Miami is a member of the Algic branch of the Algonquian family. It was once spoken in parts of Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio, and in parts of Oklahoma until the 1962. Since the 1990s efforts have been made, particularly by the Myaamia Project at the Miami University in Ohio, to revive the Miami language and culture.
Miami is also known as Illinois, Maumee, Miami-Illinois, Myaamia, Twatwa, Twightwee or Wea. It is the language of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, both of which are registered tribes.
The language was first documented by French missionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries. Jacques Gravier, a Jesuit missionary, produced a dictionary of Miami in the early 18th century, and this has provided a lot of useful information for people working on the revival of the language.
An MA linguistics thesis on the syntax of the Miami language by David Costas was the first coherent analytical account of the language. Costas also learned the language himself and taught it to his wife and children, the youngest of whom grew up with Miami as their first language. Two other families did the same thing, and the language is taught at Miami University.
Another person who has played a prominent role in the revival of the Miami language is Daryl Baldwin, a member of the Miami Tribe who saw the importance of keeping his culture and language alive. He started a summer camp where he taught children Miami language and culture with the aim of sparking their interest in the language and creating a group of people who where willing to help revive the language and culture. He has raised his children with Miami as their first language, worked with Costas to compile the information for his thesis, and is the co-author of the Miami-Peoria Dictionary and the Director of the Myaamia Project.
There are currently (in 2016) around 500 people who use Miami regularly, even if they only know a few words.
Information about Miami pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel.
aya eeweemilaani. tipeewe iišiteehiaanki keewiihkawiaanki. waahpyaayani niikinaanki aacimwaapiikonki. kiiwaapilo namehka. nataweelintamane ayoolhka neepwaayani, wiihkamilo.
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Information about the Miami language and alphabet
Video about the Miami language revival
Page last modified: 14.11.22
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