Chitimacha (Sitimaxa; ISO-639:
chit1248) is a language isolate of southern Louisiana. Even though the last native speaker of the language died in 1940, the Chitimacha Tribe is undergoing active language revitalization efforts based on documentary materials collected by John R. Swanton and Morris Swadesh in the early 1900s. Today children take daily Chitimacha language classes at the tribal school. I have worked with the Chitimacha Tribe since 2008 on various language revitalization projects, including Rosetta Stone language software, a dictionary, and pedagogical materials for the classroom. I have also researched on numerous aspects of the grammar and history of the language, including the diachronic development of preverbs (2014a, 2014b, forthcoming), valency and transitivity (2016, 2017), and grammatical relations and semantic alignment (i.e. agent-patient alignment; 2014, in revision).
The name ‘Chitimacha’ has been written numerous ways over the centuries. Only in the latter half of the 20th Century, as a result of several publications by Morris Swadesh (esp. 1934, 1946), was the English name for the language standardized as ‹Chitimacha›. This fact sometimes makes it difficult to locate and recognize mentions of the Chitimacha in older documents. The following list is meant to help address this problem, by providing all known orthographic representations of the word Chitimacha before Swadesh, and their attested sources.
Chetemachas (Gallatin 1848:77)
Chetimaches (Bradford 1906)
Chitimasha (Speck 1907:294)
Choutymachas (Iberville in Margry 1880:184)
Outimachas (Iberville in Margry 1880:172)
Shyoutémacha (early French form; Gatschet 1883:150)
Sitimachas(du Poisson 1727:299-303)
Tchikĕmahá (Alibamu name; Gatschet 1883:150)
Tchitimachas (du Pratz 1758:83)
Tchoutymacha (early French form; Gatschet 1883:150)
Toutymascha (Iberville in Margry 1880:155)
Yachimichas (mentioned with the Chitimacha, but probably the same; Martin 1827:167)
The following bibliography aims to be a comprehensive list of the Chitimacha language, its grammar, and its history. It is a work in progress, and I update it whenever possible. It includes the following types of sources:
- Primary: audiovisual recordings, field notes, or firsthand accounts of the Chitimacha language
- Secondary: grammatical descriptions, dictionaries, and text collections of the language, as well as articles or other sources that include some Chitimacha data, including comparative historical studies
- Tertiary: general reference works such as encyclopedias, bibliographies, and language surveys, as well as Chitimacha data included as part of large typological or historical studies
- Minor: sources in which Chitimacha is mentioned but do not rely on data from the language
Bradford, Mary M. 1906. Letter to Grace Nicholson (Grace Nicholson Papers and Addenda, Correspondence A-B Box 1). San Marino, CA: Huntington Library.
A letter from Mary M. Bradford to Grace Nicholson concerning a set of Chitimacha baskets that Bradford was sending to Nicholson. At the end of the letter is is a list of drawings of the different patterns of basket, along with their Chitimacha name and English translation. The transcription of the Chitimacha is English-based.
The text of the letter is as follows:
"My dear Miss Nicholson,
Let me thank you for your letter and the check for $35.00 in payment of the next of twelve double weave box shape baskets, made by old Clara Darden, of the Chetimaches Indians. She is the oldest indian[?] of her her tribe being nearly 100 years old with but one eye and one tooth. So it is not often that she feels well enough to work on her baskets, and she was more than a year making this next of 12 baskets. In 1901 when I began this Indian work, Old Clara was the only woman in the tribe who could make a perfect basket. There were two or three who had learned when they were younger but had not made any baskets for years as there was no demand for them, and they knew nothing of shipping[?] them, so they no longer made any. When my friend [Hlm?] F. K.[?] Doubleday of New York offered 15.00 to be divided into three prizes for the first perfect basket made by any of the Chetimaches women or girls. I undertook to see it done, and had old Clara Darden show them what kinds of reed cane to gather then how to split the cane. (they split it with their <u>teeth</u> when I asked old Clara how she could do it with only one tooth she said her gums were so hard she split it with them.) then what roots to gather and how to make with them the red, yellow, & black dyes, then how to dye the cane, and then how to weave [things?] beautiful double & single weave baskets with their many beautiful patterns on them, all them[?], this old woman taught the young women and girls. and it is for that reason that I am so [???] that her work should be placed in one of the large museums, with her name on it and a card telling what <u>she</u> has done for her tribe that she has in teaching the young women, preserved for them a most beautiful art that is all their own, that has been handed down to them from time immemorial by their ancestors. The Indian line on the Bayou Teche, when the first white people found them with a large village, and their large tract of land which surrounded their village was granted by Spain & France, and confirmed by the U.S.A. at the "Treaty of Paris." all in recognition of their services to the colonists. I am sending you under separate cover a photograph of Clara Darden at work splitting the canes. After splitting them with her hands as she is doing in the picture, she with her teeth peels off the out side of the cane, & that is what she makes her baskets of. The photograph is [5-0??] etc. I have made out a list of I think (or nearly as I can remember) the 12 patterns on the next of baskets with their indian name and meaning. If any of these patterns are not on the baskets, make an out line of the pattern that is, and send it to me & I will send you its name and meaning.
