Hopi is an Uto-Aztecan language spoken in northeastern Arizona in the USA. According to the 2010 census there are 6,780 Hopi speakers. The language is still being passed on to children, and about three quarters of the Hopi people speak Hopi as a native language.
There are four main varieties of Hopi: First Mesa or Polacca; Mishongnovi or Toreva (Musangnuve'e Hopilàvayi); Shipaulovi or Sipaulovi, and Third Mesa or Oraibi (Orayvit Hopilàvayi). They were identified by Benjamin Whorf, who was the first to analyse the Hopi language and who focused on the Mishongnovi variety.
There is a Hopi-English dictionary edited by Emory Sekaquaptewa, and the language is promoted by the Hopi Literacy Project. There are also bi-lingual education programs in Hopi in Arizona.
Hopi has an interesting way of expressing concepts of time and space: for something that happens a long way from a speaker is described as having happened in the distant past.
Details of Hopi alphabets provided by Wolfram Siegel
Tsangaw nu’ Hopiituqayta. Paypi pan hakimuy aw amumi, itaa wuuwuyoqam, itaaso yu’a’atangwu qe’ ura pangqawu, qe’ um hisat uuhopilavayiy suutokni. So’on hak put hisat suutoki, lavayiy’i. Panwisa pu’ itam. Qa navoti’yyungwa itam, yu’a’atotaniqe. Itam qa amumi pan yu’a’atotangwu niiqe panniqw oovi’i. Pay hak hiisay niqw senpi 5 or 6 niqw hakiy a pangqawangwu, um pam’i, pam itaa naatoyla.
I appreciate knowing Hopi. That is the way our elders, our grandmother would speak and remind us, "Don't ever forget your Hopi language." One cannot forget it, their language. That is our life now. We don't know how to speak. We don't speak to them [our children] this way. That is why, when you are maybe 5 or 6, they tell you, "this is our identity."
- Harlan Nakala, Lenwungwa, Flute Clan, Waalpi
Information about the Hopi language
KUYI Hopi Radio
The Hopi Tribe - official website
The Hopi Foundation (Lomasumi'nangwtukwsiwmani)
Hopi Cultural Preservation Office
Mesa Media - Hopilavayi pavan öqawi'yta / Keeping Hopi language vibrant
Comanche, Cora, Hopi, Huarijio, Huichol, Ivilyuat / Cahuilla, Kawaiisu, Luiseño, Mayo, Mono, O'odham, Nahuatl, Northern Paiute, Pipil, Serrano, Shoshone, Southern Paiute, Tarahumara, Tepehuán, Timbisha, Tongva, Yaqui
Page last modified: 02.10.21
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