Creek language
Overview
 
The Creek language, also known as Muskogee or Muscogee (Mvskoke in Creek), is a Muskogean language spoken by Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 people primarily in the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

s of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

.

Historically the language was spoken by various constituent groups of the Muscogee in what are now Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. It is related to, but not mutually intelligible with, the other primary language of the Muscogee confederacy, Hitchiti
Hitchiti
The Hitchiti were a Muskogean-speaking tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, in west Georgia. They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki; both tribes were part of the loose...

/Miccosukee, as well as other Muskogean languages.

Muscogee settlers first brought the Creek and Miccosukee languages to Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in the early 18th century where they would eventually became known as the Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

s.
Encyclopedia
The Creek language, also known as Muskogee or Muscogee (Mvskoke in Creek), is a Muskogean language spoken by Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 people primarily in the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

s of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

.

Historically the language was spoken by various constituent groups of the Muscogee in what are now Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. It is related to, but not mutually intelligible with, the other primary language of the Muscogee confederacy, Hitchiti
Hitchiti
The Hitchiti were a Muskogean-speaking tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, in west Georgia. They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki; both tribes were part of the loose...

/Miccosukee, as well as other Muskogean languages.

Muscogee settlers first brought the Creek and Miccosukee languages to Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in the early 18th century where they would eventually became known as the Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

s. In the 19th century, however, the US government forced most Muscogees and Seminoles to relocate west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, with many eventually settling in Oklahoma.

Today, the language is spoken by around 4,000 people, the majority of whom live in Oklahoma and are members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Muscogee (Creek) Nation
The Muscogee Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Muscogee people, also known as the Creek, based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. They are regarded as one of the historical Five Civilized Tribes and call themselves Este Mvskokvlke...

 and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It is the largest of the three federally recognized Seminole organizations, which include the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida...

. Around 200 are Florida Seminoles. Seminole usage of the language constitutes distinct dialects.

Phonology

The phoneme inventory of Creek consists of thirteen consonant
Consonant
In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the tongue; , pronounced in the throat; and ,...

s and three vowel qualities, which distinguish length
Vowel length
In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may etymologically be one, such as in Australian English. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, vowel length is an important phonemic factor in...

 and nasalization
Nasalization
In phonetics, nasalization is the production of a sound while the velum is lowered, so that some air escapes through the nose during the production of the sound by the mouth...

. In addition, Creek also makes use of the gemination
Gemination
In phonetics, gemination happens when a spoken consonant is pronounced for an audibly longer period of time than a short consonant. Gemination is distinct from stress and may appear independently of it....

 of plosives, fricatives
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

 and sonorants.

Consonants

The consonant phonemes of Creek are:
  Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Plosive
Stop consonant
In phonetics, a plosive, also known as an occlusive or an oral stop, is a stop consonant in which the vocal tract is blocked so that all airflow ceases. The occlusion may be done with the tongue , lips , and &...

p
Voiceless bilabial plosive
The voiceless bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p...

t
Voiceless alveolar plosive
The voiceless alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar plosives is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t...

t͡ʃ k
Voiceless velar plosive
The voiceless velar stop or voiceless velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is k....

Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

Central
Central consonant
A central or medial consonant is a consonant sound that is produced when air flows across the center of the mouth over the tongue. The class contrasts with lateral consonants, in which air flows over the sides of the tongue rather than down its center....

f
Voiceless labiodental fricative
The voiceless labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is .-Features:Features of the voiceless labiodental fricative:...

s
Voiceless alveolar fricative
The voiceless alveolar sibilant is a common consonant sound in spoken languages. It is the sound in English words such as sea and pass, and is represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet as . It has a characteristic high-pitched, highly perceptible hissing sound...

h
Voiceless glottal fricative
The voiceless glottal transition, commonly called a "fricative", is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant...

Lateral
Lateral consonant
A lateral is an el-like consonant, in which airstream proceeds along the sides of the tongue, but is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth....

ɬ
Voiceless alveolar lateral fricative
The voiceless alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar fricatives is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is K...

Sonorants Nasals
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

m
Bilabial nasal
The bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is m...

n
Alveolar nasal
The alveolar nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in numerous spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar nasals is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is n....

