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Timucua language

Timucua language

Overview
Timucua is a language isolate
Language isolate
A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with other languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single...

 formerly spoken in northern and central 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...

 and southern 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...

 by the Timucua
Timucua
The Timucua were a Native American people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia. They were the largest indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, many leading thousands of people. The various groups of Timucua spoke several dialects of the...

 people. Timucua was the primary language used in the area at the time of Spanish arrival in Florida
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

. Linguistic
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 and archaeological studies suggest that it may have been spoken from around 2000 BC. There were nine or ten Timucua dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s, but the differences were slight, and they served mostly to delineate tribal boundaries. There is further suggestion that the Tawasa of what is now northern 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...

 may have spoken Timucua, but this is disputed.

Only nine primary sources of information about the Timucua language survive, including a Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

-translated Timucuan letter to the Spanish Crown in 1688, and two catechisms written in Timucua and Spanish by Father Gregorio de Movilla in 1635.
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Encyclopedia
Timucua is a language isolate
Language isolate
A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with other languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single...

 formerly spoken in northern and central 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...

 and southern 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...

 by the Timucua
Timucua
The Timucua were a Native American people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia. They were the largest indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, many leading thousands of people. The various groups of Timucua spoke several dialects of the...

 people. Timucua was the primary language used in the area at the time of Spanish arrival in Florida
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

. Linguistic
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 and archaeological studies suggest that it may have been spoken from around 2000 BC. There were nine or ten Timucua dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s, but the differences were slight, and they served mostly to delineate tribal boundaries. There is further suggestion that the Tawasa of what is now northern 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...

 may have spoken Timucua, but this is disputed.

Only nine primary sources of information about the Timucua language survive, including a Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

-translated Timucuan letter to the Spanish Crown in 1688, and two catechisms written in Timucua and Spanish by Father Gregorio de Movilla in 1635. Most of what is known of the language, however, comes from the works of Father Francisco Pareja
Francisco Pareja
Francisco Pareja was a Spanish Franciscan missionary in Spanish Florida. His primary importance was as a linguist: he developed a writing system for the American Indian Timucua language. In 1612 he published the first book in an indigenous language of North America, a catechism in Spanish and...

, a Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 missionary who came to St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United...

 in 1595. He served the Timucua for thirty-one years, and wrote several Spanish-Timucua catechisms, as well as a grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 of the Timucua language.

In 1763, the very few remaining Timucua speakers were relocated to Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, near Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

. The group is now extinct
Language death
In linguistics, language death is a process that affects speech communities where the level of linguistic competence that speakers possess of a given language variety is decreased, eventually resulting in no native and/or fluent speakers of the variety...

.

Linguistic relations


Timucua is anomalous in that it is not genetically related to any of the languages spoken in North America, nor does it even show evidence of large amounts of lexical borrowings from them. Relations have been proposed with Muskogean
Muskogean languages
Muskogean is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean...

, Algonquian
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

, Cariban
Cariban languages
The Cariban languages are an indigenous language family of South America. They are widespread across northernmost South America, from the mouth of the Amazon River to the Colombian Andes, but also appear in central Brazil. Cariban languages are relatively closely related, and number two to three...

, Siouan
Siouan languages
The Western Siouan languages, also called Siouan proper or simply Siouan, are a Native American language family of North America, and the second largest indigenous language family in North America, after Algonquian...

, Arawakan
Arawakan languages
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean....

, and Chibchan languages
Chibchan languages
The Chibchan languages make up a language family indigenous to the Isthmo-Colombian area, which extends from eastern Honduras to northern Colombia and includes populations of these countries as well as Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama...

. None of these proposals have been convincingly demonstrated. In recent years the linguist Julian Granberry has suggested that the Timucuan language may be related to Warao
Warao
The Warao are an indigenous people inhabiting northeastern Venezuela and western Guyana. Alternate common spellings of Warao are Waroa, Guarauno, Guarao, and Warrau. The term Warao translates as "the boat people," after the Warao's lifelong and intimate connection to the water...

