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The Chickasaw Nation

The Chickasaw language is derived from the Muskogean family and is spoken by Chickasaw inhabitants of Southeastern Oklahoma. Only about 1,000 individuals speak it at present. It was much more popular during the eighteen and nineteen hundreds, when all tribes along the lower Mississippi knew it. A few descendants of Chickasaws who pretended to be white during the Trail of Tears reside in the original Chickasaw homelands of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Chickasaw is pronounced just how it reads and comes from the tribal name Chickasha, a man who was a famous Chickasaw leader. The Chickasaws are U.S. citizens who must follow American rules, just like those who are not Native Americans. The majority of speakers are middle-aged or older, with the children favoring English.

Chickasaw contains sixteen consonants, coming up short to English's nineteen to twenty. It's interesting in that the sentence structure always takes on a "subject object verb" form. A sentence translated to English would read "Bobby apples ate".

It is a very rhythm-based language. If a Chickasaw term is spelled using double letters, the consonant in question should be read with double length. Issi' (deer), for example, would be spoken as if there was a hyphen in between the two Ss. As for vowels, a, i, and o are dubbed the short ones out of the nine that the Chickasaw language contains.

The Chickasaw usually don't place different kinds of emphasis on the same word based on the context. English speakers tend to do this, however; "rebel" can either be reb-el or re-bel, depending on what we mean. Chickasaw was chiefly an oral speech prior to the arrival of Europeans to the Americas. As is the case with other Native American languages, there is no native writing structure as a result.

The Roman alphabet has been utilized to inscribe Chickasaw throughout the times, but there are lots of discrepancies among passages. Zero of these rare Chickasaw texts are officially published. Chickasaw women of the past were farmers, mothers, and cooks. Common food of the day included strawberries, different nuts, acorns, onions, and sassafras root tea.

The Chickasaw men of previous centuries hunted meat, built boats, and engaged in war. Both sexes could partake in a variety of arts and medicine, but only Chickasaw males could be chiefs until recently. Its possible that American mothers might have adopted the practice of carrying their babies on their backs from the Chickasaw.

The sounds of Chickasaw are mostly present in the English language, so it is fairly easy to acquire the basics of the tongue. The grammar, however, is likely to be a struggle for those interested in learning more.

Jacob Lumbroso is a world traveler and an enthusiast for foreign languages and cultures. He writes articles on history and languages and recommends various courses for learning Chickasaw.



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