Ho-Chunk (Hoocąk)

Ho-Chunk is a Siouan language spoken in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa in the USA. In Iowa it is spoken to the south of Sioux City along the east bank of the Missouri river. In Nebraska it is spoken on the Winnebago Reservation, and it is spoken in parts of central Wisconsin.

According to the 2000 census there are 1,650 Ho-chunk people, and there were 250 speakers of Ho-Chunk in 2007. In Nebraska speakers of Ho-Chunk are part of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, while in Wisconsin they are part of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin.

The language is also known as Winnebago, Hocak Wazijaci, Hochank or Hochunk. Ho-Chunk speakers call themselves Hotcągara and their language Hoocą́k hoit'éra, Hoocąk or Hocąk. The name Winnebago comes from the Sauk and Fox word Oinepegi and means something like "filthy/fetid water".

In Wisconsin and Nebraska efforts are being made to revitalize the language, including language classes, immersion daycare, and a language apprentice program. A Ho-Chunk app has also been developed to help people learn the language.

Written Ho-Chunk

In the past Ho-Chunk was written with its own syllabic script, known as Hočąk Syllabary, which was adapted from the Fox syllabary, and is based on the Latin alphabet. There are also various was to write the language with the Latin alphabet. The one shown below was adopted as the official writing system of the Ho-Chunk Nation in July 1994.

Latin alphabet for Ho-Chunk (Hocąk Wowagaz)

Latin alphabet for Ho-Chunk

Download alphabet charts for Ho-Chunk (Excel)

Sample text in Ho-Chunk (The Lord's Prayer)

  1. Hiąjihiwíra wągeregi šanąkere, ráš hašínina wakąčą́k nįgigirekjeną.
  2. Hųgmą́ hašínina hiraijikjawina. Wošgą́ hašínina mąnégi ’ųirekjeną, wągeregi jasge hinąk’į, žesge mąnégi hirekjena.
  3. Hąp teé waisgabetúč haníwira hok’ųwiąje.
  4. Égi wažą́ woíšaną wániwina waįgit’ųnawire, wažą́ higišaną wániwina waįgit’ųnawira žesge.
  5. Égi hįké wažą́ woíšaną ’ų-wahieja hųrutiwinire, eši wowąkjega éja hįgijirawige, k’išib-wįwire. Hųgmą́ra ne hašįnį́gają, égi homąšją́ ne hašįnį́gają, égi hoiš’ągera ne hašįnį́gają, mąnégųzera, Amen.

Source: https://hotcakencyclopedia.com/ho.HT.LordsPrayer.html


  1. Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
  2. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
  3. Give us this day our daily bread.
  4. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
  5. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Source: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-6/#9

Videos in Ho-Chunk

Information about the Ho-Chunk language | Hočąk Syllabary | Numbers | Tower of Babel


Information about the Ho-Chunk language

The Encyclopedia of Hotcąk Mythology

Hocak Worak - Newsletter of the Ho-Chunk Nation

The Ho-Chunk Nation (Wisconsin)

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Siouan languages

Assiniboine, Biloxi, Chiwere, Crow, Dakota, Hidatsa, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Lakota, Mandan, Omaha, Osage, Quapaw, Stoney, Tutelo

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 08.07.22


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