Please download a font to view these pages properly.

Siouan Languages

Dakota (Santee-Sisseton)

Dakota (Yankton-Yanktonai)

Kaáⁿze Íe (Kansa)

Lakota (Teton)

Nakoda (Assiniboine)

Nakoda (Stoney)

Rų́ʔeta:re (Mandan)

In Canada, there are four Siouan languages, all belonging to the Dakotan sub-branch of the family, they are Dakota (Santee-Sisseton), Lakota (Teton), Nakoda (Assiniboine), and Nakoda (Stoney). Nakoda (Stoney) is only in Alberta, the rest are also to be found in the United States. A fifth Dakotan language: Dakota (Yankton-Yanktonai) has speakers only in the U.S.

The population figures are shown at right. The Siouan languages show a divergence between those languages which have a healthy number of speakers, those which appear in need of active help to survive into the future, and some languages which have fewer than ten speakers. Keep in mind that census and Ethnologue figures in both countries are unreliable (as can be seen from the differences between the two), and that each census counts the Dakotan group as a single language.

All Siouan languages today utilise the Roman alphabet, albeit often with diacritic (accent) additions and special symbols. In the past, some speakers in Canada learned the syllabic writing system from the Crees. As many of these languages have had a relatively long period of contact with Europeans, most languages have several competing orthographies, some of which were invented by linguists. In some areas, especially among the more widely spoken languages, the native speakers have agreed communally upon an orthography for their language, but some individual speakers and linguists still use the system they are more familiar with, or the one they themselves developed.

If any of you are interested in any of the extinct Siouan languages, or use symbols in your orthography that are not included in the “keyboards” page, please email me with the details.

Download keyboards

Numbers of Speakers for Siouan Languages

In the U.S. Census (1990), “Dakota” numbers 13,387 (1a) or 15,355 (1b). In the Canadian Census (2006) there are 6,495 speakers of Siouan languages, up from 4,950 in (2001). Speakers (1) refers to the U.S. Census (1990), I have seen two sets of figures from the Census, the numbers on their website are 1a, and other numbers from other sources quoting the Census are 1b. Speakers (2) to the Ethnologue (2000).

Nation Speakers (1a) Speakers (1b) Speakers (2)
Assiniboine n/a n/a 200
Chiwere 136 233 0
Crow 4,143 4,280 4,280
Dakota n/a n/a 20,355
Hidatsa 437 451 100
Hocák (Winnibago) 793 873 250
Kanza 3 19 19
Lakota n/a n/a 6,000
Mandan 7 7 6
Omaha 450 473 85
Osage 101 128 5
Ponca 212 247 w/ Omaha
Quapaw 14 34 34
Stoney n/a n/a 1,500


Previous Page

Last Update: December 12, 2007