38(4), 463.* Johnson, James B.; Lavender, Bonnie; Malone, Beverley; Bead, Christina; & Clawson, Curry. (n.d.). Yati' nakih [Two languages]: Kindergarten bi naltsoos choh [Kindergarten's big book]. Title VII Bilingual Education Program Kindergarten Curriculum Manual. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Tribe.
  • Malone, Wesley; Malone, Beverly; & Quintero, Canyon Z. (1983). New keys to reading and writing Apache, (rev. ed.). Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • Nevins, T. J., & Eleanor Nevins, M. (2013). Speaking in the mirror of the other: Dialectics of intersubjectivity and temporality in Western Apache discourse. Language And Communication, 33292-306.
  • Perry, Edgar. (1989). Apache picture dictionary. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • Perry, Edgar; & Quintero, Canyon Z. (1972). Now try reading these. Fort Apache, AZ: Apache Culture Center.
  • Quintero, Canyon Z. (1972). Keys to reading Apache. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • de Reuse, Willem J. (2006). A practical grammar of the San Carlos Apache language. LINCOM Studies in Native American Linguistics 51. LINCOM. ISBN 3-89586-861-2.
  • de Reuse, Willem J.; & Adley-SantaMaria, Bernadette. (1996). Ndee biyáti’ bígoch’il’aah [Learning Apache]: An introductory textbook in the White Mountain Apache language for non-speakers. [Unpublished manuscript].
  • de Reuse, Willem J.; & Goode, Phillip. (1996). Nnee biyati’ yánlti’go [Speak Apache]: An introductory textbook in the San Carlos Apache language for non-speakers. [Unpublished manuscript].
  • Steele, Lola; Smith, Dorothy; & Bunney, Curtis. (n.d.). Nnee Díí Kehgo Daagolii’ ni’ [Apaches used to live this way]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Steele, Lola; Smith, Dorothy; & Bunney, Curtis. (n.d.). Oshíí bígonsh’aa [I learn to read]. San Carlos, AZ: Rice School District No. 20.
  • Uplegger, Francis J. (1966). Red man and white man in harmony: Songs in Apache and English. San Carlos, AZ: Lutheran Indian Mission.
  • White Mountain Apache Culture Center. (1972). Apache months. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • White Mountain Apache Culture Center. (1972). Apache plants. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • White Mountain Apache Culture Center. (1972). Keys to reading and writing Apache. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • White Mountain Apache Culture Center. (1972). Writing Apache. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • Wycliffe Bible Translators. (1900). Apache reader.
Literature and dictionaries
  • Basso, K. H. (1968). The Western Apache Classificatory Verb System: A Formal Analysis. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, (3). 252.
  • Basso, K. H., & Anderson, N. (1973). A Western Apache Writing System: The Symbols of Silas John. Science, (4090). 1013.
  • Basso, Keith H. (1979). Portraits of "the whiteman": Linguistic play and cultural symbols among the Western Apache. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29593-9.
  • Basso, Keith H. (1990). Western Apache language and culture: Essays in linguistic anthropology. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0-8165-1323-6.
  • Basso, Keith H. (1996). Wisdom sits in places: Landscape and language among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-1724-3.
  • Bourke, John G.; & Condie, Carole J. (1990). Vocabulary of the Apache or ’Indé language of Arizona and New Mexico. Occasional publications in anthropology: Linguistic series, (no. 7). Greenley, CO: Museum of Anthropology, University of Northern Colorado.
  • Bray, Dorothy, & White Mountain Apache Tribe. (1998). Western Apache-English dictionary: A community-generated bilingual dictionary. Tempe, AZ: Bilingual Press. ISBN 0-927534-79-7.
  • De Reuse, W. J. (1997). Issues in Language Textbook Development: The Case of Western Apache.
  • Goddard, Pliny E. (1918). Myths and tales from the San Carlos Apache. Anthropological papers of the American Museum of Natural History, (Vol. 24, Part 1). New York: The American Museum of Natural History.
  • Goddard, Pliny E. (1919). Myths and tales from the White Mountain Apache. Anthropological papers of the American Museum of Natural History, (Vol. 24, Part 2). New York: The American Museum of Natural History.
  • Goddard, Pliny E. (1919). San Carlos Apache texts. Anthropological papers of the American Museum of Natural History, (Vol. 24, Part 3). New York: The American Museum of Natural History.
  • Goddard, Pliny E. (1920). White Mountain Apache texts. Anthropological papers of the American Museum of Natural History, (Vol. 24, Part 4). New York: The American Museum of Natural History.
  • Gordon, Matthew; Potter, Brian; Dawson, John; de Reuse, Willem; Ladefoged, Peter (2001). "Phonetic structures of Western Apache". International Journal of American Linguistics. 67 (4): 415–481. 
  • Perry, Edgar. (1972). Western Apache dictionary. Fort Apache, AZ: White Mountain Apache Culture Center.
  • Plocher, Johannes & Eilers, Herman. (1893). English Apache dictionary: Containing a vocabulary of the San Carlos Apache, also some White Mount. terms, and many sentences illustrating the use of the words. [Unpublished manuscript].
  • Uplegger, Francis J. (1899–1964). Papers. [unpublished material].
  • Uplegger, Francis J. (1900). Apache dictionary. [unpublished].
  • Uplegger, Francis J. (1911). My life, how should it proceed. San Carlos, AZ [?]: Evangelical Lutheran Mission.
  • Uplegger, Francis J. (1940–1960). Apache language songbook. [unpublished archival material].

External links

  • Simplied Apache Pronunciation at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009)
  • Issues in Language Textbook Development: The Case of Western Apache
  • White Mountain Apache Language: Issues in Language Shift, Textbook Development, and Native Speaker-University Collaboration
  • Western Apache vocabulary word list
  • Western Apache alphabet and pronunciation
  • Apache Indian Language
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