, a language isolate
Language isolate
A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with other languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single...

 of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. His claim is still under debate by scholars, and historical linguist Lyle Campbell
Lyle Campbell
Lyle Richard Campbell is a linguist and leading expert on indigenous American languages—especially those of Mesoamerica—and on historical linguistics in general. He also has expertise in Uralic languages. He is presently Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.-Life and...

 calls it "in no way convincing". Granberry also suggests that Timucua may rather be a “creolized
Creole language
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, making them have features of natural languages that are normally missing from...

 system” of several Native American languages, including many of those listed above, and that the Timucua may have arrived from islands in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 located off the coast of Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

.

Dialects


Father Pareja named nine or ten dialects each spoken by one or more tribes in northeast Florida and southeast 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...

:
  1. Timucua properNorthern Utina
    Northern Utina
    The Northern Utina, also known as the Timucua or simply Utina, were a Timucua tribe of northern Florida. They lived north of the Santa Fe River and east of the Suwanee River, and spoke a dialect of the Timucuan language known as "Timucua proper". They appear to have been closely associated with the...

     tribe, between the lower (northern) St. Johns River
    St. Johns River
    The St. Johns River is the longest river in the U.S. state of Florida and its most significant for commercial and recreational use. At long, it winds through or borders twelve counties, three of which are the state's largest. The drop in elevation from the headwaters to the mouth is less than ;...

     and the Suwannee River
    Suwannee River
    The Suwannee River is a major river of southern Georgia and northern Florida in the United States. It is a wild blackwater river, about long. The Suwannee River is the site of the prehistoric Suwannee Straits which separated peninsular Florida from the panhandle.-Geography:The river rises in the...

    , north of the Santa Fe River in Florida and into southern Georgia.
  2. PotanoPotano
    Potano
    The Potano tribe lived in north-central Florida at the time of first European contact. Their territory included what is now Alachua County, the northern half of Marion County and the western part of Putnam County. This territory corresponds to that of the Alachua culture, which preceded the...

    , Yustaga
    Yustaga
    Yustaga may refer to:*The Yustaga people, a branch of the Timucua that lived in northern Florida in the 16th and 17th centuries*USS Yustaga , a fleet tug laid down for the United States Navy in 1945, but converted into a submarine rescue vessel prior to completion and commissioned as USS Skylark ...

     and possibly Ocale tribes, between the Aucilla River
    Aucilla River
    The Aucilla River rises close to Thomasville, Georgia, USA, and passes through the Big Bend region of Florida, emptying into the Gulf of Mexico at Apalachee Bay. The river is long and has a drainage basin of . The Wacissa River is a tributary...

     and the Suwannee River in Florida and extending into southern Georgia, but not along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico
    Gulf of Mexico
    The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

     (with the possible exception of the mouth of the Suwannee River), between the Suwannee River and the Oklawaha River south of the Santa Fe River, extending south into the area between the Oklawaha River and the Withlacoochee River.
  3. Itafi (or Icafui) – Icafui/Cascange and Ibi
    Ibi (tribe)
    The Ibi, also known as the Yui or Ibihica, were a Timucua chiefdom in the present-day U.S. state of Georgia during the 16th and 17th centuries. They lived in southeastern Georgia, about 50 miles from the coast...

     tribes, in southeast Georgia, along the coast north of Cumberland Island
    Cumberland Island
    Cumberland Island is one of the Sea Islands. Cumberland is the largest in terms of continuously exposed land area of Georgia's barrier islands. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia and is part of Camden County...

     north to the Altamaha River
    Altamaha River
    The Altamaha River is a major river of the American state of Georgia. It flows generally eastward for 137 miles from its origin at the confluence of the Oconee River and Ocmulgee River towards the Atlantic Ocean, where it empties into the ocean near Brunswick, Georgia. There are no dams...

     and inland west of the Yufera tribe.
  4. Yufera – Yufera tribe, in southeast Georgia, on the mainland west of Cumberland Island.
  5. Mocama (Timucua for 'ocean') (called Agua Salada in Hann 1996 and elsewhere) – Mocama
    Mocama
    The Mocama were a Native American people who lived in the coastal areas of what are now northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. A Timucua group, they spoke the dialect known as Mocama, the best-attested dialect of the Timucua language. Their territory extended from about the Altamaha River in...

    , including the Tacatacuru
    Tacatacuru
    The Tacatacuru were a Timucua chiefdom located on Cumberland Island in what is now the U.S. state of Georgia in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were one of two chiefdoms of the Timucua subgroup known as the Mocama, who spoke the Mocama dialect of Timucuan and lived in the coastal areas of...

