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Algonquian languages

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Pre-contact distribution of Algonquian languages

The Algonquian (also Algonquin, Algonkian) languages are a subfamily of Native American languages that includes most of the languages in the Algic language family [1] The term "Algonquin" comes from the Maliseet word elakómkwik (pronounced [ɛlæˈɡomoɡwik]), "they are our relatives/allies".[2][3] Many Algonquian languages are extremely endangered today, while a number of others have already died out completely.

Speakers of Algonquian languages stretch from the east coast of North America all the way to the Rocky Mountains. The language from which all of the languages of the family come was spoken at least 3,000 years ago.


  1. The two Algic languages that are not Algonquian are Wiyot and Yurok of northwestern California). The language family was named for the Algonquin language, from which it should be carefully distinguished.
  2. Campbell (1997:401 n. 133, 136)
  3. Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 32


  • Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Goddard, Ives (1994). "The West-to-East Cline in Algonquian Dialectology." In William Cowan, ed., Papers of the 25th Algonquian Conference, pp. 187–211. Ottawa: Carleton University.
  • Mithun, Marianne (1999). The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.

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