Lakota is one of four dialects of the Dakota group. The other three are Dakota, also spoken in the USA, and Assiniboine, and Stoney, spoken in Canada. The Dakota group belongs to the Mississippi Valley section of the Central Siouan Proper subgroup of the Siouan family, which includes 17 languages in total.
Lakota is one of the four closely related dialects of the Dakota group. The easternmost dialect of the language is Santee-Sisseton. The westernmost of the dialects, Teton, is designated by its native name, Lakhota or Lakota. Speakers of the Assiniboine and Stoney dialects call their language Nakoda. One more dialect, Yankton-Yanktonai, also located geographically between the Santee-Sisseton and Teton dialects, shows affinities with both Dakota and Nakoda, although its speakers call their language Dakota.
Each of these dialects has a number of sub dialects, some quite different from the others. The sub dialects of Lakota are divided into two groups: the ones used in the southwest reservations (Pine Ridge and Rosebud) and the ones used on the Missouri River (Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, Standing Rock). The populations on these reservations reflect earlier band divisions among the Teton Sioux, so the present linguistic differences quite likely reflect differences older than the reservation period, which dates only from the last third of the nineteenth century.
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