     (on Cumberland Island
    Cumberland Island
    Cumberland Island is one of the Sea Islands. Cumberland is the largest in terms of continuously exposed land area of Georgia's barrier islands. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia and is part of Camden County...

     in Georgia) and the Saturiwa (in what is now Jacksonville) tribes, along the Atlantic
    Atlantic Ocean
    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

     coast of Florida from the St. Marys River
    St. Marys River (Florida/Georgia)
    The St. Marys River is a river in the southeastern United States. It is named after the Irish Saint Mary. From near its source in the Okefenokee Swamp, to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, it forms a portion of the border between the U.S. states of Georgia and Florida...

     to below the mouth of the St. Johns River, including the lowest part of the St. Johns River.
  6. Agua Salada (Spanish for 'salt water' (Maritime in Hann 1996) – tribal affiliation unclear, the Atlantic coast in the vicinity of St. Augustine
    St. Augustine, Florida
    St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United...

     and inland to the adjacent stretch of the St. Johns River.
  7. Tucururu – uncertain, possibly in south-central Florida (a village called Tucuru was "forty leagues
    League (unit)
    A league is a unit of length . It was long common in Europe and Latin America, but it is no longer an official unit in any nation. The league originally referred to the distance a person or a horse could walk in an hour...

     from St. Augustine").
  8. Agua Fresca (or Agua Dulce; Spanish for "fresh water") – Utina
    Utina
    The Utina, also known as the Agua Dulce or Agua Fresca tribe, were a Timucua chiefdom in northern Florida during the 16th century. The name given to them by their enemies, Thimogona, may be the origin of the word Timucua, now applied to the whole group of related tribes who lived in northern...

     (Agua Fresca or Agua Dulce) tribe, along the lower St. Johns River, north of Lake George
    Lake George (Florida)
    Lake George or Lake Welaka is a broad and shallow brackish lake on the St. Johns River in the U.S. state of Florida.-Geography:Lake George is six miles wide and eleven miles long, with an average depth of 8 feet . The west side of the lake is encompassed in the Ocala National Forest...

    .
  9. AcueraAcuera
    Acuera
    Acuera was reported to be the tribal headsman of a community of indigenous people of the same name. The Acuera were a Timucua people who flourished, in the north central region what is now called Florida, at the time of European arrival in the 16th century but, after fiercely defending their...

     tribe, on the upper reaches of the Oklawaha River and around Lake Weir
    Lake Weir
    -External links:* *...

    .
  10. Oconi – Oconi tribe (not to be confused with the Muskogean
    Muskogean languages
    Muskogean is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean...

     speaking Oconee tribe), "three days travel" from Cumberland Island, possibly around the Okefenokee Swamp
    Okefenokee Swamp
    The Okefenokee Swamp is a shallow, 438,000 acre , peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia–Florida border in the United States. A majority of the swamp is in Georgia and protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Okefenokee Wilderness. The Okefenokee Swamp is considered to be...

    .


All of the linguistic documentation is from Mocama and Potano.

Scholars are not in total agreement as to the number of dialects. A number of scholars, including Jerald T. Milanich
Jerald T. Milanich
Jerald T. Milanich is an American anthropologist and archaeologist, specializing in Native American culture in Florida. He is the curator of Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida in Gainesville; Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, College of...

 and Edgar H. Sturtevant
Edgar H. Sturtevant
-Biography:Sturtevant was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, the older brother of Alfred Sturtevant. He studied at the University of Chicago receiving there in 1901 a Ph.D. with a dissertation on Latin case forms. He became an assistant professor of classical philology at Columbia University in New...

, have taken Pareja's Agua Salada as an alternate name for the well-attested Mocama
Mocama
The Mocama were a Native American people who lived in the coastal areas of what are now northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. A Timucua group, they spoke the dialect known as Mocama, the best-attested dialect of the Timucua language. Their territory extended from about the Altamaha River in...

 dialect ("mocama" is Timucua for "ocean"). As such, Mocama is often referred to as Agua Salada in the literature. This suggestion would put the number of dialects attested by Pareja at nine. However, others, such as Julian Granberry, argue that the two names referred to separate dialects, with Agua Salada being spoken in an unknown area of coastal Florida.

