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Lenape Talking Dictionary

By English WORD or PHRASE

By Lenape WORD or PHRASE

Lenape Lesson #11 - Time & Pronouns


Let's Talk Lenape!

Lesson #11


Let’s Take a Minute to Talk About Time:

    The Lenape people had no clocks so time was discussed by the time of day.  Here are many of the terms used starting in the very early morning. 

General terms for the times of the day:


Sound Icon pètapàn                                      dawn; it is approaching dawn; it is coming daylight; first light of day

Sound Icon kchinkwehële                              it is sunrise

Sound Icon kchinkwehëlak                            sunrise

Sound Icon òpàn                                           it dawns; morning

Sound Icon alàpaèk                                      morning       

Sound Icon alàpae                                        early in the morning

Sound Icon òpànke                                       next morning; tomorrow morning;

Sound Icon sëtpuk                                        tomorrow morning; early in the morning

Sound Icon nèsko paxhàkwe                        forenoon; before noon 

Sound Icon paxhàkwe                                   noon

Sound Icon kìshi paxhàkwe                           afternoon

Sound Icon lòku                                            evening; it is evening time

Sound Icon lòkwik                                         evening

Sound Icon lòkwëni                                       eveningtime

Sound Icon wëlòku                                       nice evening

Sound Icon wëli lòku                                    it is a nice evening

Sound Icon tòkanilòku                                  nice evening (beginning at sundown)

Sound Icon piske                                          it is night; it is dark (no light)

Sound Icon piskèk                                        night; dark

Sound Icon tòkanitpikàt                                nice, pleasant night          

Sound Icon laitpuko                                      midnight      


Terms and concepts adopted from Europeans:


Sound Icon kwëti spànkweokàn                       one second (lit: one blink of the eye)

Sound Icon mìnìt                                              minute

Sound Icon awël                                               hour

Sound Icon këlak                                              clock; o’clock

Sound Icon newa këlak                                     it is four o’clock

Sound Icon Kèxa hèch këlak?                          What time is it?

Sound Icon Tèlën òk palenàxk kìshi newa.      It is four-fifteen.

Sound Icon Tèlën mìnìt xu palenàxk.               It is ten minutes to five.


Some other time related words:


Sound Icon yukwe                                            now

Sound Icon yukwe ènta kishkwik                     today

Sound Icon alàpa                                            yesterday

Sound Icon lòkëwe                                         tomorrow

Sound Icon lòmëwe                                        long ago

Sound Icon lilòmëwe                                       very long ago

Sound Icon kishux                                          month; sun; moon




      Before we look at the Lenape verbs we need to look at pronouns.  In Lenape pronouns frequently are attached to the verb but there is a set called the separable pronouns that can stand by themselves.  They are as follows:                      


First Person                                I                                                              Sound Icon ni

Second Person                            you                                                        Sound Icon ki

Third Person                               he (or)  she                                            Sound Icon nèka


First Person  Plural Exclusive    we [other person(s) and me]                  Sound Icon niluna

First Person Plural Inclusive      we  [you and me]                                    Sound Icon kiluna

Second Person Plural                 you  [plural: you-all; you people]           Sound Icon kiluwa

Third Person Plural                    they                                                        Sound Icon nèkao


        For the plural pronouns, the only possible surprise is kiluna, which translates as ‘we’ but specifically includes the listener whereas niluna specifically excludes the listener.  Thus kiluna is often described as first person INCLUSIVE, whereas niluna is referred to as first person EXCLUSIVE based on the inclusion or exclusion of the listener.


Examples of how they are used:


Sound Icon Lënape hèch ki?                          Are you a Delaware?

Sound Icon Kàchi hèch ki?                             How about you?

Sound Icon Awèn hèch ki?                             Who are you?

Sound Icon Kèxiti Lënape ni.                         I am a little bit Delaware.

Sound Icon Pahsi Lënape ni.                          I am half Delaware.

Sound Icon Pilaechëch ni.                              I am a boy.

Sound Icon Ku ta ni!                                       Not me!

Sound Icon Lënape ta ni!                               I am a Delaware!


More on Building Sentences:


 We will use Kawi – to sleep for these examples.


Sound Icon Kawi                                                 He is asleep.

Sound Icon Mèchi kawi.                                      He is already asleep.

 Sound Icon Kati kawi.                                        He almost went to sleep.

Sound Icon Kati kawi na skixkwe.                      The young woman almost went to sleep.

Sound Icon Mèchi kìshi kawi.                             He already finished sleeping.

Sound Icon Kahta kawi.                                      He wants to go to sleep.

Sound Icon Kahta yukwe kawi.                          He wants to sleep now.      

Sound Icon Kawi na sëksit pushis.                    The black cat is asleep.

Sound Icon Piskèke xu nkawi.                           Tonight I will sleep.

Sound Icon Na lënu tàkiti kawi.                          The man slept just a short time.

Sound Icon Hakink kawi.                                   He slept on the ground.

Sound Icon May kawi.                                       You go (somewhere) and sleep

Sound Icon Kawi hèch?                                    Are you asleep?

Sound Icon Nkawi                                             I sleep;  I slept. 

Sound Icon Nkata kawi.                                    I want to sleep.

Sound Icon Nkati kawi.                                     I almost went to sleep.

Sound Icon Nëwinki kawi.                                I like to sleep

Sound Icon Nkata yukwe kawi.                        I want to go to sleep now

Sound Icon Wëlakwihe sòmi nkëshsi, ntala kawi.        Last night it was too hot, I couldn't sleep.

Sound Icon kawënhe                                       he is putting him to sleep (to bed)

Sound Icon kèhkawihink                                  anesthetic; something to put someone to sleep


          In Lenape there is also a bound form that can be used to describe ways to sleep or things that can happen while you sleep.  It is, –unkòm.


Sound Icon nkatunkòm                                 I am sleepy

Sound Icon katunkòm hèch?                         are you sleepy?

Sound Icon kahtunkòm                                 he is sleepy

Sound Icon wëlunkòm                                   he slept well

Sound Icon kitunkòm                                    he sleeps soundly

Sound Icon këkhitunkòm                              he sleeps very soundly

Sound Icon ayëhèlunkòm                              he oversleeps; he sleeps late

Sound Icon ntayëhelunkòm                           I slept late