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Lenape Talking Dictionary

By English WORD or PHRASE

By Lenape WORD or PHRASE

Lenape Lesson #3 - Spell 3 & Greet 3

Alënixsitàm! 

Let's Talk Lenape!

Lesson  3

        

More on the Spelling System:

 

Some people have asked why we don’t write letters like B, D, G, etc. They say they can hear those sounds, so we will discuss that subject so you will be familiar with the spelling we are using.  The reason is that in each case the first letter is voiceless – in other words when you say that sound you do not vibrate your vocal cords.  The second letter in each case is voiced which means you do vibrate your vocal cords. 

The location on the chart also indicates the part of the mouth where these sounds are produced.          What is important is that in the Lenape language the ONLY time you have a voiced consonant is when it follows the letter N or M.  In other words, if you have a Lenape word like Kahes meaning Mother you simply put the N- (my) in front of it and you have Nkahes = my mother.  The only thing you have to remember is that the K is pronounced like a G because it has an N in front of it.  That also means the basic form of the word does not change because if we wrote that as a G the word would become Gahes or Ngahes which looks quite a bit different from the basic form of the word.


 

Special Consonant Combinations

 

 

Letters

At the beginning of a word

At the end of a word, or in the middle of a word before a vowel or before -h- or -x-

In the middle of a word before any consonant except  -h- or -x-

m + p

like the -b- in English "back"

Lenape:

Sound Icon mpa = I come

Sound Icon mpisun = medicine

like the -mb- in English "ember"

Lenape:

Sound Icon hèmpës = shirt

like the -mp- in English "hemp"

Lenape:

Sound Icon aonhèmpse = she has a blue dress

 

n + ch

like the -j- in English "jungle"

Lenape:

Sound Icon nchuski = I wade

Sound Icon nchu = friend (man to man)

like the -ng- in English "engine"

Lenape:

Sound Icon pënchi = he enters something through a small opening

like the -nch- in English "pinch"

Lenape:

Sound Icon mpënchtunèna = I put my finger in his mouth

 

n + k

like the -g- in English "go"

Lenape:

Sound Icon nkata =  I want

Sound Icon nkwis = my son

like the -ng- in English "anger"

Lenape:

Sound Icon winkàn = it tastes good

like the -nk- in English "tank"

Lenape: Sound Icon pëpankpe = it drips

 

n + s

like the -z- in English "zero"

Lenape:

Sound Icon nsùkwis = my mother-in-law

Sound Icon nsit = my foot

like the -ns- in English "answer"

Lenape:

Sound Icon answikàn = a fish net [note that the n + s combination nasalize the preceding vowel]

like the -ns- in English "answer"

Lenape:

Sound Icon anskan = last dance after a stomp dance [note that the n + s combination will nasalize the preceding vowel]

 

n + sh

Like Eng. -z- in Azure, or -s- in Measure,

Lenape:

Sound Icon nshis = my uncle

Sound Icon nshimwi = I flee

like the -nsh- in English "kinship"

Lenape: Sound Icon manshapi = a bead [note that the n + sh combination nasalize the preceding vowel]

like the -nsh- in English "kinship"

Lenape:

Sound Icon panshpèkw = cantaloupe [note

that the n + sh combination will nasalize the preceding vowel]

 

n + t

like the -d- in English "dip"

Lenape:

Sound Icon nta = I go

Sound Icon ntakohchi = I am cold

like the -nd- in English "wind"

Lenape:

Sound Icon ènta = when

like the -nt- in English "winter"

Lenape:

Sound Icon këntka = you dance

Stress

As stated in Lesson 1 in Lenape the stress normally falls on the vowel in the next to last syllable, as in the words Sound Icon salàpòn (frybread) and Sound Icon tipas (chicken).  If the vowel in the next to last syllable is an -ë- the stress will often be placed on the preceding syllable.  Here is an example Sound Icon nkëlënëmën (I carry it).  In these lessons we will underline the vowel if the stress falls on other than next to last syllable.


He and She; His and Her

In the Lenape language there are no separate pronouns for He and She, or for His and Her.  Unlike European languages (which includes English) the same pronoun forms are used for both genders. Here are some examples:

On Verbs:

Sound Icon mitsu                  he or she eats   

Sound Icon wëlinakwsu         he or she looks good

 

On Nouns:

Sound Icon wshètun              his or her lip

Sound Icon kwisa                   his or her son


Some New Words:  Beyond regular greetings: 

 

If you see a person you consider a friend, there are special terms you can use to greet him.  It is important to understand that these terms are used only in speaking to a friend and not one speaking of a friend. 

 

[Note:  Among the Lenape the use of the term “friend” is not used as freely as it is in English.  You would not normally use the friendship terms for someone you had only met a few days before.]

 

In Lenape the terms for “friend” are used only as man-to-man or woman-to-woman, and they are as follows:

 

         Sound Icon Nchu                                    Friend!  (man-speaking-to-man)

         Sound Icon Nchutia                                Dear Friend!  (man-speaking-to-man)

         Sound Icon Ichu                                    Friend!  (woman-speaking-to-woman)

 

A man can greet his man friend as follows:

 

        Sound Icon Hè, Nchu! Kulamàlsi hàch?     Hi, Friend!  How are you?

 

or the words could be arranged as:

 

        Sound Icon Hè! Kulamàlsi hàch, Nchu?     Hi!  How are you, Friend?

 

If you meet a person whom you haven't seen for a long time, you may say:

 

        Sound Icon Kpaihàkwinakwsi                 I haven't seen you for a long time

 

Then you can add:

 

        Sound Icon Ta(ni) hàch kta?                   Where did you go?

        Sound Icon Ta(ni) hàch kum?                  Where have you been? (or)

Where are you coming from?

 

You can answer the question above by saying:

 

        Sound Icon Kamink nta.                         I went to Bartlesville. (or) I am going to Bartlesville.

        Sound Icon Kàpink num.                         I came from Coffeyville.

 

Some words you might find useful:

 

Sound Icon ahowtu                                         it is too expensive

Sound Icon apuwawtu                                     it is inexpensive

Sound Icon Kèku hàch ktite?                           What do you think?

Sound Icon konàch                                         so what!; who cares?!

Sound Icon mahchikwi                                    it is no good

Sound Icon mitsi                                             eat

Sound Icon mitsikw                                         you people eat

Sound Icon mitsitàm                                       let’s eat

Sound Icon nuchkwe                                       it is useless

Sound Icon kèpe hàch?                                   you too?

 Sound Icon òk nèpe                                        me too

 Sound Icon punitu                                          leave it alone

Sound Icon puniw                                           leave him/her alone

Sound Icon wanìshi                                         thank you

Sound Icon wëntaxa                                       come here

 

and some for people with children:

 

Sound Icon chitkwësi                                       be quiet

Sound Icon këlamahpi                                     sit still  (or)  behave

Sound Icon lëmatahpi                                     sit down

Sound Icon nuwi                                             come here (this is the most common

    way to say this to children)