Additionally, John R. Swanton
John R. Swanton
John Reed Swanton was an American anthropologist and linguist who worked with Native American peoples throughout the United States. Swanton achieved recognition in the fields of ethnology and ethnohistory...

 identified the language spoken by the Tawasa of 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...

 as a dialect of Timucua. This identification was based on a 60-word vocabulary list collected from an informant
Informant (linguistics)
An informant or consultant in linguistics is a native speaker who acts as a linguistic reference for a language being studied. The informant's role is that of a senior interpreter, who demonstrates native pronunciation, provides grammaticality judgments regarding linguistic well-formedness, and may...

 named Lamhatty who appeared in Virginia in 1708. Although Lamhatty did not speak any language known in the area, he was said to have related that he had been kidnapped by Tuscaroras nine months earlier from a town called Towasa. Lamhatty was certainly a Timucuan speaker, but John Hann calls the evidence of his origin as a Tawasa "tenuous".

Phonology


A true phonemic notation of Timucua was never undertaken; the sounds of the language can only be conjectured based upon the sources available, most notably Pareja's work. The charts below give the reconstituted phonemic units in IPA (in brackets) and their general orthography (in bold).

Consonants


Timucua had 14 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:
  Biabial
Bilabial consonant
In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Labiodental
Labiodental consonant
In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.-Labiodental consonant in IPA:The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

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...

Palato-
alveolar
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...

plain labial
Stop
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 [p]   t [t]   c, q [k] qu [kʷ]  
Affricate       ch [tʃ]    
Fricative b [β] (b?) f [f](φ?) s [s]     h [h]
Nasal
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 [m]   n [n]      
Rhotic
Rhotic consonant
In phonetics, rhotic consonants, also called tremulants or "R-like" sounds, are liquid consonants that are traditionally represented orthographically by symbols derived from the Greek letter rho, including "R, r" from the Roman alphabet and "Р, p" from the Cyrillic alphabet...

    r [r]      
Approximant     l [l] y [j]    

is represented with a c when followed by an /a/, /o/, or /u/; otherwise, it is represented by a q
  • There is no true voiced stop; [d] only occurs as an 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...

     of /t/ after /n/ existed in Timucua only in Spanish loanwords like "gato"
  • Sounds in question, like /f/ and /b/, indicate possible alternative phonemic values arising from the original Spanish orthography
  • The only consonant clusters were intersyllabic /nt/ and /st/
  • Geminate consonant clusters did not occur

Vowels


Timucua had 5 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, which could be long or short:
  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...

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...

High
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 [i] u [u]
Mid
Mid vowel
A mid vowel is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned mid-way between an open vowel and a close vowel...

e [e] o [o]
Low
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...

a [a]

  • Vowel clusters were limited to intersyllabic /iu/, /ia/, /ua/, /ai/
  • Timucua had no true diphthong
    Diphthong
    A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

    s

Syllable structure


Syllables in Timucua were of the form CV, V, and occasionally VC (which never occurred in word-final position).

Stress


Words of one, two, or three syllables have primary stress on the first syllable. In words of more than three syllables, the first syllable receives a primary stress while every syllable after receives a secondary stress, unless there was an enclitic present, which normally took the primary stress.

Examples:
  • yobo [yóbò] 'stone'
  • nipita [nípìtà] 'mouth'
  • atimucu [átìmûkù] 'frost'
  • holatamaquí [hôlàtâmàkʷí] 'and the chief'

Phonological processes


There are two phonological processes in Timucua: automatic alteration and reduplication.

Alteration


There are two types of alteration, both of which only involve vowels: assimilation and substitution.
  • Assimilations occur across morpheme boundaries when the first morpheme ends in a vowel and the second morpheme begins with a vowel. Examples: tera 'good' + acola 'very' > teracola 'very good'; coloma 'here' + uqua 'not' > colomaqua 'not here.'

  • Substitutions also occur across morpheme boundaries. Regressive substitutions involve only the "low" vowels (/e/, /a/, and /o/) in the first-morpheme position, and can occur even if there is a consonant present between the vowels. The last vowel of the first morpheme is then either raised or backed. Other regressive substitutions involve the combination of suffixes, and their effects on the vowels vary from pair to pair. Non-regressive substitutions, on the other hand, affect the second vowel of the morpheme pair. Examples: ite 'father' + -ye 'your' > itaye 'your father' (regressive); ibine 'water' + -ma 'the' + -la 'proximate time' > ibinemola 'it is the water' (regressive, suffix combination); ucu 'drink' + -no 'action designator' > ucunu 'to drink' (non-regressive).


