Omaha is a Siouan language spoken in Nebraska in the
USA by 60 people, 25 of whom are fluent, and of of whom
are over 60 years old. Omaha is mutually intelligible
with Ponca, which has a handful of speakers in Oklahoma
and Nebraska. The Omaha and Ponca people consider
their languages to be separate, however some
consider them variants of one language: Omaha-Ponca,
which is part of the Dhegiha dialect continuum along
with Kansa, Osage and Quapaw.
The Omaha language was first documented in 1890 and 1891
by James O. Dorsey for the Bureau of American Ethnology. He
devised a way of writing the language, known as the Dorsey
Orthography, and other researchers came up with other ways
of writing the language.
The orthography shown one below is used in the Omaha Nation
Public School in Macy in Nebraska, and in Omaha Language Classes
at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Omaha alphabet and pronunciation
An accute accent (á) is used to indicate syllable stress, and
stress placement can change the meaning of words. For example:
wáthatʰe = table; wathátʰe = food
Sources: http://omahaponca.unl.edu/pages/introduction, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha-Ponca_language
Part of The first battle between the Omahas and the Ponkas after the death of Black Bird (Dorsey Orthography)
\op Di´xe e´goñ-biama´. He´gazhi t'a´-biama´. Ga´xthoñ
athai´ te ha te´ une´.
\op Poñ´ka ama´di ahi´-biama´. Te´ wa´thatai te Poñ´ka ama´.
Ki the´-ma she´toñ
\op di´xe iñ´choñ giniñ´ te noñpe´hii te Umoñ´hoñ ama´;
uki´gthi'age e´goñ moñthiñ´i te.
\Small-pox / they were so, they say. / Not a few / they
died, they say. / Migrating / they went / , / buffalo / to
\Ponkas / at the / they arrived, they say. / Buffalo /
ate them / Ponkas / the (sub.). / And / these / that far /
\small-pox / now / recovered / when / were hungry /
Omahas / the (sub.); / indisposed / somewhat / they
Part of a recipe for cowboy bread (wamóskeshúga)
- Wamóskeshóga páxe tamiⁿkʰe.
- Úxpe tóⁿga théde btháska móⁿ.
- Wamóskexóde ózhiha wéthihoⁿ sáthoⁿ, niskiⁿthe, téskamoⁿsenibthípe, ní kí wawégahi shénoⁿ.
- Néxetishóga kʰé unéthe gahá ináthe péde moⁿshíatʰa.
- Thénoⁿ, wamóskexóde ithágahi támiⁿkʰe.
- Wamóskexóde tʰé ózhiha widénoⁿ óbimoⁿ.
- I will make cowboy bread.
- I use a large bowl with a flat bottom.
- I use a five pound bag of flour, salt, powdered milk, water and baking powder.
- I place the skillet on the grill above the fire.
- Next, I will mix the dough.
- I pour one half of the bag of flour into the bowl.
Information about the Omaha language
Omaha & Ponca Digital Dictionary
Other languages written with the Latin alphabet