Our Language

Atakapa - the Native Tongue of the Tejas

Language of the Tejas
Atakapa was a language of the Tejas (Teyas) who were the first people of what is now known as Texas and Louisiana. We had to adapt and speak other languages and it evolved. Our language has almost disappeared, but with help it can be retained and revived. There is a project to produce the Bible in its whole entirety with our language. There needs to be a Spanish and French addition also as our people had three major influences of language and several minor ones.

Some Words Used by the Tejas:

Atakapa Word Set

English (Français) Atakapa
One (Un) Hannik
Two (Deux) Hapal
Three (Trois) Lat
Four (Quatre) Imatol
Five (Cinq) Nit
Man (Homme) Icak
Woman (Femme) Kic
Dog (Chien) Cul
Sun (Soleil) Lak
Water (Eau) Kakau

Caddo Word Set

English (Français) Caddo translaton
One (Un) Wísts'i'
Two (Deux) Bít
Three (Trois) Daháw'
Four (Quatre) Hiwí
Five (Cinq) Díssikían
Man (Homme) Shúuwi'
Woman (Femme) Náttih
Dog (Chien) Dìitsi'
Water (Eau) Kuukuh
White (Blanc) Hakáayu'
Yellow (Jaune) Hak'aykuh
Red (Rouge) Hahtinu'
Black (Noir) Hadiku'
Eat (Manger) Yáasa'
See (Voir) Báwsa'
Hear (Écouter) Wkibáwsa'
Sing (Chanter) Nayáwsa'


Studying the Language

The language itself comes from antiquity but there is a movement afoot to revive the language. Today there are very few living Atakapa speakers. The following are two examples of published research material both of which give a comprehensive look at the language and how it is used in "everyday" conversation.

1) A Dictionary of the Atakapa Language
Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 108
Albert S. Gatschet and John R. Swanton
United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1932

Note: This dictionary was purchased through Powell's Bookstore as a used book. They can be found on the Internet at http://www.powells.com/ .

The following are a couple of pages from the dictionary. Click on the links and a window will popup displaying the page. When done viewing the page, close the pop-up window,

Atakapa Page 158,   Atakapa Page 159

2) Language of the Atakapas-Ishak Indians
A Primer (Steps one - four)
Hubert Daniel Singleton
June 1997

This is actually a text book of sorts handmade by Mr. Singleton. It's not a real work of art but it is most definitely filled with useful and  interesting content. Want to brush up on your conversational Atakapa? This is the book for you. Copies of this book can be purchased directly from Mr. Singleton. Requesting all four primers of Atakapa Language- 4 lessons at $ 100.00 usd- shipping and handling $25.00 usd- delivery is very slow- keep in mind that Hubert is in his 90’s

We have copied a single book (Step 1) of the series to show as an example of what this series contains. This is for educational purposes only. It is copyrighted material.

Step One of Atakapa Primer

This is an Acrobat PDF file. To open and read the file you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your PC. The Reader can be downloaded free from Adobe - click here

We will add more language resources later.

Step One of Atakapa Primer is out of print at this time- you may request a reserve order by contacting us.

Updated notes- soon to come will be the dictionary on CD format- here is where you can click to order such CD when available - check with us soon and often.


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