Wallace Chafe

University of California, Santa Barbara

Audio* | Handout

The History and Geography of the Caddo Language

The words of my title are to be taken in several different senses. I will first summarize briefly the history of the Caddo people as it is known from available historical records, mentioning their earliest known locations and their several migrations to other areas. Turning to more linguistic matters, I will begin with some remarks on the history of research on the Caddo language. I will then illustrate a few of the ways in which the history of the language itself can be reconstructed. Then I will discuss its place within the Caddoan language family, consisting of Caddo, Pawnee, Arikara, Wichita, and Kitsai, and will touch on possible relations of that family to the Siouan and Iroquoian families. Finally I will illustrate ways in which the Caddo language has been influenced by languages spoken in adjacent areas, including the Indian languages Tonkawa, Arapaho, Osage, and Choctaw, as well as the European languages Spanish, French, and English.


*Beginning of original audio/video recording was cut off