*** Disclaimer – this site is not endorsed by the Hopi Tribe ***
Lolma and welcome to the online Hopi Dictionary. This site was created out of the need to have an online reference for our Hopi Senom, especially for the younger generation who are constantly on their phones and laptops. I wanted to provide a quick reference for the Hopi Senom who are eager to learn the language. The 1998 language survey of 200 Hopi people reflects the current state of the Hopi language: 100% of Hopi elders (60 years or older) are fluent, while fluency in adults (age 40-59) is only 84%, 50% in young adults (age 20-39), and 5% in children (age 2-19) (HCPO, 1998).
Growing up in the Hopi town of Polacca, AZ, with Hopi and Navajo parents, English was the language most spoken at home and it was not common for us to speak either native languages often enough for my sister and I to become fluent speakers. We probably learned more Navajo words than Hopi as my paternal grandmother, aunts and uncles spoke Navajo often around the house and sheep camp.
Now that I have two sons, I would like them to be able to learn the language and be able to maintain their cultural identity. The Hopi language is very important and I hope this site will help increase the number of fluent speakers. If anything, at least it will provide a reference for the younger generation and hopefully encourage them to create more resources to help preserve the language.
The Hopi language belongs to the Uto-Aztecan language family (Hale and Harris 1979) with the Uto-Aztecan people having said to have passed south from the Behring Straight (Taylor, 1943). Some interesting facts about the Hopi language are that it is a separate branch of the Uto-Aztecan family without any close relatives, and two popular Uto-Aztecan languages are Aztec and Shoshoni/Comache (Grune, 1995).
Below is a tree diagram outlining the Proto-Uto-Aztecan languages (Salido, 2014).
As with many Native languages not spoken in the home, the number of frequent speakers continues to dwindle. As shown in the figure below, there were only 6,780 speakers of the Hopi language according to the 2010 census (Haugen, 2014). Therefore, I encourage you to continue learning to speak Hopi and I hope this site will evolve to include audio and video lessions. Please feel free to leave comments and please note that this online Hopi dictionary is primarily geared to the First Mesa dialect. Kwa’kway.
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