Having recently purchased a small Lakota dictionary for beginner’s I thought I’d put it to use here on Gadling. Lakota won’t be a language you run around using on a daily basis even with the majority of speakers in the U.S. For the following word I please note the letter ‘n’ should be more like a ‘n’ with a ‘j’ hanging from the second line of the ‘n’. I don’t have the correct character key, but should you really try pronouncing this one, just beware of the way it appears here and how it should actually appear.
Lakota is spoken in the U.S. in areas which include North Dakota, South Dakota, parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, and Montana. It is also spoken by a few people in Canada and has a total range of 8,000-9,000 speakers in all of North America. Lakota is the largest of the three languages of the Sioux, of the Siouan family as noted in Wikipedia. Head over to their page for a quick read on lingo background info. One last interesting fact is that the language represents one of the largest Native American speech communities left in the United States.
Learning Lakota online will be a bit more challenging than Spanish, but can be done to a certain point. There is a Lakotiya Yahoo group which holds live online classes. You must be a member, but I believe registration is free and from there you can start learning pronunciation and grammar. The Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center has a decent website which includes quotes form the elders, common terms & phrases (with audio), and a grammar guide. Lakhota.org offers off-line language products like this Speak Lakota Level 2 Textbook which are said to be the finest according to the site. If you’re in the northern plains area of the U.S. try seeking out a native speaker for some lessons, otherwise you can pick up this Everyday Lakota for beginner’s dictionary at the Crazy Horse Memorial or on Amazon.