Glide
Semivowel
In phonetics and phonology, a semivowel is a sound, such as English or , that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary rather than as the nucleus of a syllable.-Classification:...

w j
Palatal approximant
The palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is '...

Lateral
Lateral consonant
A lateral is an el-like consonant, in which airstream proceeds along the sides of the tongue, but is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth....

l
Alveolar lateral approximant
The alveolar lateral approximant, also known as clear l, is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.As a...


Plosives

There are four voiceless plosives in Creek: /p t t͡ʃ k/. /t͡ʃ/ is a voiceless palatal affricate that patterns as a single consonant, and therefore with the other voiceless stops. /t͡ʃ/ has an alveolar allophone
Allophone
In phonology, an allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme. For example, and are allophones for the phoneme in the English language...

 [t͡s] before /k/. The obstruent consonants /p t t͡ʃ k/ are voiced to [b d d͡ʒ g] between sonorants and vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

s, but remain voiceless at the end of a syllable
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

..

Between instances of [o], or after [o] at the end of a syllable, the velar /k/ is realized as the uvular [q] or ]. For example:
in-coko   ‘his or her house’   [ɪnd͡ʒʊɢo]
tokná:wa   ‘money’   [toqnɑːwǝ]

Fricatives

There are four voiceless fricatives in Creek: /f s ɬ h/. /f/ can be realized as either labiodental ([f]) or bilabial ([ɸ] in place of articulation
Place of articulation
In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation of a consonant is the point of contact where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an articulatory gesture, an active articulator , and a passive location...

. Predominantly among speakers in Florida, the articulation of /s/ is more laminal, resulting in /s/ being realized as [ʃ], though for most speakers /s/ is a voiceless apico-alveolar fricative [s].

Like /k/, the glottal /h/ is sometimes realized as the uvular ] when proceeded by [o] or when syllable-final. For example:
oh-leyk-itá   ‘chair’   [oχlejɡɪdǝ]
oholopi:   ‘year’   [oχɬolobiː]

Sonorants

The sonorants in Creek consist of two nasals (/m/ and /n/), two semivowel
Semivowel
In phonetics and phonology, a semivowel is a sound, such as English or , that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary rather than as the nucleus of a syllable.-Classification:...

s (/w/ and /j/), and the lateral /l/, all voiced
Voice (phonetics)
Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics and phonology to characterize speech sounds, with sounds described as either voiceless or voiced. The term, however, is used to refer to two separate concepts. Voicing can refer to the articulatory process in which the vocal cords vibrate...

. Nasal assimilation occurs in Creek: /n/ becomes
Velar nasal
The velar nasal is the sound of ng in English sing. It is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is N....

] before /k/.

Sonorants are devoiced when followed by /h/ in the same syllable. This results in a single voiceless consonant. For example:
camhcá:ka   ‘bell’   [t͡ʃǝm̥t͡ʃɑːɡǝ]
akcáwhko   ‘a type of water bird’   [ɑkt͡ʃǝw̥ko]

Geminates

All plosives and fricatives in Creek can be geminated
Gemination
In phonetics, gemination happens when a spoken consonant is pronounced for an audibly longer period of time than a short consonant. Gemination is distinct from stress and may appear independently of it....

 (lengthened). Some sonorants may also be geminated, though [hh] and [mm] are less common than other sonorant geminates, especially in roots. For the majority of speakers, except for those influenced by the Alabama
Alabama language
Alabama is a Native American language, spoken by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe of Texas. It was once spoken by the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town of Oklahoma, but there are no more Alabama speakers in Oklahoma. It is a Muskogean language, and is believed to have been related to the Muklasa and...

 or Koasati
Koasati language
Koasati is a Native American language of Muskogean origin. The language is spoken by the Coushatta people, most of whom live in Allen Parish north of the town of Elton, Louisiana, though a smaller number share a reservation near Livingston, Texas, with the Alabama people...

 languages, the geminate [ww] does not occur.

Vowels

The vowel phonemes of Creek are as follows:
Front
Front vowel
A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...

Central
Central vowel
A central vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a central vowel is that the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel...

