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
pages. They are in live audio format.
NOTE: The Delaware (Lenape) tribal website's language pages are no longer online. the link goes to the WayBack Machine archives.
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
|Achsinnaminschi||Sugar Maple Tree|
|Minsi||the Lenape who lived in the upper reaches of the Delaware watershed|
|Munhacanimischi||Dog Wood (Munsi)|
|Wënilaxtiku||Unalachtigo - The Lenape people who lived in the southern area. It was translated as "People detached from where there are waves."|
|Wënami (Unami)||Unami - The Lenape people who lived south of the Raritan River and the Delaware Water Gap|
|Kekw||a wampum bead|
|Lenape Word||Animal / Bird|
|Chihopèkëlis||Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)|
|Chiskukus||Robin (Turdus migratorius)|
|Hinutët||Wren (Picoides pubescens)|
|Lelèmbëlis||Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)|
|Sënihële||Sparrow Hawk -or- American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)|
|Tànktiyas||Tufted Titmouse (Parus bicolor)|
|Tàskëmus||Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)|
|Tihtës||Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)|
|Wetëndeis||Scarlet Tanager (Pirange olivacea)|
|Wisawtayas||American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)|
|Ahsën'pink||A rocky place that is watery|
|Mëneyung||Place to drink|
|Mochijirickhicken||a large river where there are tides|
|Pahsayung||in the valley|
|Pënëpekw||water that flows downwards|
|Wikweko||place where something ends|