I am very sorry you were disappointed in the large [han?pen?]. and I don't see how you could have "believed them half the size and double weave," as I wrote you giving a [non?le] sketch of their shape. and exact measurement of each. The only <u>large</u> <u>double</u> weave basket the Chetimaches make is trunk shape with canes 25in long 18in high 17in wide price 30.00. Old Clara has with another woman made two of them since I have started the work and [she made for me] [hone?] the other is sold. I hope all this will help you in selling the rest of baskets to some museums. With good wishes for your work. Very sincerely,
Mary M. Bradford (Mrs. Sidney Bradford)
Bushnell, D. I. 1917. The Chitimacha Indians of Bayou La Fourche, Louisiana. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 7(10): 301–307.
Bushnell provides a brief overview of Chitimacha culture, and one Chitimacha word (<i>gah-mail'</i> 'bowl', p. 304, although this term is suspect because Chitimacha was not known to contain an /l/ phoneme; it may however be related to <i>gah-</i> 'bite', with the pluractional <i>-ma</i>). The information comes from an interview with Abel Billiot, a Chitimacha man from the village Point-au-Chien. Bushnell also states that the Chitimacha at that time were divided into two groups - one in the west around Charenton, and another situated on Bayou La Fourche.
du Pratz, Le Page. 1757. The history of Louisiana, or of the western parts of Virginia and Carolina, Vol. 1. London.
The Chitimacha are not included in du Pratz' map, but Chapter XI (p. 130 ff.) is 'The war with the Chitimachas', but includes only a brief summary paragraph of events that preceded du Pratz' arrival in the colony.
Stouff, Emile. 1986. Chitimacha notebook: Writings of Emile Stouff, a Chitimacha Chief. Lafayette, LA: Lafayette Natural History Museum & Planetarium.
Includes the Chitimacha story of creation, a brief history of the Chitimacha, and a list of previous publications about the Chitimacha people. James Crawford reports eliciting 14 words from Emile Stouff in 1969 (Crawford 1975), but no Chitimacha data are included in this book.
A short history and anthropology of the Chitimacha people. Includes the occasional word in Chitimacha, but otherwise the language is not discussed much.
Chitimacha is noted as one of the cultures of the Southeast which used cane for blowguns (p. 177), and they also made cords from fibers and potentially Spanish moss (p. 1136). There is also evidence, from Swanton (1946), that the Chitimacha used persimmon (p. 436), the Diospyros plant (p. 436), red mulberry (p. 760). Chitimacha is also listed as the source for several terms for Florida plants (pp. 590, 1112).
Bartlett, John Russell. n.d.. Thirty numerals in several Indian languages (Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier) MS 1200). Archival manuscript. Suitland, MD: National Anthropological Archives.
Contains numerals from each of the following languages: Attacapa, Chitimacha, (H'Hana), Napa, Diegueno, Coco-Maricopa, Piro, Apache, (Coppermine), Opata, Yaqui, Seri. Copies by Gibbs.
List of numerals which includes data from Duralde's (1802) vocabulary.
Bartlett, John Russell. 1848. Chitimacha and Attacapa vocabularies and notes (Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier), Miscellaneous vocabularies of 32 different tribes MS 1627). Archival manuscript. Suitland, MD: National Anthropological Archives.
225 pages, numbered, of which 15 pages (pp. 186-201) are Chitimacha and Atakapa vocabularies and notes.
Most likely a copy of the Duralde vocabularies, and probably Gallatin’s (1848) version published in the Transactions of the American Ethnological Society.
Bernard, Shane K. 2016. Teche: A history of Louisiana's most famous bayou. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
Bernard provides an engaging history of the Bayou Teche, which is where the Chitimacha town of Charenton sits today, and where the tribe's lands were historically. As such, the Chitimacha people feature significantly in the earlier parts of the book. In the preface, Bernard also discusses possible Chitimacha origins for the name of Bayou Teche, namely that it derives from the Chitimacha word ciix 'worm'.
Bickel, Balthasar. 2008. ‘Verb agreement and epistemic marking: A typological journey from the Himalayas to the Caucasus’, in , Chomolangma, Demawend und Kasbek.
Chitimacha is presented as an example of a language that distinguishes first from non-first person, citing data from Swadesh (1946).
