Kitsai language
The Kitsai language is an extinct member of the Caddoan language family. It was spoken in 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...

 by the Kichai tribe and became extinct in the 1930s. It is thought to be related to Wichita
Wichita language
Wichita is a moribund Caddoan language spoken in Oklahoma by the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. Only one fluent speaker remains, Doris McLemore, although in 2007 there were only three first language learners still alive...

 but more closely to Pawnee
Pawnee language
The Pawnee language is a Caddoan language spoken by some Pawnee Native Americans now located in north central Oklahoma. Their traditional historic lands were along the Platte River in what is now Nebraska. Once the language of thousands of Pawnees, today Pawnee is spoken by a shrinking number of...

. The Kichai people today are enrolled in the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Wichita, Keechi
Wichita (tribe)
The Wichita people are indigenous inhabitants of North America, who traditionally spoke the Wichita language, a Caddoan language. They have lived in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas...

, Waco
Waco tribe
The Waco tribe of the Wichita people is a Native American Southern Plains tribe that inhabited northeastern Texas. Today, they are enrolled members of the federally recognized Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, headquartered in Anadarko, Oklahoma.-History:...

 and Tawakonie), headquartered in Anadarko, Oklahoma
Anadarko, Oklahoma
Anadarko is a city in Caddo County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 6,645 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Caddo County.-Early History:Anadarko got its name when its post office was established in 1873...



Kitsai is documented in the still mostly-unpublished field notes of anthropologist Alexander Lesser, of the Hofstra University
Hofstra University
Hofstra University is a private, nonsectarian institution of higher learning located in the Village of Hempstead, New York, United States, about east of New York City: less than an hour away by train or car...

. Lesser discovered five speakers of Kitsai in 1928-9 – none of whom spoke English – but working through Wichita/English bilingual translators, he filled 41 notebooks with Kitsai material.

Kai Kai was the last fluent speaker of Kitsai. She was born around 1849 and lived eight miles north of Anadarko. Kai Kai worked with Lesser to record vocabulary and oral history and prepare a grammar of the language.

In the 1960s, Lesser shared his materials with Salvador Bucca of the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, and they published scholarly articles on Kitsai.


Some Kitsai words include the following:
  • Bear: Wari:ni
  • Corn: Kotay
  • Coyote: 'Taxko
  • Grass: A'tsi'u
  • Man: Wí:ta
  • Sweet potato: 'Ihts
  • White: Kaxtsnu
  • Wind: Ho'tonu
  • Woman: Tsakwákt

External links

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