Back
Back vowel
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

Close
Close vowel
A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close vowel is that the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.This term is prescribed by the...

i iː
Close-Mid
Close-mid vowel
A close-mid vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close-mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned two-thirds of the way from a close vowel to a mid vowel...

o oː
Open
Open vowel
An open vowel is defined as a vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth. Open vowels are sometimes also called low vowels in reference to the low position of the tongue...

ɑ ɑː

There are three short vowels /i ɑ o/ and three long vowels /iː ɑː oː/. There are also the nasal vowels /ĩ ɑ̃ õ ĩː ɑ̃ː õː/ (in the linguistic orthography these are often written with an ogonek
Ogonek
The ogonek is a diacritic hook placed under the lower right corner of a vowel in the Latin alphabet used in several European and Native American languages.-Use:...

 underneath or a following superscript "n"). Most occurrences of nasal vowels are the result of nasal assimilation or the nasalizing grade, but there are some forms that show contrast between oral and nasal vowels. For example:
pó-ki   ‘our father’
opónko   ‘cutworm’

Short Vowels

The three short vowels /i ɑ o/ can be realized as the lax and centralized ([ɪ ǝ ʊ]) when a neighboring consonant is coronal
Coronal consonant
Coronal consonants are consonants articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue. Only the coronal consonants can be divided into apical , laminal , domed , or subapical , as well as a few rarer orientations, because only the front of the tongue has such...

 or in closed syllables. However, /ɑ/ will generally not centralize when followed by /h/ or /k/ in the same syllable, and /o/ will generally remain noncentral if word-final. Initial vowels can be deleted in Creek, mostly applying to the vowel /i/. This deletion will affect the pitch of the following syllable, creating a higher-than-expected pitch on the new initial syllable. Furthermore, initial vowel deletion in the case of single-morpheme, short words such as ifa ‘dog’ or icó ‘deer’ is impossible, since the shortest a Creek word can be is either a one-syllable word ending in a long vowel (fóː ‘bee’) or a two-syllable word ending with a short vowel (ací ‘corn’).

Long Vowels

There are three long vowels in Creek (/iː ɑː oː/), which are held out slightly longer than short vowels, and which are never centralized.

Long vowels are rarely followed by a sonorant in the same syllable. Therefore, when syllables are created (often from suffixation or contractions) in which a long vowel is followed by a sonorant, the vowel is shortened. For example:
in-a:m-itá   ‘to uncover, open’
in-am-k-itá   ‘to be uncovered, open’

Diphthongs

In Creek, there are three diphthongs which are generally realized as [əɪ ʊj əʊ].

Nasal Vowels

Both long and short vowels can be nasalized (cf. the distinction between acces and ącces below), though long nasal vowels are more common. Nasal vowels usually appear as a result of a contraction, as the result of a neighboring nasal consonant, or as a the result of nasalizing grade, a grammatical ablaut which indicates intensification through lengthening and nasalization of a vowel (likoth- ‘warm’ with the nasalizing grade intensifies the word to likŏ:nth-os-i: ‘nice and warm’). Nasal vowels may also appear as part of a suffix which indicates a question (o:sk-ihá:n ‘I wonder if it’s raining’).

Tones

There are three phonemic tones in Creek, which are generally unmarked, except in the linguistic orthography: high (marked in the linguistic orthography with an acute accent
Acute accent
The acute accent is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts.-Apex:An early precursor of the acute accent was the apex, used in Latin inscriptions to mark long vowels.-Greek:...

: á, etc.), low (unmarked: a, etc.), and falling (marked with a circumflex
Circumflex
The circumflex is a diacritic used in the written forms of many languages, and is also commonly used in various romanization and transcription schemes. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus —a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη...

: â, etc.).

Orthography

The traditional Creek alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

 was adopted by the tribe in the late 1800s. There are 20 letters
Letter (alphabet)
A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing, such as the Greek alphabet and its descendants. Letters compose phonemes and each phoneme represents a phone in the spoken form of the language....

.

