Mohawk is an Iroquoian language with about 3,350 speakers, most of whom are
elderly, though there are younger speakers in some areas. There are six
Mohawk-speaking communities: Tyendinaga, Wáhta, and
Ohswé:ken in Ontario; Kahnawà:ke and
Kanehsatà:ke in Quebec, and Ahkwesáhsne in
Quebec, Ontario and New York State.
The native name for the Mohawk language, Kanien'keha, means
'people of the flint'. The term Mohawk comes from a name meaing 'man-eaters'
used by their Algonquian enemies.
Mohawk was first written by French missionaries in the early 18th. They
devised a spelling system based on French pronunciation and used it to
produce Mohawk translations of various religious and legal documents.
Mohawk has been taught in schools since 1970, and in 1972, a group of
educators, translators and Elders developed an orthography for the language.
Several other spelling systems have been used for Mohawk.
A standard form of written Mohawk was agreed on at the Mohawk Language
Standardisation Conference, held in August 1993 at Tyendinaga.
[ a ]
[ e ]
[ h ]
[ i ]
[ k ]
[ n ]
[ o ]
[ r ]
[ s ]
[ t ]
[ w ]
[ y ]
ˋ: = a long vowel with a falling tone, e.g. à:
´: = a long vowel with a high tone, e.g. á:
´ = a stressed vowel with a rising tone, e.g. á
a glottal stop is indicated with an apostrophe (')