Booker, Karen M. 1980. Comparative Muskogean: Aspects of Proto-Muskogean verb morphology. Ph.D. dissertation. Linguistics, University of Kansas.
Booker's doctoral dissertation reconstructing aspects of Proto-Muskogean morphology. The place of Chitimacha in the Southeast area is discussed in the introduction, but otherwise the language is not mentioned.
Booker uses the following abbreviations:
- Ch. = Choctaw
- Ck. = Chickasaw
- A. = Alabama
- K. = Koasati
- H. = Hitchiti
- M. = Mikasuki
- Cr. = Creek
- S. = Seminole
Booker, Karen M. 1982. Number suppletion in North American Indian languages. Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics 7: 15–29.
Chitimacha is listed as an example of a language with suppletive verbs, and follows the general typological patterns of suppletion established by Booker based on her sample (i.e. 'die' and 'kill' are commonly suppletive, as are locative intransitives, etc.).
Brown, Cecil H. 1996. A widespread marking reversal in languages of the southeastern United States. Anthropological Linguistics 38(3): 439–460.
Across the southeastern United States, native American languages have linguistically accommodated the European-introduced peach by referring to it through the use of respective terms for the native plum. This has taken the form of marking reversals in which native words originally designating plum have shifted in reference to peach, with modified (overtly marked) 'peach' terms used to denote plum (e.g., 'little peach'= plum). Marking reversals were moti- vated throughout the region by a radical change in the relative cultural im- portance of the two referents, wherein the introduced peach surpassed the native plum in salience. The broad distribution of this nomenclatural feature is probably attributable both to diffusion and to independent development. Other widespread features involving words for introduced items are noted including a marking reversal in which the introduced pig and the native opossum are nomenclaturally linked. These lexical traits suggest the southeastern United States to be a post-contact linguistic area.
Brown notes that several terms - most especially 'plum' and 'possum' - have shifted from being the unmarked form of a pair of native vs. introduced word to the marked one in languages of the Southeast. In Chitimacha, this shift involved the change in meaning of <i>nanu</i> from 'apple' to 'persimmon', so that 'apple' is now <i>nanu qatin</i> 'large persimmon'. The data used appear to come from Gatschet (1883) and Swanton (1919).
Brown, Cecil H., Søren Wichmann & David Beck. 2013. ‘Ancient connections between Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southeast: Chitimacha-Totozoquean relatedness and Atakapa-Huastec lexical exchanges’, presented at SSILA 2013. Boston.
Presentation at the 2013 winter meeting of SSILA in Boston. The authors present data for a potential historic connection between Chitimacha and the hypothesized Totozoquean family of Brown et al. (2011).
Brown, Cecil H., Søren Wichmann & David Beck. 2014. Chitimacha: A Mesoamerican language in the Lower Mississippi Valley. International Journal of American Linguistics 80(4): 425–474.
A linguistic analysis of the Chitimacha language as it relates to the Uto-Aztecan speakers of Mesoamerican for the purposes of drawing connection s between the SOutheastern United States adn Mexico/Mesoamerica.
The authors propose a long-distance genetic relationship between Chitimacha and the hypothesized Totozoquean family (proposed in Brown et al. 2011) of Mesoamerica. The include a set of 91 proposed cognates, and point out some strutural similarities between the languages as well. Some discussion of the role of the spread of maize and its relationship to this connection is included also.
Campbell, Lyle & Terrence Kaufman. 1983. Mesoamerican historical linguistics and distant genetic relationship: Getting it straight. American Anthropologist 85: 362–372.
Campbell & Kaufman critically examine proposed distint genetic relationships involving the languages of Mesoamerica. A single Chitimacha data point is included on p. 366.
Crawford, James M. 1975. ‘The phonological sequence ya in words pertaining to the mouth’, in Crawford, James M. (ed.), Studies in Southeastern Indian languages. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
Crawford notes that numerous Native American languages contain the phonological sequence <i>ya</i>, with a meaning pertaining to 'mouth'. He includes the Chitimacha word <i>yak-</i> 'weep, cry, mew' in his data (p. 271).
Densmore, Frances. 1943. A search for songs among the Chitimacha Indians in Louisiana. Anthropological Papers 19: 1–16.
Densmore reports a personal correspondence from John Swanton that suggests that the name <i>Chitimacha</i> may be derived from the name of Grand Lake, which is <i>Xeyti</i> in the language. Densmore summarizes her fieldwork briefly. She visited Charenton in 1933 and worked with Chief Benjamin Paul, who she says was 64 at the time. Chief Paul's wife, Mrs. Christine Paul, and his niece, Mrs. Delphine Ducloux, also assisted. None of the people Densmore interviewed were able to recall any Chitimacha songs, but she did record a number of traditions and stories (in English). The most widely distributed pictures of Chief Paul and Mrs. Ducloux are from photographs Densmore took on this trip and published accompanying this article.
