LINGUIST List 3.1009

Tue 22 Dec 1992

Sum: Seminole

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  1. Allan C. Wechsler, Sum: Seminole

Message 1: Sum: Seminole

Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1992 14:56-050Sum: Seminole
From: Allan C. Wechsler <ACWRIVERSIDE.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: Sum: Seminole

Thanks to all who responded to my query about the languages of Florida.
You are listed at the end as references.

The name "Seminole" does not correspond to a valid genetic group, but to
two related peoples who fled south into Florida in the 17c, escaping
pressure from European settlers and the Creek war. One group spoke a
dialect of Creek, the other a related language called Mikasuki [2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 8].

The name itself comes from the Spanish "Cimarron" ("runaway, renegade")
[1, 7].

The Seminoles displaced the original languages of Florida, Timucua in
the north and Calusa in the south [2, 4, 5, 6]. Both languages are now
extinct. Julian Granberry is the expert on what we have of Timucua;
it's his opinion that Timucua was Arawakan, but there isn't enough data
to make a conjecture about the affinities of Calusa. There may be some
descendents of the Calusa in Cuba and Mexico (relocated there by the
Spaniards) but they are now culturally and linguistically
indistinguishable from the surrounding population [5].

Information is available from the SIL _ETHNOLOGUE Languages of the
World_, ed. Barbara Grimes; contact
 International Linguistics Center
 Academic Bookstore
 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.
 Dallas, TX 75236

 (214) 709-2404
for ordering information [3, 7].

One respondent [4] considered Ruhlen's GLW-1 a dubious source of
information.

Another language of N. Florida was Apalachee, also Muskogean, and now
extinct [4].

One respondent called Seminole Creek "Cow Creek" [5].

Mikasuki is doing well as a language, but Seminole Creek is failing,
with no young speakers [5].

One respondent [6] wanted to know how Ruhlen classified the languages in
question. It's unclear what authority he follows on Muskogean, but it's
probably Mary Haas. Muskogean has two branches, a Western branch
containing only Choctaw (and, presumably, Chickasaw, although Ruhlen
does not mention it as a separate language -- this may contribute to
[4]'s opinion of Ruhlen), and an Eastern branch. Under Eastern he lists
five languages: Mikasuki, Muskogee = Creek, Apalachee (extinct),
Alabama, and Koasati; the last two form a genetic group of their own,
called Alabama-Koasati.

Muskogean
 Western
 Choctaw
 Eastern
 Mikasuki
 Muskogee = Creek
 Apalachee +
 Alabama-Koasati
 Alabama
 Koasati

Ruhlen follows Greenberg in assigning Timucua to Paezan.

[1] Bruce Nevin BNBBN.COM
[2] George Aaron Broadwell AA2429UOKMVSA.BACKBONE.UOKNOR.EDU
[3] Steve Chandler STEVEROYIDUT1.CSRV.UIDAHO.EDU
[4] Pam Munro IBENAJYMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU
[5] Jack Martin JMARTINRICEVM1.RICE.EDU
[6] John E. Koontz KOONTZALPHA.BLDR.NIST.GOV
[7] Roland Walker ROLAND.WALKERA1.DALLAS.SIL.ORG
[8] Mike Maxwell MAXWELLJAARS.SIL.ORG
 citing Dave West
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