Osage Grammar


Osage Grammar

Carolyn Quintero

Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians Series

491 pages


January 2005


$75.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

When Europeans first made contact with the Osages, they lived in present-day Missouri, along the Osage River. After being forced onto a reservation, the Osages purchased land from the Cherokees in Indian Territory and resettled in northeastern Oklahoma in the later part of the nineteenth century. Today the Osage tribe numbers about 18,000, but only two elders still speak the traditional language, a member of the Siouan family of languages.

Osage Grammar is the first documentation of how the Osage language works, including more than two thousand sentences from Osage speakers, and a detailed description of its phonology, morphology, and syntax. Also featured are such components as verb conjugations, derivation, and suffixes; kinship terms; and the nominal system. The importance of documenting a language, especially when on the verge of extinction, can hardly be overstated. Growing up in Osage County, Oklahoma, Carolyn Quintero has been documenting the Osage language for twenty years, speaking to more than a dozen elders and transcribing hundreds of hours of interviews. Her research could not now be repeated since most of the elders whose words appear on these pages are gone.

This book will become an essential reference and guide for all scholars and students interested in the Osage language and in other Siouan languages of the West. Osage Grammar will also serve as a bedrock for the present revitalization of Osage culture and language within the community.

Author Bio

Carolyn F. Quintero is the president of Inter Lingua, Inc. and a research associate in Native American languages at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of First Course in Osage.


Osage Grammar is an important contribution to the linguistic description of the Siouan languages and is destined to become a seminal reference work in the field.”—Anthropological Linguistics