from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun A proposed grouping of a number of Native American language families of western North America.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- proper noun linguistics A
hypothetical groupingof a dozen small language familiesspoken in California, Arizona, and Mexico.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun a family of Amerindian languages spoken in California
- noun a member of a North American Indian people speaking one of the Hokan languages
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
Also, a comment on Hokan, which is a group that I have studied.
While trying to figure out if Muskogean (the language family to which Choctaw and Chickasaw, among others, belong) is considered to be part of any larger grouping (apparently some people take it for granted it's part of the "Hokan-Siouxan" group while others treat it as independent, Wikipedia calls Hokan itself "a hypothetical grouping of a dozen small language families spoken in California and Mexico" and says "few linguists today expect Hokan as a whole to prove to be valid," and I'm certainly not qualified to even have a thought about the matter), I ran across an interesting paper (pdf file; unfortunately, there does not appear to be an HTML cache) by Prof.
Nobody but the most extreme long-rangers takes Hokan-Siouan or any form of Macro-Hokan seriously anymore.
Hypotheses of a Hokan stock as a genetic unit continue to play an important role in prompting investigation of the historical relationships between these languages, but it should be recognized that Hokan is not yet considered a demonstrated genetic entity.
Hokan, Macro-Siouan (including Caddoan and Iroquoian) and Gulf (which hypothetically includes Muskogean together with various other Southeastern languages) are listed as "stocks", in the sense of hypothetical related groups above the level of the family.
The antiquity of Hokan would be at least as great as that of Indo-European, if not much greater, but documentation of the languages is considerably more limited.
Even core Hokan is considered unproven, and very likely not a family.
Hokan was cobbled together with tiny bits of evidence, almost all of it nothing but words that vaguely resemble each other.
Furthermore, some languages proposed as Hokan seem to share more features with languages considered outside of Hokan than with others within Hokan Haas 1964b.
Some of the "core Hokan" languages probably are related, but others are doubtful.