Thinking About Language

Jamestown, Québec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings

Thinking About Language

More than 400 languages were spoken across the continent in the 1600s.  The various peoples the Spanish called "Pueblos," for example, spoke at least six different languages—Hopi, Zuni, Keresan, Tewa, Tiwa, and Jemez—at  the time Santa Fe was founded.  


In the past four centuries, many Native languages became either totally lost or secondary to English, French, or Spanish.  Others never had a written form.  Those that survive with authoritative written forms are too numerous to use here, and many do not apply to the peoples treated in this exhibition.  For these reasons, this exhibition is only in three, European languages.