Delaware (Lenape) Tribe of Indians
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Delaware (Lenape) Tribe - Language

The language is called Lenape, just like the tribe. Unfortunately it is almost an extinct language with only a few elders, all 90+ in age, who speak it fluently. 

You can hear some of the words by going to the Delaware (Lenape) tribal website's language pages. They are in live audio format. 

The sounds in Lenape are arranged differently from those in English. The Lenape's also lack the sounds of R, F, TH, V. They do, however, add the sound written as X (or ch in German) which sounds a bit like clearing the throat. There is also a voiceless L like in the Welsh language, and a voiceless W .

Many of the consonants in Lenape come in pairs, voiceless and voiced. They are as follows: 

voiced B D G J Z ZH 
voiceless P T K CH S SH 


Lenape Word Meaning
Achsinnaminschi Sugar Maple Tree
Lenape Original People
Mahchikwpi Paw-paw (fruit)
Mahchikwpiakw Paw-paw tree
Minsi the Lenape who lived in the upper reaches of the Delaware watershed
Munhacanimischi Dog Wood (Munsi)
Sakima a chief
Wėnilaxtiku Unalachtigo - The Lenape people who lived in the southern area. It was translated as "People detached from where there are waves."
Wėnami (Unami) Unami - The Lenape people who lived south of the Raritan River and the Delaware Water Gap
Kekw a wampum bead
Kekok wampum beads
Wikwam house

Lenape Word Animal / Bird
Ahas crow
Chihopčkėlis Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Chingwe bobcat
Chiskukus Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Chulėns bird
Hinutėt Wren (Picoides pubescens)
Lelčmbėlis Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
Ņkwės fox
Pukwčs mouse
Sėnihėle Sparrow Hawk -or- American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Sąngwe weasel
Tąnktiyas Tufted Titmouse (Parus bicolor)
Tąskėmus Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Tėmakwe beaver
Tėme wolf
Tihtės Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Wetėndeis Scarlet Tanager (Pirange olivacea)
Wisawtayas American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Xanikw squirrel


Lenape Name Meaning
Ahsėn'pink A rocky place that is watery
Kanshihaking Elegant Land
Mėneyung Place to drink
Mochijirickhicken a large river where there are tides
Pahsayung in the valley
Pahsayek Valley
Pėnėpekw water that flows downwards
Siskuwihane muddy river
Wikweko place where something ends
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