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Photo by Benjamin BruceKiowa Language

Spoken by the Kiowa Tribe (Cáuigú)
Thanks to Gus Palmer Jr. and Olli Salmi for helping me with this language

Hā́chò Oklahoma!

[háːʦò okʰl̪ahoma]          (HAAH-tso oke-lah-ho-mah!)

Note: There isn't a word for "hello" in Kiowa; "hā́chò?" means something like "how's it going?"

There have been many orthographies devised for writing Kiowa, but none are official. I have chosen to use the one made by Parker McKenzie, a Kiowa linguist. The phrase would be written differently in the different orthographies; here it is in the ones that I know of:

  • Háátsow Owkhlahowma!  (Salmi)
  • há·cò okʰlahoma!  (Watkins)
  • Háhtsow Owkhlahhowmah!  (SIL)
  • hæ·´tsow` owkhdlæhowmæ!  (Harrington)
  • hʜ̄́tsòu ouk‘dlʜhoumʜ!  (Harrington)


©2003 Benjamin Bruce. Some Rights Reserved.



Click here for a longer text in Kiowa.

Séndé ā́hêl nàu chā́gau cī́dê.  Hègáu áuvcau bejṑdā́u déèm èsáthdḗdê.  Negáu Séndé jṓnê, “Hā́, sègī́dàu.  Háundé táimél bàcū́yáu; áuvcàutáuf háungáu émyáigùnmàu gàu gyàiáibáaldàdàu.  Háundé táimél bàcū́yáu.  Bàā́ nàu béyáigùn; táimél bàcū́yáu.  Béyáigùn.”

Seyndey was-traveling-along and the-prairie-dogs were-encamped. Wherever there their-houses were they-sat-sunning-themselves. Whereupon Seyndey said, "Ha, nephews. Seemingly lonely ye-sit; away-from-here others are-dancing and are-enjoying-themselves. Seemingly lonely ye-sit. Come-ye and let-us-dance-with-merriment; lonely ye-sit. Let-us-dance-with-merriment."

Source:  Harrington, John P. 1946. "Three Kiowa Texts." International Journal of American Linguistics, 12:4:237-242, accessed from the Rosetta Project.
Rewritten in the McKenzie orthography by Benjamin Bruce.

"Thank you" in Kiowa

"Thank you" is said thus in the Kiowa language:


It is pronounced [àːhôː] (aah-ho).

It is very important that tone and length be observed when pronouncing this word, because it is very similar to the word àhṓ, meaning "kill him!"


©2003 Benjamin Bruce. Some Rights Reserved.

Source: Salmi, Olli. "An Unofficial Practical Orthography for the Kiowa Language." Internet: <http://www.uusikaupunki.fi/~olsalmi/kiowa.html> 2003.

Kiowa alphabet

There have been many orthographies devised for writing Kiowa, however, none have been made official. I have decided to use the one made by Parker McKenzie, a Kiowa linguist and native speaker of the language.


Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Voiced Stop b d g
Voiceless Stop f j c
Aspirated Stop p t k
Ejective Stop v th q
Ejective Affricate x
Voiceless Affricate ch
Voiceless Fricative s h
Voiced Fricative z
Nasal m n
Lateral Approximant l
Approximant y


Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a au


Front Back
High ui
Mid oi
Low ai aui


ā a á à â
[aː] [ã] [á] [à] [â]


  • The glottal stop exists in Kiowa, but it is probably not phonemic.
  • The approximant [w] occurs in a very few interjections and loanwords.
  • The combination sy is pronounced [ʃ].
  • l is [l] in syllable-initial position, [dl] in syllable-final position, and [d̥l] in utterance-final position.
  • l and n are palatalized before i.
  • On the letter au and on diphthongs, diacritics are always placed on the first letter. Example: Cáuigú, "Kiowas."


©2006 Benjamin Bruce. Some Rights Reserved.

Source: Watkins, Laurel J. A Grammar of Kiowa. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984, accessed from the Rosetta Project.

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