Arnold Zwicky, 13 May 1998

having so recently declared that all the standard inventories of languages of the world list only LAKOTA/DAKOTA and not LAKOTAH or LAKHOTA, i have to partially eat my words. the april 1998 issue of the International Journal of American Linguistics (the amerindianist journal) arrived today, and it has an article by bruce ingham entitled “Demonstrative Stems in Lakhota”. so i probably should have checked with a siouanist.

matters are a bit complicated, however. ingham’s footnote 5 is about the language/dialect situation:

Lakhota is one of the five main dialects of the language more usually known in earlier days as Dakota, namely, the language of the Sioux, Assiniboine, and Stoney. The dialects were (i) that of the Teton or western Sioux (Lakhota), (ii) that of the Santee-Sisseton or Eastern Sioux and Yankton- Yanktonai or Southern Central Sioux (Dakhota), (iii) that of the Assiniboine (Nakhota), and (iv) that of the Stoney (Nakhoda)…The people call themselves variously Lakhota, Dakhota, Nakhota, or Nakhoda depending on their dialect, while the names Sioux and Assiniboine are early French renderings of names given to them by their Algonquian neighbors…

then i looked at ingham’s bibliography, only to find 11 entries (from 1893 through 1994) with the spellings Lakota/Dakota and only three (all by david rood and allan taylor) with the spelling Lakhota. you might suspect that ingham is/was a student, in some sense, of rood and/or taylor. but whatever the personal or intellectual histories of the people involved, it’s clear that the spellings Lakhota/Dakhota are respectable enough to be published in journals — in the major amerindian journal, in fact.

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