Although it is based on the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

, some of the sounds are vastly different from those in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 — in particular those represented by c, e, i, r, and v. Here are the (approximately) equivalent sounds using familiar English words and the IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

:
Spelling Sound (IPA) English equivalent
a aː ~ a like the "a" in father
c tʃ ~ ts like the "ch" in such or the "ts" in cats
e ɪ like the "i" in hit
ē like the "ee" in seed
f f like the "f" in father
h h like the "h" in hatch
i ɛ ~ ɛj like the "ay" in day
k k like the "k" in risk
l l like the "l" in look
m m like the "m" in moon
n n like the "n" in moon
o oː ~ ʊ ~ o like the "o" in bone or the "oo" in book
p p like the "p" in sap
r ɬ a sound
Voiceless alveolar lateral fricative
The voiceless alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar fricatives is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is K...

 which does not occur in English. This is often
represented as "hl" or "tlh" in non-Creek texts. The sound
is made by blowing air around the sides of the tongue
while pronouncing English "l"; it is identical to Welsh ll
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

s s like the "s" in spot
t t like the "t" in stop
u ʊ ~ o like the "oo" in book or the "oa" in boat
v ə ~ a like the "a" in about
w w like the "w" in wet
y j like the "y" in yet


There are also three vowel sequences, whose spellings match their phonetic makeup:
Spelling Sound (IPA) English equivalent
eu similar to the exclamation "ew!". A combination of the Creek sounds represented by e and u
ue like the "oy" in boy
vo aʊ ~ əʊ like the "ow" in how

Consonants

As mentioned above, certain consonants in Creek, when appearing between two sonorants (a vowel or m, n, l, w, or y), become voiced. These are the consonants represented by p, t, k, c, and s. Thus:
  • c can sound like [dʒ], the "j" in just
  • k can sound like [ɡ], the "g" in goat
  • p can sound like [b], the "b" in boat
  • s can sound like [z], the "z" in zoo
  • t can sound like [d], the "d" in dust


In addition, certain combinations of consonants sound differently to English speakers, giving multiple possible transcriptions
Transcription (linguistics)
Transcription in the linguistic sense is the systematic representation of language in written form. The source can either be utterances or preexisting text in another writing system, although some linguists only consider the former as transcription.Transcription should not be confused with...

. The most prominent case is the 2nd person singular ending for verbs. Wiketv means "to stop"; the verb for "you are stopping" may be written in Creek as wikeckes or wiketskes. Both are pronounced the same. The -eck- transliteration is preferred by Innes (2004), while the -etsk- transliteration has been used by Martin (2000) and Loughridge (1964).

Vowel length

While vowel length in Creek is distinctive, it is somewhat inconsistently indicated in the traditional orthography. The following basic correspondences can be noted:
  • The short vowel v with the long vowel a (/a/ vs. /aː/)
  • The short vowel e with the long vowel ē (/i/ vs. /iː/)
  • The short vowel u with the long vowel o (/o/ vs. /oː/)


However, these correspondences do not always apply, and in some words, short /a/ is spelled a, long /iː/ is spelled e, and short /o/ is spelled o.

Non-standard orthography

Creek words carry distinctive tone
Tone (linguistics)
Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning—that is, to distinguish or inflect words. All verbal languages use pitch to express emotional and other paralinguistic information, and to convey emphasis, contrast, and other such features in what is called...

s, and nasalization
Nasalization
In phonetics, nasalization is the production of a sound while the velum is lowered, so that some air escapes through the nose during the production of the sound by the mouth...

 of their vowels. These features are not marked in the traditional orthography, only in dictionaries and linguistic publications. The following additional markers have been used by Martin (2000) and Innes (2004):
  • Falling tone in a syllable is shown using a circumflex
    Circumflex
    The circumflex is a diacritic used in the written forms of many languages, and is also commonly used in various romanization and transcription schemes. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus —a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη...

    . In English, falling tone is found in phrases such as "uh oh" or commands such as "stop!". In Creek, however, changing a verb such as acces ("she is putting on (a dress)") to âcces alters the meaning from one of process to one of state ("she is wearing (a dress).")
  • Nasalization of a vowel is shown with an ogonek
    Ogonek
    The ogonek is a diacritic hook placed under the lower right corner of a vowel in the Latin alphabet used in several European and Native American languages.-Use:...

     under the vowel. Changing the verb acces to ącces adds the imperfective aspect
    Imperfective aspect
    The imperfective is a grammatical aspect used to describe a situation viewed with internal structure, such as ongoing, habitual, repeated, and similar semantic roles, whether that situation occurs in the past, present, or future...

