Lakota is a language of the Siouan family spoken in the region of the
Northern Plains of America. Speakers of Lakota and the related Dakota dialect were traditionally known in English as the Sioux Indians and were a powerful and numerous component of the horse born plains culture since the mid 1700s. There are now thought to be around
20,000 speakers mainly in the states of North and South Dakota and in
Saskatchewan in Canada.
Lakota has a complex derivational and relational morphology with relational morphology centred on the verb. This shows prefixes, suffixes, infixes and reduplication. The main word classes are verb, noun, adverb, postposition and conjunction. The language is remarkable for its extensive use of adverbs and for its elaborate system of stems of circumstantial meaning. Its syntax is interesting for its use of stem truncation associated with subordination, producing participle-like words from verbs and incorporating nouns as modifiers.
Bruce Ingham is Reader in Arabic Linguistic Studies at the School of
Oriental and African Studies of London University. He has worked on
Arabic since the 1960s and begun working on Lakota in 1992. He has done field work in South Dakota and Canada and is the author of an
English-Lakota Dictionary, 2001.
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