Drechsel, Emanuel J. 1996. An integrated vocabulary of Mobilian Jargon, a Native American pidgin of the Mississippi Valley. Anthropological Linguistics 38(2): 248–354.
This vocabulary offers a substantial lexical inventory of Mobilian Jargon, a Muskogean-based pidgin of the lower Mississippi River valley, and includes some 1,250 entries plus comparative data of sources, drawn both from memory fieldwork with the pidgin's last speakers and from philological re- search. Allowing for idiosyncrasies of early spelling conventions, the historical evidence demonstrates not only remarkable consistency with modern record- ings of Mobilian Jargon and with comparative data for related source lan- guages, but also the feasibility of systematic philological reconstructions or reconstitutions by triangulation. The vocabulary shows considerable lexical richness with a diversity of semantic domains, confirming multiple usages and manifold social contexts for the pidgin, as indicated by historical and ethno- graphic data. Its lexicon further reveals substantial etymological variation, re- flecting contributions from the speakers' diverse first languages, and lends support to a multilectal interpretation of Mobilian Jargon, including the lingua franca Creek of colonial Alabama and Georgia.
Drechsel provides Chitimacha etymologies for several of the vocabulary items in Mobilian Jargon.
Brightman, Robert A. 2004. ‘Chitimacha’, in Fogelson, Raymond D. (ed.), Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 14: Southeast. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Brightman provides an overview of Chitimacha history, language, and culture. Includes a list of known Chitimacha villages, their names, and English translations (pp. 642-644), with an accompanying map.
Granberry, Julian. 2008. Modern Chitimacha (Sitimaxa) (Languages of the World / Materials 438). Munich: LINCOM Europa.
A 100-page grammar sketch of Chitimacha. The book has numerous factual errors and mistakes in analysis, and should not be considered a reliable resource.
Granberry, Julian. 2010. Speaking Sitimaxa (Chitimacha): A learner's grammar and reader, Vol. 3: A learner's dictionary (LINCOM Language Coursebooks 12). Munich: LINCOM Europa.
An extremely thorough dictionary of Chitimacha based on archival sources, with additional neologisms coined by the Chitimacha language revitalization program included as well. The book has numerous typos and erroneous analyses, however, and should not be considered a reliable source. It is mostly useful for looking up page numbers in the original source material.
Greenberg, Joseph H. & Morris Swadesh. 1953. Jicaque as a Hokan language. International Journal of American Linguistics 19(3): 216–222.
A number of Chitimacha cognates are included as part of the proposed Hokan-Siouan macro-family.
Haas discusses Chitimacha in the context of defining the notion of a language isolate. She also mentions that Chitimacha is one of the languages of the Southeast that has positional auxiliary verbs.
Hockett, Charles F. 1955. A manual of phonology (International Journal of American Linguistics Memoir 11). Baltimore: Waverly Press.
Chitimacha is mentioned multiple times as an example of different types of phonological inventories or features. The data come from Swadesh (1934; 1946).
Chitimacha is mentioned a handful of times in the text, but only in passing.
Latham, Robert Gordon. 1845. Miscellaneous contributions to the ethnography of North America. Transactions of the Philological Society 2(28): 31–50.
Chitimacha vocabulary are included on pp. 44, 46.
Latham, Robert Gordon. 1860. Opuscula: Essays chiefly philological and ethnographical. London: Williams & Norgate.
Chitimacha vocabulary items appear starting on p. 292.
Swadesh, Morris. 1946. ‘Chitimacha’, in Osgood, Cornelius (ed.), Linguistic structures of Native America (Publications in Anthropology 6). New York: Viking Fund.
This is the only grammatical sketch of Chitimacha ever published by Swadesh, and as such it is widely cited (though see Swadesh (1933, 1944) for detailed descriptions of Chitimacha phonetics and auxiliaries). It provides very brief descriptions of Chitimacha phonology and morphosyntax, and numerous examples.
Vater, Johann Severin. 1820. Analekten der Sprachenkunde [Analects of linguistics]. Leipzig.
Includes the Chitimacha vocabulary recorded at Attakapas Post in 1802.
Bernard, Shane K. 2013. ‘A snake, a worm, and a dead end: In search of the meaning of "Teche"’. Bayou Teche Dispatches. Accessible at: http://bayoutechedispatches.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-snake-worm-and-dead-end-in-search-of.html.
Bernard describes his investigations into the origin of the word Teche, which he ultimately summarizes in his 2016 book, <cite>Teche: A history of Louisiana's most famous bayou</cite>.