    , that is, a sense of repeated or habitual action ("she kept putting on (that same dress)").
  • The key syllable of a word is often shown with an accent mark. This is the last syllable of the word with normal tone; the following syllables are all lower in pitch.

Sentence structure

The general sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

 structure fits the pattern subject–object–verb. The subject or object may be a noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 or a noun followed by one or more adjective
Adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

s. Adverb
Adverb
An adverb is a part of speech that modifies verbs or any part of speech other than a noun . Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives , clauses, sentences, and other adverbs....

s tend to occur either at the beginning of the sentence (for time adverbs) or immediately before the verb (for manner adverbs).

Verbs

In Creek, a single verb can translate into an entire English sentence. The root infinitive
Infinitive
In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and to be, and so on are infinitives...

 form of the verb is altered for:
  • Person (of subject). Letketv = to run.
    • Letkis. = I am running.
    • Letkeckes. (or Letketskes.)= You are running.
    • Letkes. = He / She is running.
    • Plural forms can be a bit more complicated (see below).

  • Person (of direct or indirect object). This is accomplished with prefixes. Hecetv = to see.
    • Cvhēcis = I see you.
    • Cehēceckes. = You see me.
    • Hvtvm Cehēcares. = I will see you again. (Huh-Dum-Jee-He-Jaw-thes)

  • Tense. Pohetv = to hear.
    • Pohis. = I am hearing (present).
    • Pohhis. = I just heard (1st or immediate past; within a day ago).
    • Pohvhanis. = I am going to hear.
    • Pohares. = I will hear.
    • Pohiyunks. = I heard recently (2nd or middle past, within a week ago).
    • Pohimvts. = I heard (3rd or distant past, within a year ago).
    • Pohicatēs. = Long ago I heard. (4th or remote past, beyond a year ago).
    • There are at least ten more tenses, including perfect versions of the above, as well as future, indefinite, and pluperfect.

  • Mood. Wiketv = to stop.
    • Wikes. = He / She is stopping (indicative).
    • Wikvs. = Stop! (imperative)
    • Wikv-wites. = He / She may stop (potential).
    • Wike-nomat. = If he / she stops (subjunctive).
    • Wikepueces. = He / She made someone stop (causative).

  • Aspect. Kerretv = to learn.
    • Kērris. = I am learning (progressive, ongoing or in progress).
    • Kêrris. = I know (resulting state).
    • Kęrris. = I keep learning (imperfect, habitual or repeated action).
    • Kerîyis. = I just learned (action completed in the past).

  • Voice.
    • Wihkis. = I just stopped (active voice, 1st past).
    • Cvwihokes. = I was just stopped (passive voice, 1st past).

  • Negatives.
    • Wikarēs. = I will stop (positive, future tense).
    • Wikakarēs. = I will not stop (negative, future tense).

  • Questions. Hompetv = to eat; nake = what.
    • Hompeckes. = You are eating.
    • Hompeckv? = Are you eating? (expecting a yes or no answer)
    • Nake hompecka? = What are you eating? (expecting a long answer)

Verbs with irregular plurals

Some Creek verbs, especially those involving motion, have
highly irregular plurals. For example, letketv = to run,
with a singular
subject. However, tokorketv = to run of two subjects,
and pefatketv =
to run of three or more.

Stative verbs

Another entire class of Creek verbs are the stative verbs.
These verbs express no action, imply no duration, and provide
only description of a static condition. In some languages,
such as English, these are expressed as adjectives. In Creek,
the verbs behave similar to adjectives, yet are classed and
treated as verbs. However, these verbs are not altered for
the person of the subject by an affix
Affix
An affix is a morpheme that is attached to a word stem to form a new word. Affixes may be derivational, like English -ness and pre-, or inflectional, like English plural -s and past tense -ed. They are bound morphemes by definition; prefixes and suffixes may be separable affixes...

, as above;
instead, the prefix changes.

