A Dictionary of Skiri Pawnee


A Dictionary of Skiri Pawnee

Douglas R. Parks and Lula Nora Pratt

Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians Series

568 pages


December 2008


$85.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

A Dictionary of Skiri Pawnee is the first dictionary ever published of a Caddoan language. Formerly an independent tribe living along the North Fork of the Loup River in central Nebraska, the Skiris united with South Band Pawnee groups in the late eighteenth century, and in 1874–76 they were forced to abandon their reservation in central Nebraska for a new reservation that became Pawnee County in north-central Oklahoma, where most Skiris live today.

The volume comprises approximately 4,500 entries that represent the basic vocabulary of the Skiri language. To assist users, the introduction features a description of the Skiri sound system and an alphabet, as well as a short description of Skiri grammar that outlines the categories and constituent morphemes composing Skiri words. The first section of the dictionary presents entries arranged alphabetically by English glosses; the second section is arranged alphabetically by Skiri words and stems. Separate appendixes provide representative conjugations of Skiri verbs, a list of irregular verb roots, and charts of kinship terms.

The dictionary is the culmination of a fifteen-year collaboration between Douglas R. Parks and Lula Nora Pratt, a native Skiri speaker. Primary sources of Skiri vocabulary and English translations include Pratt herself, recordings of traditional narratives made by Harry Mad Bear and Sam Allen in the 1960s, and historical texts by Roaming Scout. Supplementary sources of data come from other Skiri speakers who collaborated for shorter periods in the late 1960s.

Author Bio

Douglas R. Parks is a professor of anthropology and co-director of the American Indian Studies Research Institute at Indiana University, and is editor of the journal Anthropological Linguistics. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including A Grammar of Pawnee, the two-volume Ceremonies of the Pawnee (Nebraska 1989), the four-volume Traditional Narratives of the Arikara Indians (Nebraska 1991), and Myths and Traditions of the Arikara Indians (Nebraska 1996).
Lula Nora Pratt (1908–2001) was the last fluent speaker of Skiri Pawnee and was a wealth of traditional Pawnee cultural knowledge. Until she passed away in 2001, Pratt worked closely with Parks to compile a record of her language, of which this dictionary is one part.


"This is a one-of-a-kind resource that is splendidly researched and organized. It will find use among students and scholars of anthropology and Native American linguistics."—Shannon Graff Hysell, American Reference Books Annual

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Sound Key
PART ONE - Linguistic Introduction
1. Background and History
2. Sounds and Alphabet
3. Major Sound Changes
4. Grammatical Overview
5. Organization and Structure of the Dictionary
PART TWO - English to Skiri Pawnee
PART THREE - Skiri Pawnee to English
1. Illustrative Skiri Verb Conjugations
2. Irregular Verb Roots: Marking Agent Numbering
3. Kinship Terminology

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