These can in turn be either regressive or non-regressive. In regressive alterations, the first vowel of the second morpheme changes the last vowel of the first morpheme. Regressive assimilations are only conditioned by phonological factors while substitutions take into account semantic information.

Non-regressive alterations are all substitutions, and involve both phonological and semantic factors.

Reduplication


Reduplication repeats entire morphemes or lexemes to indicate the intensity of an action or to place emphasis on the word.

Example: noro 'devotion' + mo 'do' + -ta 'durative' > noronoromota 'do it with great devotion.'

Bases


These morphemes contained both semantic
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

 and semiological
Semiotics
Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

 information (non-base morphemes only contained semiological information). They could occur as either free bases, which did not need 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...

es, and bound bases, which only occurred with affixes. However, free bases could be designated different parts of speech (verbs, nouns, etc.) based on the affixes attached, and sometimes can be used indifferently as any one with no change.

Affixes


Timucua had three types of bound
Bound morpheme
In morphology, a bound morpheme is a morpheme that only appears as part of a larger word; a free morpheme is one that can stand alone.Affixes are always bound. English language affixes are either prefixes or suffixes. E.g., -ment in "shipment" and pre- in "prefix"...

 affix morphemes: prefixes, suffixes, and enclitics.

Prefixes


Timucua only had five prefixes: ni- and ho-, '1st person,' ho- 'pronoun,' chi- '2nd person,' and na- 'instrumental noun'

Suffixes


Timucua used suffixes far more often, and it is the primary affix used for derivation, part-of-speech designation, and inflection. Most Timucua suffixes were attached to verbs.

Enclitics


Enclitics were also used often in Timucua. Unlike suffixes and prefixes, they were not required to fill a specific slot, and enclitics usually bore the primary stress of a word.

Pronouns


Only the 1st and 2nd person singular are independent pronouns—all other pronominal information is given in particles or nouns. There is no gender distinction or grammatical case. The word oqe, for example, can be 'she, her, to her, he, him, to him, it, to it,' etc. without the aid of context.

Nouns


There are nine morphemic slots within the "noun matrix":
  • 1 – Base
  • 2 – Possessive Pronoun
  • 3 – Pronoun Plural
  • 4A – Base Plural
  • 4B – Combining Form
  • 5 – 'The'
  • 6 – Particles
    Grammatical particle
    In grammar, a particle is a function word that does not belong to any of the inflected grammatical word classes . It is a catch-all term for a heterogeneous set of words and terms that lack a precise lexical definition...

  • 7 – Enclitics
  • 8 – Reflexive


Only slot 1 and 4A must be filled in order for the lexeme
Lexeme
A lexeme is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single word. For example, in the English language, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as RUN...

 to be a noun.

Verbs


Timucua verbs contain many subtleties not present in English or even in other indigenous languages of the United States. Interestingly, there is no temporal aspect to Timucua verbs – there is no past tense, no future tense, etc. Verbs have 13 morphemic slots, but it is rare to find a verb with all 13 filled, although those with 8 or 9 are frequently used.
  • 1 – Subject pronoun
  • 2 – Object pronoun
  • 3 – Base (verb)
  • 4 – Transitive-Causative
  • 5 – Reflexive/Reciprocal
  • 6 – Action designation
  • 7 – Subject pronoun plural
  • 8 – Aspect (Durative, Bounded, Potential)
  • 9 – Status (Perfective
    Perfective aspect
    The perfective aspect , sometimes called the aoristic aspect, is a grammatical aspect used to describe a situation viewed as a simple whole, whether that situation occurs in the past, present, or future. The perfective aspect is equivalent to the aspectual component of past perfective forms...

    , Conditional
    Conditional mood
    In linguistics, the conditional mood is the inflectional form of the verb used in the independent clause of a conditional sentence to refer to a hypothetical state of affairs, or an uncertain event, that is contingent on another set of circumstances...

