Yukhíti Kóy


Yukhíti Kóy

A Reference Grammar of the Atakapa Language

Compiled by Geoffrey Kimball
From the field notes of Albert Samuel Gatschet, provided by Kišyuc and Tottokš
With translated and analyzed texts and vocabulary

276 pages
2 photographs, 2 tables, 3 appendixes, index


August 2022


$65.00 Pre-order

About the Book

Geoffrey Kimball presents the first grammar of the American Indian language Yukhíti Kóy, better known in English as Atakapa, once spoken in coastal southwestern Louisiana and coastal eastern Texas. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw a drastic fall in the Atakapa population, and by the first decades of the twentieth century the Atakapa language ceased to be spoken.

The grammar is based on the field notes collected by Albert Samuel Gatschet in January of 1885, with additional material collected by John R. Swanton in 1907–8. Gatschet worked with two speakers of the language, Kišyuc, also known as Yoyot, and her cousin Tottokš, whose English names were Louison Huntington and Delilah Moss, respectively. John R. Swanton wrote a grammatical sketch of Atakapa in 1929 based on Gatschet’s notes and in 1932 published the texts Gatschet had gathered, as well as a dictionary.

The materials, originally written phonetically, have been phonemicized, and the nature of the grammar has been elucidated. The nine surviving texts in Yukhíti have been phonemicized, analyzed, and translated, and the parallels between them and other traditional oral literatures of Native American languages of the Southeast are discussed. This reference grammar includes a vocabulary of all words contained in the field notes.

Author Bio

Geoffrey Kimball is a research associate in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University. He is the author of Koasati Traditional Narratives (Nebraska, 2010), Koasati Dictionary (Nebraska, 1994), and Koasati Grammar (Nebraska, 1991).


“There has not been a comprehensive reference grammar of the Atakapa language, and so this book fills a real need. There is very careful philological work here.”—George Aaron Broadwell, author of A Choctaw Reference Grammar

“This reference grammar will make a huge and much-needed contribution to Atakapan language studies and to linguistics in general. Geoffrey Kimball has clearly well researched the language based on both the original Gatschet field notes and the published Gatschet and Swanton Atakapa dictionary.”—David V. Kaufman, author of Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories: Language, Archaeology, and Ethnography and Atakapa Ishakkoy Dictionary

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Phonology
            Phonetic processes
            Active phonological processes
2. The verb and verbal morphology
            The aorist mode
            Preterite mode
            Dubitative mode
            Future mode
            Progressive mode
            Subordinate mode
            Stative verbs
            Aspect suffixes
            Verbal prefixes
            Comparison of adjectives
            Verbal derivational processes
            Verb pluralization
3. Nouns and nominal morphology
            Mass status
            Ordering of nominal morphology
            Nominal cases
            Noun pluralization
            Noun possession
            Noun formation
4. Syntax
            Fluid-S marking
            Word order
            Locative compounds
            Clausal complements
            Conjunction and disjunction
            Omitted inflection in coordinate contexts
            Relative clause equivalents
            Interrogative sentences
            Idiomatic expressions
5. Texts
            Text 1. Cultural and historical topics.
            Text 2. The Skin-desirer
            Text 3. Treatment of the heads of infants
            Text 4. Form letter
            Text 5. Biographical sketch of Kišmok
            Text 6. Notes on the family of Tottokš
            Text 7. Traditional treatment of disease
            Text 8. Traditional burial practices
            Text 9. A fight among Black people in Lake Charles
Yukhíti-English vocabulary
Appendix I      Hiyékiti-English Vocabulary
Appendix II    Orkokisak-English Vocabulary
Appendix III   Kinship terminology

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