Baerman, Matthew. 2005. ‘Typology and the formal modelling of syncretism’, in Booij, Geert & Jaap van Marle (eds.), Yearbook of morphology 2004. Dordrecht: Springer.
Chitimacha is mentioned as an example of a syncretism between 2nd and 3rd person, as part of a typological survey of syncretism.
Booker, Karen M. 1991. Languages of the aboriginal Southeast: An annotated bibliography (Native American Bibliography Series 15). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.
A thorough bibliography of the Southeast U.S., with numerous references to works about Chitimacha.
Brain, Jeffrey P. 1979. An historical and archaeological bibliography of the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMS Bulletin No. 4). Cambridge, MA: Lower Mississippi Survey, Peabody Musuem.
An extensive bibliography of sources on the Lower Mississippi Valley, at least twenty-some of which relate to Chitimacha directly.
Brown, Cecil H. 1998. Spanish loanwords in languages of the Southeastern United States. International Journal of American Linguistics 64(2): 148–167.
Relying on Gatschet's (1883) description of the Chitimacha, Brown finds just one Spanish loan in Chitimacha, <i>kaanux</i> (Gatschet: <i>ka'nush</i>) 'Frenchman', which actually derives from the Spanish word <i>Mexicano</i> 'Mexican' according to Chafe (1983). Thus the only loanword that Brown found in Chitimacha was actually borrowed from the northwest rather than the east, as most borrowings in the region were. Brown also notes that the term <i>kahpi</i> 'coffee' is borrowed into Chitimacha, but states that the origin is uncertain between English, Spanish, and French.
Brown, Cecil H. 1999. Lexical acculturation in Native American languages (Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics 20). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown summarizes his earlier work (pp. 130, 143) from Brown (1998) and Witkowski & Brown (1983), both of which include small amounts of data from Chitimacha.
Brown, Cecil H., David Beck, Grzegorz Kondrak, James K. Watters & Søren Wichmann. 2011. Totozoquean. International Journal of American Linguistics 77(3): 323–372.
This article does not mention Chitimacha, but is used as the basis for a potential Chitimacha connection with Mesoamerican in Brown, Wichmann, & Beck (2014).
Campbell, Lyle & Marianne Mithun (eds.). 1979. The Languages of Native America: Historical and comparative assessment. Austin: University of Texas Press.
A one-paragraph description of previous work on the Chitimacha language is provided on p. 312. Proposed relationships including Chitimacha are mentioned in passing throughout the book, but none discuss Chitimacha in detail.
Chafe, Wallace L. 1962. Estimates regarding the present speakers of North American Indian languages. International Journal of American Linguistics 28(3): 162–171.
Chafe estimates that Chitimacha has fewer than 10 speakers, all over 50. However, the last fluent speaker, Mrs. Delphine Ducloux, passed away two decades prior, in 1940 (though Crawford (1975) was still able to record 14 words from Chief Emile Stouff in 1969).
Jackson, Jason Baird, Raymond D. Fogelson & William C Sturtevant. 2004. ‘History of ethnological and linguistic research’, in Fogelson, Raymond D. (ed.), Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 14: Southeast. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
The authors review the history of ethnographic and linguistic research on the languages and cultures of the U.S. Southeast. Chitimacha is mentioned several times, listing the various ethnographers who worked with the tribe. The authors also note that cane basketry had achieved the form of high art among the Chitimacha.
Gleason, Henry Allan. 1955. An introduction to descriptive linguistics. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Chitimacha is mentioned as a member of the Tunican linguistic family (p. 475).
Greenberg's provocative work claiming that all languages of the Americas except for Dene and Inuit are genetically related in a broad family he calls Amerind. Data from Chitimacha are used for his reconstructions. Chitimacha is placed within the Tunican family (along with Tunica and Atakapa), under the Hokan-Siouan macro-family. The Chitimacha data appear primarily on pp. 144-162. Chitimacha data are from Haas (1956, 1958).
Haas, Mary R. 1971. ‘Southeastern Indian linguistics’, in Hudson, Charles (ed.), Red, white, and black: Symposium on Indians in the Old South (Southern Anthropological Society Proceedings 5). Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
A brief survey of the history of Southeastern linguistics, in particular the previous attempts at classification and reconstruction. She mentions that Boas was strongly inclined to document especially the isolates of the Southeast, in the face of the prevailing trend of the time that attempted to lump all these languages into larger families, and thus see the individual languages as of perhaps of less interest. As such, Boas sent Swadesh to document Chitimacha.
Kroeber, A. L. 1939. Cultural and natural areas of Native North America. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Kroeber defines the Southeast U.S. as a culture area which includes Chitimacha (pp. 63-64). He provides a density figure for Chitimacha of 32 people per hundred kilometers squared, seemingly based on Mooney's (1928) population estimates.
