The Miami-Illinois language was spoken in the lands that became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the period before contact with Europeans. Miami-Illinois is a central Algonquian language and is most closely related to Sauk-Meskwaki (Fox)-Kickapoo, Ojibwe-Potawatomi-Ottawa and Shawnee. Miami-Illinois consists of two mutually intelligible dialects: Miami and Illinois. Miami was primarily spoken in villages in the Wabash River Valley and included the Peeyankihšia ‘Piankashaw,’ Waayaahtanwa ‘Wea,’ Myaamia ‘Miami,’ and others. Illinois was spoken in villages that sat along the Mihsi-siipiiwi ‘Mississippi River’ and Inoka Siipiiwi ‘Illinois River,’ which included the Peewaalia ‘Peoria,’ Kaahkaahkia ‘Kaskaskia,’ and others. These dialects had very minor pronunciation and vocabulary differences that could be equated to the difference between Midwestern English and Southern English in the United States. Today Miami people call their language Myaamiaataweenki.
Language posts on Aacimotaatiiyankwi are just one part of a broader effort to revitalize Myaamia language and culture. Other places where you can find Myaamiaataweenki are: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Memrise, the Myaamia Online Dictionary, and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s tribal newspaper. The posts on Aacimotaatiiyankwi are designed to help language learners increase their ability to speak and broaden their knowledge of the language revitalization process. Included in language posts will be articles introducing useful words and phrases for beginners, sharing newly discovered and created terminology, audio for practicing pronunciation, and visual tools to aid in the learning process.
When we urge others to speak our language with us we say myaamiaataweetaawi! ‘let’s speak Myaamiaataweenki!’ So we hope you all enjoy using Aacimotaatiiyankwi in learning about history, ecology, culture, and language – myaamiaataweetaawi!