Massachusett (Wôpanâak / Wampanoag)

Massachusett is an Algonquian language spoken until late 19th century in the States of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, especially in Boston, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket by the Massachusett and Wampanoag nations. It was also one of first Native American languages encountered and learned by English settlers when they arrived in North America in the early 17th century.

Massachusett, which is also known as Massachusett-Narragansett, Wampanoag, Natick and Pokanoket, first appeared in writing in 1653 with the publication of a translation of the Catechism. This and other translations of religous work, including the Bible, were made by John Elliot (1604—1690), a clergyman and missionary who learnt the native languages of Massachusetts in order to preach to and convert the people.

The orthography developed by Elliot helped spread literacy in the Massachusetts nation and was used to produce such documents as wills and deeds. As a result, Massachusett is one of the best documented Native American languages.

Efforts are currently underway to reconstruct and revive the Algonquian languages of New England. The driving force behind this revival of Wampanoag (Wôpanâak) is Jessie "Little Doe" Fermino, a Mashpee Indian from Cape Cod, who launched the Wampanoag Dictionary Project, is working on a Wampanoag grammar, is developing a Wampanoag language curriculum, and is teaching the language to tribal members. She has studied linguistics at MIT, and has been helped and guided by Kenneth Hale (1934-2001), MIT professor of linguistics and philosophy.

Massachusett alphabet and pronunciation

Massachusett alphabet and pronunciation


Download an alphabet chart for Massachusett

Sample text (The Lord's Prayer)

Nooshun kesukqut, wunneetupantamuch koowesuounk. Peyamooutch ukkeitasootamounk. Toh anantaman ne n-naj okheit, neane kesukqut. Asekesukokish petukqunnegash assaminnean yeu kesukok. Ahquontamaiinnean nummatcheseongatch, neane matchenehikqueagig nutahquontamanóunonog. Ahque sagkompaguninnean en qutchhuaonganit, webe pohquohwussinnan wutch matchitut. Newutche keitassootamoonk, kutahtauun, menuhkesuonk, sohsumoonk micheme kah micheme. Amen.

Sample videos in and about Massachusett

Information about Massachusett | Tower of Babel


Information about the Massachusett Language

Information about the revival of New England Algonquian languages

Information about John Elliot

Algonquian languages

Abenaki, Algonquin, Arapaho, Atikamekw, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cree, Woods Cree, Kickapoo, Malecite-Passamaquoddy, Fox, Loup, Massachusett, Menominee, Miami, Míkmaq, Mohegan, Mohican, Montagnais, Munsee, Narragansett, Naskapi, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Ottawa, Powhatan, Potawatomi, Quiripi, Shawnee, Unami (Lenape)

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

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