Lakota Sioux (Lakȟótiyapi)

Lakota is spoken mainly in North Dakota and South Dakota in the USA, and also in northern Nebraska, northeast Wyomning and southeast Montana. In North Dakota Lakota is spoken in Bismark and Standing Rock reservation (Íŋyaŋ Woslál Háŋ). In South Dakota it is spoken in Cheyenne River, Lower Brule reservation, Pine Ridge, Rapid City and Rosebud. In 1997 there were about 2,100 speakers of Lakota, most of whom are older adults. There are efforts to revitalise the language, with classes at all levels of education from preschool to university.

The name "Sioux" is a French version of the Ojibwa word nadewisou, which means "treacherous snakes". The native names for the Sioux mean "An Alliance of Friends", which is Lakhota in the Teton dialect. There are a number of different spellings of these names. Lakota is also known as Lakhota, Lakotiyapi, Teton or Teton Sioux.

Written Sioux

Lakota was first written by European and American missionaries in about 1840. Since then a number of way to write the language have been developed. The most commonly-used one was developed for the New Lakota Dictionary, which was published in 2008 by the Lakota Language Consortium.

Lakota alphabet and pronunciation

Lakota alphabet and pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Lakota

Sample texts

Turtle Moccasin Boy

Hećeś hokśila wan kunśitku kićilaḣći ti śke. Yunkan anpetu wan el kunśitku kin ćanḳin iyaya ćanke hokśila kin iśnala tiyata yanke ćin ićunhan hitunkala wan taku yaḳoġa-han ća naḣun keye. Ḳeyaś he winuḣćala kin woyute mahel yuha kin hokśila kin hehanhunniyan slolye śni keye. Ho, tka wana le naḣun kin un wole yunkan wasna wan lila waśte kunśitku kin gnaka ća he e ća hitunkala kin yuta-han keye.

Part of a story called "Turtle Moccasin Boy" written down by Ella Deloria and in the Riggs 1852 orthography

Hear a recording of this text by Jared Lanz

Source: - shows the same text in eight different Lakota spelling systems

Man rescued by eagles

Eháŋni héčheš oyáte waŋ igláka áyiŋ na waná éthipi yuŋhĥáŋ wičháša waŋ tĥawiču kiŋ hečíya: "Winúĥča, itĥó wayé mní kte ló, " eyá.

Ečháš toháŋ waglí šni héhaŋ éna thí po, " eyá.

Hear a recording of this text by Jared Lanz


Long ago, the tribe was moving camp and were erecting their tipis at the new place when a man said to his wife: " Wife, I think I must go out and hunt."

So don't move on with the tribe if they should go on, but stay camped here until I return."

An extract from "Man rescued by eagles" by George Bushotter

You can see and hear the complete story at

Article 1 of the UDHR

Wičháša na wíŋyaŋ otóiyohi iglúhapi na iyéhaŋyaŋ wówažapi. Tȟaŋmáhel slol'íč'iyapi na kičhíwičhowepi s'e kičhíčhuwapi kta héčha.
Translated into Lakota Sioux by Joe Bellman

Hear a recording of this text by Jared Lanz

Literal translation

Each and every man and woman is free and has equal rights to things. They are sure of themselves in their mind, and they should treat each other as if they were siblings.

Standard translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Sample videos in and about Lakota

Information about Lakota | Phrases | Numbers | Lakota and Dakota learning materials


Information about Lakota

Online Sioux language lessons

Online Sioux dicionaries

Lakhota Sioux Heritage, Culture and Language site

Oceti Wakan - Sacred Fireplace (a non profit dedicated to the preservation of lakota culture and language)

Siouan languages

Assiniboine, Biloxi, Chiwere, Crow, Dakota, Hidatsa, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Lakota, Mandan, Omaha, Osage, Quapaw, Stoney, Tutelo

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 24.09.23


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