    )
  • 10 – Emphasis (Habitual, Punctual-Intensive)
  • 11 – Locus (Proximate, Distant)
  • 12 – Mode (Indicative, Optative, Subjunctive, Imperative
    Imperative mood
    The imperative mood expresses commands or requests as a grammatical mood. These commands or requests urge the audience to act a certain way. It also may signal a prohibition, permission, or any other kind of exhortation.- Morphology :...

    )
  • 13 – Subject pronouns (optional and rare – found only in questions)

Particles


Particles are the small number of free bases that occur with either no affixes or only with the pluralizer -ca. They function as nominals, adverbials, prepositions, and demonstratives. They are frequently added onto one another, onto enclitics, and onto other bases. A few examples are the following:
  • amiro 'much, many'
  • becha 'tomorrow'
  • ocho 'behind'
  • na 'this'
  • michu 'that'
  • tulu 'immediately'
  • quana 'for, with'
  • pu, u, ya 'no'

Syntax


According to Granberry, "Without fuller data ... it is of course difficult to provide a thorough statement on Timucua syntax."

Timucua was an SOV language; that is, the phrasal word order was subject–object–verb, unlike the English order of subject–verb–object. There are six parts of speech: verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

s, 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...

s, pronoun
Pronoun
In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun , such as, in English, the words it and he...

s, modifiers
Grammatical modifier
In grammar, a modifier is an optional element in phrase structure or clause structure; the removal of the modifier typically doesn't affect the grammaticality of the sentence....

 (there is no difference between 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 and 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 in Timucua), demonstrative
Demonstrative
In linguistics, demonstratives are deictic words that indicate which entities a speaker refers to and distinguishes those entities from others...

s, and conjunctions
Grammatical conjunction
In grammar, a conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases or clauses together. A discourse connective is a conjunction joining sentences. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a "conjunction" must be defined for each...

. As these are not usually specifically marked, a word's part of speech is generally determined by its relationship with and location within the phrase.

Phrases


Phrases typically consist of two lexeme
Lexeme
A lexeme is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single word. For example, in the English language, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as RUN...

s, with one acting as the "head-word," defining the function, and the other performing a syntactic
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 operation. The most frequently-occurring lexeme, or in some cases just the lexeme that occurs first, is the "head-word." All phrases are either verb phrases (e.g. Noun + Finite Verb, Pronoun + Non-Finite Verb, etc.) or noun phrases (e.g. Noun + Modifier, Determiner + Noun, etc.). If the non-head lexeme occurs after the "head-word," then it modifies the "head-word." If it occurs before, different operations occur depending on the lexeme's part of speech and whether it is located in a verb or noun phrase. For example, a particle occurring before the "head-word" in a noun phrase becomes a demonstrative, and a non-finite verb in a verb phrase becomes a modifier.

Clauses


Clauses in Timucua are: subjects
Subject (grammar)
The subject is one of the two main constituents of a clause, according to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle and that is associated with phrase structure grammars; the other constituent is the predicate. According to another tradition, i.e...

, complements
Complement (linguistics)
In grammar the term complement is used with different meanings. The primary meaning is a word, phrase or clause that is necessary in a sentence to complete its meaning. We find complements that function as an argument and complements that exist within arguments.Both complements and modifiers add...

 (direct or indirect object), predicates
Predicate (grammar)
There are two competing notions of the predicate in theories of grammar. Traditional grammar tends to view a predicate as one of two main parts of a sentence, the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies. The other understanding of predicates is inspired from work in predicate calculus...

, and clause modifiers
Grammatical modifier
In grammar, a modifier is an optional element in phrase structure or clause structure; the removal of the modifier typically doesn't affect the grammaticality of the sentence....

.

Sentences


Timucua sentences typically contained a single independent clause, although they occasionally occurred with subordinate clauses acting as modifiers.

Sample vocabulary

Vocabulary

English Timucua
one yaha
two yucha
three hapu
man biro
woman nia
dog efa
sun ela
moon acu
water ibi
door unuchua
fire taca
tobacco hinino
bread pesolo
drink ucu

Sample text


Here is a sample from a priest's interview of Timucua speakers preparing for conversion:
Hachipileco, cacaleheco, chulusi eyolehecote, nahebuasota, caquenchabequestela, mota una yaruru catemate, caquenihabe, quintela manta bohobicho?
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

External links