The Hopilavayi is an Endangered Indigenous Language

October 10, 2021

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). 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).

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). It is important for the Hopi Senom to rediscover the Hopilavayi as many ceremonies are passed on to the younger generation using traditional knowledge and language.

Indigenous languages of the Americas that are spoken in northeastern Arizona are Hopi and Navajo.

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