Story


Lenape:     Wàni Lënape Elixsit
English:     The Language of the Delawares . . . Told by James C. Webber (1877 - 1950) to anthropologist Frank Speck in 1928. It is copied from an old phonograph record which is in the Library of the American Philosophical Society. It is probably the earliest recording of the Lenape language. This talk was re-edited by linguist Ives Goddard. Where there are skips on the record we use *** to indicate that a word or part of a word is missing.

Lenape:     Nitape, kexaptun kèku ntëluwen.
English:     Fellow tribesmen, that I say a few words
Lenape:     èli nuwatun mèchi yukwe she petelëmukwenkw
English:     For I know that, at the present time to which our granted existence has come,
Lenape:     ahi hwëska ahot.
English:     it is more than ever difficult.
Lenape:     ahaluwi kikishkwike òk kikahtinke alëmi taonkën
English:     More and more, every day and every year, it proceeds to be lost
Lenape:     wàni Lënape elixsit ok tòsuwakana,
English:     the Delaware language and songs,
Lenape:     nal ta ne (ònkuwakàn?) òk wèmi èlaehòsit.
English:     as well as their (old ways? [meaning not clear]) and all their practices.
Lenape:     yukwe yu she [ènta] (ni) ayahpamskaa, wehënchiòpànk
English:     Here now where I have been traveling around in the East
Lenape:     shòhpiye, lòmëwe ehëlaikèhtit (?) kikayëmënaninka,
English:     by the seashore, is where long ago our departed ancestors used to make their homes,
Lenape:     ahpashèki lënunka,
English:     precious men now deceased,
Lenape:     sakimatamaòhtit nike lëkhikwi yuli Lënapeyo.
English:     who exercised authority over the Delawares at that time.
Lenape:     *** Pemënënt òk xaheli khikuwi lënunka.
English:     *** Pemenent and many older men.
Lenape:     Na *** naka kwëti hilusësa luwènsu
English:     One of those old men was named
Lenape:     luwènsu Kwèhkwilunt, òk
English:     he was named Kwehkwilunt, and
Lenape:     nahëlii naka nëmuxumsa, ènta pèchi sakimawhenk,
English:     in addition my late grandfather, when he was made chief,
Lenape:     luwènsu Weòxelinkòt.
English:     he was named Weoxelinkot.
Lenape:     Mèchi yukwe she ènta nèpe wihìchi
English:     Now at present when I too assist in
Lenape:     achimulsia yukwe ni she pe maikeyànkw wëntahkwi ehëliwsikak.
English:     the council over in the West where we now make our homes.
Lenape:     *** wanëshi; nulelëntam ènta iapchi kàski mëshatàma
English:     *** thanks; I am glad when I am yet again able to remember
Lenape:     ntëli a weitahkënutàmën ehëlaehòsit
English:     how I might explain their customary practice
Lenape:     òk wëntamasin ehëlasuwink Lënapei asuwakàna.
English:     and show how Delaware songs are customarily sung.
Lenape:     Enta anhùkwi li milak nimahtësàk Weòpsit, yukwe she wèmi
English:     Where I additionally gave my brothers, the Whiteman, all that now
Lenape:     *** yuni khikhakàn ehëluwènsink Pennsylvania;
English:     *** this state which is called Pennsylvania;
Lenape:     òk wèmi yul she sipuwa: Lënapei Sipu, Hudson River,
English:     and all these rivers: Delaware River, (and) Hudson River,
Lenape:     ehëluwèntànk wàni shëwanakw; òk naheli
English:     as it is called by the White people, and in addition
Lenape:     Siskuwahënèk, wàni kimahtësëna weòpsit ehëluwèntank Susquehanna;
English:     Siskuwahënèk, which our brother the Whiteman calls Susquehanna;
Lenape:     pèchi ika wëli New York ènta hànkw Hupokan
English:     right up to New York, it is called Hupokàn (hupokàn means-'pipe' i.e. Hoboken).
Lenape:     luwensik utènay. *** wanëshi; lahapa nàni txi.
English:     a town is called (that). thanks; that's all for now.