Many people often ask if someone speaks "Indian". This implies that there is some one language that all the native peoples of the "New World" spoke. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are an enormous number of languages spoken today, and many more that had been spoken before contact with Europeans. Many of the languages have become extinct - that is to say they are no longer spoken.

Another common belief is that all the native peoples spoke a dialect of the same language. If by a dialect, one means two forms of a language that are mutually intelligible, then of course this is also untrue. Some languages, like Mohawk (spoken in upstate New York and in the SE part of Canada) are about as closely related as English is to Chinese

Do you want to know more about how languages are classified?
Another myth is that languages in the New World were very primitive and only had about 400 words. Actually, all languages are about the same complexity. Children everywhere start speaking at about the same age. No one is really sure how many words any language has, since languages are always gaining and losing vocabulary.
Do you want to see an example of how complex one of the native languages can be?


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