Ho-Chunk is a Siouan language spoken in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa in the USA. In Iowa it is spoken to the south of Sioux City along the east bank of the Missouri river. In Nebraska it is spoken on the Winnebago Reservation, and it is spoken in parts of central Wisconsin.
According to the 2000 census there are 1,650 Ho-chunk people, and there were 250 speakers of Ho-Chunk in 2007. In Nebraska speakers of Ho-Chunk are part of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, while in Wisconsin they are part of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin.
The language is also known as Winnebago, Hocak Wazijaci, Hochank or Hochunk. Ho-Chunk speakers call themselves Hotcągara and their language Hoocą́k hoit'éra, Hoocąk or Hocąk. The name Winnebago comes from the Sauk and Fox word Oinepegi and means something like "filthy/fetid water".
In Wisconsin and Nebraska efforts are being made to revitalize the language, including language classes, immersion daycare, and a language apprentice program. A Ho-Chunk app has also been developed to help people learn the language.
In the past Ho-Chunk was written with its own syllabic script, known as Hočąk Syllabary, which was adapted from the Fox syllabary, and is based on the Latin alphabet. There are also various was to write the language with the Latin alphabet. The one shown below was adopted as the official writing system of the Ho-Chunk Nation in July 1994.
Information about the Ho-Chunk language
The Encyclopedia of Hotcąk Mythology
Hocak Worak - Newsletter of the Ho-Chunk Nation
The Ho-Chunk Nation (Wisconsin)
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Page last modified: 08.07.22
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