LENAPE - The Language

The Unami dialect of the Lenape Language

   I have heard comments, in the past, about the correct spelling of
Lenape words.  I have even been told by a couple of people that I do not take spelling seriously enough.  This all confuses me for the following reasons:
1.  Lenape has a unique alphabet.  We now view the words in an alphabet other than it's own.
2.  Rather than transliteration (exchanging letter by letter from one alphabet to the other), phonetic spellings are most commonly used in order to get good speach.
3.  There are two (2) or three (3) different phonetic systems commonly used for Lenape, which yields different spellings.  (these are all the same word:  mochamsa, muchamsa, mohchamsa, muhchamsa, moxamsa, muxamsa (I prefer the "x" for the hard gutteral "H"))
4.  There are three major dialects of Lenape (Unami, Munsee, Utilatico).  We are users of the Unami.  The amount of interaction between the dialects in a particular geographic area  has an influence on phonetic spelling.
5.  Geographic distance, time of separation, difference in experiences and history all cause a shift in phonetic speach (Lenape who were forced by the Trail of Tears to move to Ok. speak differently than those who ended up staying on the east coast).  A friend once asked me if I meant that some Lenape speak with a southern drawl...I guess that comes close to the point. 

   Clicking on the Lenape  to the right of the definition will let you hear how it is said.

   One of the most important words/phrases in any language is "Thank you".  We say "wanishi."
   We say "You're welcome" by saying "anishi."
   We often end our prayers with "Wanishi Anishi."
   "We are all related" or "All my Relations".
He!  "Hello!" Pronounced like "hay," only crisper.
Eh-Eh  Yes or ok.








Last updated on

Status Bar Flasher