Let's Speak Chickasaw
An important member of the Muskogean language family, Chickasaw is an endangered language spoken today by fewer than two hundred people, primarily in the Chickasaw Nation of south-central Oklahoma. Let’s Speak Chickasaw Chikashshanompa’ Kilanompoli’ is both the first textbook of the Chickasaw language and its first complete grammar. A collaboration between Pamela Munro, a linguist with an intimate knowledge of Chickasaw, and Catherine Willmond, a native speaker, this book is designed for beginners as well as intermediate students.
Twenty units cover pronunciation, word building, sentence structure, and usage. Each includes four to eight short lessons accompanied by exercises that introduce additional information about the language. Each unit also includes dialogues or readings that reflect language use by native speakers to increase students’ understanding of how words and sentences are put together. Additional “Beyond the Grammar” sections offer insight into the history of the language and fine points of usage. Extensive Chickasaw-English and English-Chickasaw vocabularies are included.
The text is written in a conversational style and defines terms in everyday language to help students master grammatical concepts. The authors developed the spelling system they use here based on earlier orthographies for Chickasaw and Choctaw. An accompanying CD provides examples of spoken Chickasaw that convey fine points of pronunciation.
Classroom-tested for more than fourteen years, Let’s Speak Chickasaw is the only complete and linguistically sound analysis of Chickasaw, treating it as a living language rather than as a cultural artifact. It is a vital resource for scholars of American Indian linguistics and a rich repository of the language and culture of the Chickasaw people.
Pamela Munro is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Catherine Willmond is a native speaker of Chickasaw and was born in McMillan, Oklahoma. Munro and Willmond are coauthors of Chickasaw: An Analytical Dictionary.
408 pp — ©2009