Nicklas, T. Dale. 1994. ‘Linguistic provinces of the Southeast at the time of Columbus’, in Kwachka, Patricia B. (ed.), Perspectives on the Southeast: Linguistics, archaeology, and ethnohistory. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
Nicklas briefly mentions the Chitimacha in his overview of the languages of the Southeast.
Lyovin, Anatole V. 1997. An introduction to the languages of the world. New York.
A 2-sentence entry on Chitimacha is on p. 315: "The Chitimacha language is now extinct. There are about 300 Chitimacha Indians living in southern Louisiana."
Powell, John Wesley. 1891. ‘Indian linguistic families of America north of Mexico’, in , Seventh annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1885-'86. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
An entry for the 'Chitimachan' linguistic family is given on pp. 66-67. Powell lists the known spellings of Chitimacha, gives Gatschet's 'cooking pots' etymology. He notes that Du Pratz thought the Chitimacha related to the Taensa, but that Gallatin disproved this theory by examining the Duralde vocabulary. He also cites Gatschet's work with the tribe in 1881.
Read, William A. 2008. Louisiana place names of Indian origin: A collection of words. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.
Read provides one place names which he believes is Chitimacha in origin - <i>Natchez</i>, possibly from <i>nakx qasi</i> 'warrior' (p. 44).
Swanton, John R. 1952. The Indian tribes of North America (Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Swanton includes a section on Chitimacha on pp. 202-204. This is a more concise summary of his earlier description of the Chitimacha in his 1911 <i>Indian tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley</i>.
Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2000. Classifiers: A typology of noun categorization devices (Oxford Studies in Typology & Linguistic Theory). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Almost all languages have some grammatical means for categorizing nouns. This book provides a comprehensive and original analysis of noun categorization devices all over the world. It will interest typologists, those working in the fields of morphosyntactic variation and lexical semantics, as well as anthropologists and all other scholars interested in the mechanisms of human cognition.
Following Campbell (1997:342), Aikhenvald analyses Chitimacha as having a set of "suppletive classificatory verbs" which alternate on the basis of position, orientation, or stance in space.
Amberber, Mengistu & Peter Collins. 2002. Language universals and variation (Perspectives on Cognitive Science). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Data from Swadesh (1946:318) is used to illustrate that Chitimacha forms causatives of 'eat' and 'drink' (verbs of ingestion) via suppletion.
Aoki lists Chitimacha as an example of a language with glottalized continuants, which he says are rare crosslinguistically.
Austin, Peter K. & Julia Sallabank (eds.). 2011. The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages (Cambridge Handbooks in Language & Linguistics). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
It is generally agreed that about 7,000 languages are spoken across the world today and at least half may no longer be spoken by the end of this century. This state-of-the-art Handbook examines the reasons behind this dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why it matters, and what can be done to document and support endangered languages. The volume is relevant not only to researchers in language endangerment, language shift and language death, but to anyone interested in the languages and cultures of the world. It is accessible both to specialists and non-specialists: researchers will find cutting-edge contributions from acknowledged experts in their fields, while students, activists and other interested readers will find a wealth of readable yet thorough and up-to-date information.
Swadesh (1934, 1946) is cited as stating that Chitimacha allows for free variation between glottalized and unglottalized consonants (p. 112, 114), and the analysis here is that this is a case of loss of phonological contrast due to language obsolescence.
Baerman, Matthew, Dunstan Brown & Greville G. Corbett (eds.). 2005. The syntax-morphology interface: A study of syncretism (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 109). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Syncretism – where a single form serves two or more morphosyntactic functions – is a persistent problem at the syntax–morphology interface. It results from a ‘mismatch’ whereby the syntax of a language makes a particular distinction, but the morphology does not. This pioneering book provides the first full-length study of inflectional syncretism, pre- senting a typology of its occurrence across a wide range of languages. The implications of syncretism for the syntax–morphology interface have long been recognized: it argues either for an enriched model of feature structure (thereby preserving a direct link between function and form), or for the independence of morphological structure from syntactic structure. This book presents a compelling argument for the autonomy of morph- ology, and the resulting analysis is illustrated in a series of formal case studies within Network Morphology. It will be welcomed by all linguists interested in the relation between words and the larger units of which they are a part.
Chitimacha is listed as an example of a language with a syncretism between 2nd and 3rd person, independent of number.
Barbour, James. 1826. War Department circular (American Philosophical Society Historical and Literary Committee, American Indian Vocabulary Collection Mss.497.V85). Typed circular. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of War.
Freeman and Smith 1973. Duplicate in Broadside Collection, no. 112.
