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Mohawk (Kanien'keha)

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 a E e H h I i K k N n O o R r S s T t W w Y y
[ a ] [ e ] [ h ] [ i ] [ k ] [ n ] [ o ] [ r ] [ s ] [ t ] [ w ] [ y ]

Notes

  • 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 (')

Sample texts in Mohawk

Teiohonwa:ka ne'ni akhonwe:ia
Kon'tatieshon iohnekotatie
Wakkawehatie wakkawehatie.

Translation

The canoe is very fast. It is mine.
All day long I splash away.
I paddle along, I paddle along.

Okariata:ne tahotharatie
Tahsakohroria:ne ne tsi niho:ten
Ne se aonha:a thorihwaka:ion
Ne se aonha:a thorihwaka:ion

Translation

The mosquito is bringing a message
He's coming to tell us how poor he is.
The truth of the matter is, that
He is so old fashioned and brings the same old message.

Source: http://www.kahonwes.com/language/mohawk_stuff.html

Information about Mohawk | Tower of Babel in Mohawk | Mohawk learning materials

Links

Information about the Mohawk people and language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohawk_language

Mohawk words and phrases (with audio)
http://www.ohwejagehka.com/moh-body1.htm

Mohawk Language blog
http://kanienkeha.blogspot.com

Online Mohawk dictionaries
http://glosbe.com/en/moh/

The Mohawk Language Standardisation Project
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/training/literacy/mohawk/mohawk.html

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
http://www.tyendinaga.net

Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke
http://www.kahnawake.com

Iroquoian languages

Cayuga, Cherokee, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Wynadot

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet


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