As you know, many languages have regional dialects, such as Cantonese Chinese and Mandarin Chinese. Here in America, regional dialects are abundantly available; northeast, southeast, deep south, central, northwest, southwest, west. People raised in Boston, Massachusetts speak a different dialect than those raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma and both different dialects than spoken by those raised in Los Angeles, California. Nonetheless, we have little difficulty understanding each other, with some odd exceptions, such as the beautiful "dragonfly" in the West, "snake doctor" in the Southwest and "mosquito hawk" in the South. I am unfamiliar with a word or words in Chahta for "dragonfly" with my best translation being shushi "bug" or lanla "a kind of bug."
On "things" which have no literal translation in Chahta, such as "dragonfly," you will discover as you read through these lessons, Chahta Okla "Choctaw Peoples" have simply beautiful and highly logical phrases to describe "things" such as objects, living creatures, direction and especially all things belonging to the realm of Mother Nature. Chahta is actually more descriptive, more precise and makes more sense than the Queen's Proper English. More on this later, especially in my section on how American Indian names are selected and why these names change with time or events in a person's life.
These regional dialects hold true for almost all languages, including Chahta. Dialects come about by thousands of years of geographic separation by distance, of once common tongued peoples.
Chahta displays a number of dialects with two primary regional dialects, Longtown and Sixtowns. Our anumpa isht hika "speaker" Charley Jones, makes use of Sixtowns dialect which is close enough in sound, to be understood by Longtown dialect speakers. These lessons you enjoy, mix both Longtown and Sixtowns dialect words.
To learn Choctaw, to speak Choctaw, you must forget the na hollo imanumpa "language of white men."
Choctaw, like all American Indian tongues, and like many other languages, save for English, makes use of good common sense and highly descriptive single words. English is basically illogical and highly complex requiring a lot of learning and development of an ability to "put together" coherent thoughts from a string of disjointed thoughts and actions. Chahta is not like this.
This is why you must forget English. In Chahta, a subject or topic, is always the first word. A subject is followed by a subject modifier or an adjective, adjective modifiers, then finally and always last, a verb. Announcing a subject first makes it very clear about what, you are going to speak; there is no confusion. To arrange your sentences or words otherwise, is a high insult within the Choctaw culture. This is analogous to deception, analogous to trying to confuse or evade a true topic.
Charley Jones is an excellent teacher and provides many examples with cultural aspects, in his package included in Various Indian Peoples Publication printed materials and audio files. Charley explains how sharing a peace pipe before important discussions, is like always starting a sentence with a subject. Passing a peace pipe around, causes all to be as one, causes all to understand a single thought; an important discussion of a subject follows. Subject first, discussion next. Consider this Chahta sentence:
Iti kafi okchamali hochito tuchchina mat
"Trees sassafras green big three those"
Subject Subject-Modifier Adjective Adjective Adjective Verb
In English, we say,
Those three big green sassafras trees.
Verb Adjective Adjective Adjective Subject-Modifier Subject.
You can quickly surmise this illogic of English; you do not know the subject until the very last word, and a verb is first. You must remember, the verb, all adjectives, then apply those to the subject, which is last known. You are in a state of "unknowing" until the last word.
In Chahta, most logical. You know first, then modify with adjectives and finally a verb.
Forget English, learn to think and speak logically, like American Indians! Here are more reasons why you need to forget the na hollo imanumpa.
One word in Chahta can replace two, three, four or more words in English. Very efficient! One word in Chahta can say what takes a long sentence in English:
chitoh "He is large" in English.
If you know American Sign Language or are familiar with that language, you understand the logic and efficiency of American Indian tongues. Almost all of us assume the deaf sign words and sentences just as we do when speaking English. They do not! Not even close. Sentence structure is very much like American Indian sentence structure, and there is another similarity, which we use little in English but know well of it, hand gestures.
Hand gestures in American Indian tongues were more common long ago than today, but still play a very important role, just as hand gestures play a critical role in American Sign Language.
Standing among tall whispering pines, discussing matters of a spiritual nature, an American Indian might motion a hand in a horizontal sweep. This could impart a meaning, "All that we see before us" in conjuntion with conversation. A hand gesture replaces a slew of words in English. A single hand gesture, an arc encompassing the sky, can mean just that, "all of the sky." Two hand, beginning high, almost overhead, arcing down left and right, to form an all encompassing circle, could very well mean, "all that is" or in English, "the entire universe, all things and God." However, never assume there is only one spirit in American Indian culture. There are many spirits but only one Great Spirit, our God.
To review before you jump into language lessons, Chahta has many dialects with two primary dialects, Longtown and Sixtowns. Chahta sentence structure is Subject, Adjectives, Verb. One Chahta word can replace an entire English sentence. Hand gestures play an important role in discussion, when working with very traditional American Indian tongues. There is one God, but many spirits in Indian culture.
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