A letter circulated by the U.S. Department of War in 1826, requesting that vocabularies of Native American languages be collected wherever possible, based on the accompanying 280-word list (compiled by Thomas Jefferson). As a result of this circular, many of the earliest attested sources of Native languages of the United States consist of a Jefferson list, including the Chitimacha. Martin Duralde acquired a translation of the words on the Jefferson list into Chitimacha in 1802. Enclosed notes are a comparative vocabulary (possibly Jefferson's), as well as a list of verbal forms and sentences. The letter recommends using 'the plan proposed by Mr. Pickering' for orthography, but asks respondents to accompany their list with a key to the phonetics as well. A third enclosure is Gallatin's attempt to 'arrange the dialects' according to language. This would be his 1828[?] publication.
Blevins, Juliette. 2007. Endangered sound patterns: Three perspectives on theory and description. Language Documentation & Conservation 1(1): 1–16.
In this essay, I highlight the important role of endangered language documentation and description in the study of sound patterns. Three different perspectives are presented: a long view of phonology, from ancient to modern traditions; an areal and genetic view of sound patterns, and their relation to theory and description; and a practical perspective on the importance of research on endangered sound patterns. All perspectives converge on a common theme: the most lasting and influential contributions to the field are those with seamless boundaries between description and analysis.
Chitimacha is mentioned as a language having gone extinct.
Boas, Franz. 1932. Letter to John R. Swanton, May 13, 1932 (Franz Boas Papers: Inventory (S) Mss.B.B61.inventory12). Typed correspondence. Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society Library.
Franz Boas writes to John R. Swanton requesting any information he has regarding the Chitimacha language, for the "investigator" to use (likely meaning whichever of Boas' students he chose to send - in this case, Morris Swadesh).
> "You will remember that when we went over the question of linguistic field work last, we thought that some field work on the Gulf Coast might be desirable, and that particularly Shetimasha should be more fully investigated. Would you be good enough to let me know just what you have, and any directions that you could give to the investigator so that he may find the proper person with the least delay."
Bowern, Claire & Bethwyn Evans (eds.). 2015. The Routledge handbook of historical linguistics (Routledge Handbooks in Linguistics). London: Routledge.
The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics provides a state-of-the-art survey of this well-established ? eld of linguistics. Thanks to recent technological advances and the rise in availability of large-scale datasets, the importance of diachrony as a key to understanding human language has been reinforced. This Handbook unites an international group of scholars with expertise in a range of ? elds relating to the study of language change, and their chapters encompass: • an overview of the main current and critical trends • the methods which underpin current work • an analysis of the relationship between the diachronic and synchronic study of the topic • models of language change • examples from primary data • the importance of historical linguistics for other sub? elds of linguistics and other disciplines. Focusing on the synthesis of work on synchrony and diachrony and bringing together diverse aspects of work that relate to language change, this Handbook is essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students working in this area.
The Chitimacha-Totozoquean hypothesis of Brown, Wichmann, & Beck (2014) is noted as being the result of the more recent availability of large, reliable data (p. 65).
Brenzinger, Matthias (ed.). 2007. Language diversity endangered (Trends in Linguistics, Studies & Monographs 181). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
The present volume aims to familiarize interested readers with the extent and variation of the accelerating phenomena of language endangerment. They will find global overviews on endangered languages in chapters dealing with all major geographic regions of the world. These contribu- tions provide insights into the specific areal dynamics of language endan- germent, past and present. In addition, the authors discuss numerous key issues concerning the documentation of endangered languages. This book is aimed not only at scholars and students from the various sub-disciplines of linguistics, but also addresses issues that are relevant to educators, lan- guage planners, policy makers, language activists, historians and other re- searchers in human science. The volume comprises updated versions of presentations from the Colloquium Language Endangerment, Research and Documentation Setting Priorities for the 21st Century held in Bad Godesberg from Feb- ruary 12th17th, 2000 and sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation. Be- sides the present publication, the colloquium had a substantial impact on the genesis of the UNESCO report Language Vitality and Endanger- ment, as well as the Recommendations for Action Plans. Between 2001 and 2003, a UNESCO ad-hoc expert group on endangered languages (co-chaired by Akira Yamamoto and Matthias Brenzinger) collaborated with the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Section in Paris to draft a preliminary version.
Chitimacha is listed as one of the language isolates of North America.
Broadwell, George Aaron. 2006. A Choctaw reference grammar (Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians). Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
Broadwell mentions briefly that Haas (1951, 1952) considered the possibility that Chitimacha was distantly related to Muskogean.
Hymes, Dell H. 1976. ‘The Americanist tradition’, in Chafe, Wallace L. (ed.), American Indian languages and American linguistics. Lisse: Peter De Ridder Press.
Hymes discusses the fact that much of our work on Native American languages is dependent on the earlier research of just one or two scholars, and gives Chitimacha as an example (p. 13). Most all work on Chitimacha after 1930 is based on Swadesh's fieldwork and handful of publications about the language.
