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The Algonquian languages (/ælˈɡɒŋkiən/ or /ælˈɡɒŋkwiən/;[2] also Algonkian) are a subfamily of American indigenous languages that include most languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the indigenous Ojibwe language (Chippewa), which is a senior member of the Algonquian language family. The term Algonquin has been suggested to derive from the Maliseet word elakómkwik (pronounced [ɛlæˈɡomoɡwik]), "they are our relatives/allies".[3][4] A number of Algonquian languages, like many other Native American languages, are now extinct.

Speakers of Algonquian languages stretch from the east coast of North America to the Rocky Mountains. The proto-language from which all of the languages of the family descend, Proto-Algonquian, was spoken around 2,500 to 3,000 years ago.[5] There is no scholarly consensus about where this language was spoken.

Because Algonquian languages were some of the first with which Europeans came into contact in North America, the language family has given many words to English. Many eastern and midwestern U.S. states have names of Algonquian origin (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Because Algonquian languages were some of the first with which Europeans came into contact in North America, the language family has given many words to English. Many eastern and midwestern U.S. states have names of Algonquian origin (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, etc.), as do many cities: Milwaukee, Chicago, et al. Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is named after an Algonquian nation, the Odawa people.

For a more detailed treatment of geographical names in three Algonquian languages see the external link to the book by Trumbull.

See also