Lenape Tribe Seal

Lenape Talking Dictionary

By English WORD or PHRASE

By Lenape WORD or PHRASE

Lenape Lesson #2

Alënixsitàm!

Let's Talk Lenape!

Lesson 2


In the first class we covered the sounds of the vowels in Lenape. There is a special class of vowels we should mention at this time. These are the vowels that are followed by the letters N + S or N + SH. These nasal vowels are similar to the ones used in French.


Vowel

Lenape Word

Translation

Comments

a

ans’hwikàn

fishing net


a

manshapi

a bead (other than wampum


ë

chulëns

bird


ë

kawënsh

thorn


ò

xònsa

his older brother


u

ntalëmuns

my pet




Of course there are a few exceptions to every rule. In a few Lenape words the vowel is not nasalized in that position and to indicate that it is not nasalized a ’ (an apostrophe) is placed between the N and S as in the following example



èmhòn’sàk

spoons




Consonants in Lenape:


Next we will have the sounds of the consonants. As a reminder the consonants used in Lenape are:


ch - h - k - l - m – n - p - s - sh - t - w - x – y


Of these, ch – k – p – s – sh – t, are pronounced as in English, unless they follow the letters n- or m-, provided there is no apostrophe after the n- or m-.  We will discuss that in the next lesson. Here are some Lenape words using these letters:


Consonant

Lenape Word

English Translation

Comments

ch

chinkwe

bobcat

like -ch- in English "church"

 

chimhe

he rows a boat, or, he paddles a canoe

 

h

hàkhàkw

bottle

like -h- in English "hand"

 

hàtës

sinew

 

k

ku

no

like -k- in English "hawk"

 

kwis

your son

 

l

lòkëwe

yesterday

Like -l- in English "lip"  (This -L- sound in Lenape comes at the beginning of a word or in the middle of a word between vowels or before the 

consonants -h- or -x-)

 

lukàt

flour  (from wheat)

 

l

òòl

egg

This -L- sound in Lenape comes at the end of a word or in the middle of a word before another consonant, except -h- or -x-.  There is no equivalent sound in English, (this -L- is voiceless). If you feel your throat when pronouncing the -L- in the English word 'lot' you will feel a vibration.  This is voicing.  Now, start to say 'lot' but just let the air pass over your tongue with no vibration of the vocal cords.  This is the sound of the voiceless -L-

 

ashëwìl

he swims

(the voiceless -L-)

m

mitkëm

pole

like -m- in English "met"

 

mùxul

canoe or boat

 

n

nux

my father

like -n- in English "net"  

 

ni

I or me or my

 

p

pèshkunk

nine

like –p- in English “pet”


palenàxk

five


s

sànkwe

weasel

like -s- in English "sick"

 

sipu

stream

 

sh

shëwàn

it is salty

like -sh- in English "shoe"

 

shiki

it is pretty

 

s'h

ans´ha

dip it up        

like -s- + -h- in English "kiss her"

t

tòke

it is soft

like -t- in English "ten"

 

tëme

wolf

 

w

wil

head

like -w- in English "work"

 

wikhè

he builds a house

 

w

wtenk




xanikw


kwewsi

behind (as in “behind the house”)



squirrel


you found out

This -W- sound in Lenape comes at the end of a word, or in the beginning or middle of a word before another consonant.  There is no equivalent sound in English, (this -W- is voiceless). If you feel your throat when pronouncing the -W- in the English word 'way' you will feel a vibration. This is voicing.  It is much like a short whistle sound. This is the sound of the voiceless -W-





x

xanikw

squirrel

like -ch- in German "kochen"

 

òxe

it is daylight

 

y

yuh

alright or okay

like -y- in English "yes"

 

yukwe

now