Moravcsik, Edith A. 1978. ‘Agreement’, in Greenberg, Joseph H. (ed.), Universals of human language, Vol. 4: Syntax. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
With a working definition of grammatical agreement proposed and the questions seen as pertinent to the study of agreement phenomena listed, a crosslinguistic survey of three types of agreement features - gender, number, and person - is presented on the followed by some crosslinguistic generalizations about agreeing constituents. The theory according to which agreement markers and anaphoric pronouns are grammatically derived by the same types of rules is informally shown to be predictive of some of the restrictions observed both in respect to agreement features and agreeing constituents.
Moravcsik notes that only human nouns are marked for plural in Chitimacha (but not all human nouns; p. 352). She also notes that plural pronominal markers differ both from each other and from nominal plural marking (p. 354). She cites Swadesh (1946) for both points.
Ultan, Russell. 1978. ‘Some general characteristics of interrogative systems’, in Greenberg, Joseph H. (ed.), Universals of human language, Vol. 4: Syntax. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Devices used to mark questions and certain types of tab questions in 79 random randomly chosen languages are examined in terms of features of intonation and word accent, order and segmental elements as well as parameters of expected response (yes-no, information, alternative questions) and of grammatical domain (word, sentence). Intonation in yes-no questions typically consists of a rising or higher-pitched or -stressed terminal contour, always in prepositional languages and nearly always in postpositional. The same is true of information questions but to a lesser extent. Question words generally tend to be marked by higher pitch or greater stress, particularly in SOV languages. Yes-no-question inversion results in VSO constituent order. In information-question inversion question words are almost always sentence-initial in SVO and VSO languages, while in SOV languages there is a tendency to maintain neutral declarative order. These favored orders reflect topicalization of the verb in yes-no questions and of the nonverbal constituent in information questions. Question particles are usually sentence-initial or -final, the latter especially in SOV languages. There appear to be no general restrictions on the cooccurrence of question particles with either interrogative inversion or question words. Most tag questions contain negative markers. The response to a confirmation-requesting tag question generally mirrors the affirmative or negative mode of the declarative portion of the question, thus reaffirming its truth value.
Chitimacha is listed as a language with a terminal prosodic fall in polar interrogatives (pp. 220, 234).
Herrell, David M. 1997. A description of the linguistic and cultural situation of the Houma Indians of south Louisiana. M.A. thesis. Linguistics, Louisiana State University.
The Chitimacha are mentioned as being able to trace their original homestead to within Louisiana borders (p. 1). Kniffen et al. (1987:75) state that some Chitimacha took refuge with the Houma during the 1900s (p. 7), and that French had largely replaced Chitimacha (Kniffen et al. 1987:126; cited on p. 18). Dreschel (1996) states that the Chitimacha used Mobilian Jargon (p. 11-12).
Jackson, Jason Baird & Raymond D Fogelson. 2004. ‘Introduction’, in , Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 14: Southeast. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Chitimacha, along with Atakapa, Biloxi, Timucua, and Seminole, are mentioned as having been analyzed by Wissesr (1938) as having "economic systems that were less dependent on corn and used aquatic foods to a greater degree." (p. 5) Kroeber also included Chitimacha in the Southeast culture area (p. 6). Swanton took Chitimacha basketry to be one of the highlights of regional cultural development (p. 7), and he includes them in the Southeastern area (1946).
Drechsel, Emanuel J. 1994. ‘Mobilian Jargon in the "prehistory" of Southeastern North America’, in Kwachka, Patricia B. (ed.), Perspectives on the Southeast: Linguistics, archaeology, and ethnohistory. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
Drechsel states that Chitimacha may have been an influence on Mobilian Jargon (p. 26).
Speck, Frank G. 1907. Some outlines of Aboriginal culture in the Southeastern States. American Anthropologist 9(2): 287–295.
Speck mentions that the Chitimacha are known for having practiced head-flattening (p. 294).
Swanton, John R. 1935. Notes on the cultural province of the Southeast. American Anthropologist 37(3): 373–385.
Swanton describes the cultures of the Southeast and their shared traits. He surmises that the Chitimacha population was originally more densely situated along the coast than the interior, but later moved inland (p. 376). He also states that the Chitimacha have the best basketry techniques, and treats this artistic ability as a mark of high civilization.
Wissler, Clark. 1922. The American Indian: An introduction to the anthropology of the New World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Chitimacha have greater use of aquatic foods than other cultures in the Southeast (p. 237). A summary of Gallatin and Powell's linguistic classifications is given starting on p. 304, wherein Chitimacha is listed as its own stock. The language families of the Americas are also summarized in an appendix beginning on p. 403.