Example: Enokkē = to be sick;
enokkēs = he / she is sick;
cvnokkēs = I'm sick;
cenokkēs = you are sick.

Locative prefixes

Prefixes are also used in Creek for shades of meaning of verbs
which are expressed in English through adverbs in phrasal verbs.
For example, in English, the verb to go can be changed to
to go up, to go in, to go around, and other variations.
In Mvskoke, the same principle of shading a verb's meaning
is handled by locative prefixes:

Example: vyetv = to go (singular subjects only,
see above);
ayes = I am going;
ak-ayes = I am going (in water / in a low place / under something);
tak-ayes = I am going (on the ground);
oh-ayes = I am going (on top of something).

However, for verbs of motion, Creek also has a large selection
of verbs with specific meaning: ossetv = to go out;
ropottetv = to go though.

Possession

In some other languages, a special form of the noun,
the genitive case
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

, is used to show
possession
Possession (linguistics)
Possession, in the context of linguistics, is an asymmetric relationship between two constituents, the referent of one of which possesses the referent of the other ....

. This process is
handled in two fundamentally different ways in Creek,
depending on the nature of the noun.

Nouns in fixed relationships (inalienable possession)

A body part or family member cannot be discussed in Creek
without mentioning the possessor; it is an integrated part
of the word. A set of changeable prefixes serves this
function:
  • enke = his / her hand;
  • cvnke = my hand;
  • cenke = your hand;
  • punke = our hand.


Even if the possessor is mentioned specifically,
the prefix still must be part of the word, for example,
Toske enke = Toske's hand. This is not
redundant in Creek (e.g. "Toske's his hand").

Transferrable nouns

All other nouns are possessed through separate set
of prepositions.
  • efv = dog;
  • vm efv = my dog;
  • cem efv = your dog;
  • em efv = his / her dog;
  • pum efv = our dog.


Again, even though the construction in English would
be redundant, the proper way to form the possessive
in Creek must include the correct preposition.
For example,
Toske em efv = Toske's dog.
This is grammatically correct in Creek, unlike the
literal English translation "Toske's his dog".

Locative nouns

A final distinctive feature of Creek, tied to the
above, is the existence of locational nouns.
In English, we have prepositions to indicate location,
for example, behind, around, beside, and
so on. In Creek, these locations are actually nouns.
These are possessed just like parts of the body and
family members were above.
  • cuko = house; yopv = noun for "behind"; cuko yopv = behind the house; cvyopv = behind me; ceyopv = behind you.
  • lecv = under; eto = tree; eto lecv = under the tree.
  • tempe = near; cvtempe = near me; cetempe = near you; putempe = near us.

Examples

  • Family.
    • Erke. = Father. (Ith-Key)
    • Ecke. = Mother. (Itch-Key)
    • Pauwv. = Uncle. (Bow-wah)
    • Eckuce. = Aunt. (Itch-go-jee)
    • Puca. = Grandpa. (Boo-jah)
    • Puse. = Grandma. (Bo-see)
    • Cepane. = Boy. (Gee-bonnie)
    • Hoktuce. = Girl. (Hook-to-jee)

Language programs

The College of the Muscogee Nation
College of the Muscogee Nation
College of the Muscogee Nation is a two-year private American Indian tribal college, located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. It was founded in 2004 by the Muscogee Nation to foster "Native culture, values, language and self-determination."...

 offers a Mvskoke language certificate program. Tulsa public schools, the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a coeducational public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. the university had 29,931 students enrolled, most located at its...

 and Glenpool Library in Tulsa and the Holdenville, Okmulgee, and Tulsa Creek Indian Communities of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Muscogee (Creek) Nation
The Muscogee Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Muscogee people, also known as the Creek, based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. They are regarded as one of the historical Five Civilized Tribes and call themselves Este Mvskokvlke...

 offer Muskogee Creek language classes.

Seminole dialects

The forms of Creek used by the Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 of Oklahoma and Florida constitute separate dialects from that spoken by Muscogee people. Oklahoma Seminole speak a dialect known as Oklahoma Seminole Creek. Florida Seminole Creek is one of two languages spoken among Florida Seminoles; it is less common than the Miccosukee language.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK