Mikasuki language

Mikasuki language
Spoken in United States
Region Southern Florida
Native speakers 500  (date missing)
Language family
  • Eastern Muskogean
    • Mikasuki
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mik

The Mikasuki language (also Miccosukee or Hitchiti-Mikasuki) is a Muskogean language spoken by around 500 people in southern Florida. It is spoken by the Miccosukee tribe as well as many Florida Seminoles. The now-extinct Hitchiti language was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki.



Front Central Back
Close ɪ ɪː ɪ̃
Mid ʋ ʋː ʋ̃
Open ɐ ɐː ɐ̃

There are three tones, high, low and falling. Vowel length is distinctive, for example eche ('mouth') vs eeche ('deer'), ete ('eye') vs eete ('fire').

Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b
Fricative ɸ ɬ ʃ h
Approximant l j w


Nouns are marked with suffixes for various functions, some examples:

Suffix Function Example Meaning
embaache battery
ot subject marker embaachot hampeepom the battery has gone bad
on object marker embaachon aklomle I need a battery
ee question marker embachee cheméèło? do you have a battery?

Free pronouns exist (aane "I", chehne "you", pohne "we") but are rarely used. Verb suffixes are the usual way of marking person.

Writing System

Mikasuki is written using the Latin alphabet. The vowels are pronounced as follows:

Letter Sound
a, aa a,
a, aa ã, ãː
e, ee i,
e, ee ĩː, ĩː
o, oo o,
o, oo õ; õː
ay ai
ao ao

The consonants are:

Letter Sound
b b
ch t͡ʃ
f ɸ
h h
k k
l l
ł ɬ
m m
n n
ng ŋ
p p
sh ʃ
t t
w w
y j

High tone is indicated with an acute, low tone with a grave and falling tone with an acute (on a long vowel this is typographically split over both vowels, otherwise the grave is placed over the next consonant):

High Tone Low Tone Falling Tone
á, áa à, àa áǹ, áà

An epenthetic [ə] vowel appears in kl, kw and kn clusters in careful speech.



bochonkom he/she/it touches
chaolom he/she/it writes
chayahlom he/she/it walks
eelom he/she/it arrives
empom he/she/it eats
eshkom he/she/it drinks
faayom he/she/it hunts
ommom he/she/it makes


1 łáàmen
2 toklan
3 tocheenan
4 shéetaaken
5 chahkeepan
6 eepaaken
7 kolapaaken
8 toshnapaaken
9 oshtapaaken
10 pokoolen

Kinship Terms

nakne man, male
ooche son
ooshtayke daughter
táàte father
tayke woman, female
wáàche mother
yaate person
yaatooche infant

External links


  • West, J. & Smith, N. A Guide to the Miccosukee Language, Miami: Miccosukee Corporation 1978.
  • West, J. The Phonology of Mikasuki in Studies in Linguistics 1962, 16:77-91.

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