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Caddo Verb Morphology (Studies in the Native Languages of the Americas)

  • At the time of European contact with Native communities, the Caddos (who call themselves the Hasinai) were accomplished traders living in the southern plains. Their communities occupied parts of present-day Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. It was early Spanish explorers who named a part of this territory “Texas,” borrowing the Caddo word for “friend.” Today there are approximately thirty-five hundred Caddos, most of whom live in Oklahoma. Their original language, which is related to the Plains languages—Pawnee, Arikara, Kitsai, and Wichita—is rapidly dying and is spoken only by a diminishing number of Caddo elders.

    Drawing on interviews with Caddo speakers, tapes made by earlier researchers, and written accounts, Lynette R. Melnar provides the first full-length overview and analysis of Caddo grammar. Because Caddo is an extremely complex language, Melnar’s clear description will be important to linguists in general as well as to those specializing in Native languages. Caddo Verb Morphology is an essential contribution to our understanding of the Caddos’ traditional world in particular and of Native America in general.

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