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Mohawk language, alphabet and pronunciation

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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.

Mohawk alphabet (Iewennonnià:tha)

Notes

  • A long vowel is indicated by a colon (:)
  • An acute accent (á) indicates a short high tone
  • A grave accent with a colon (à:) indicates a long falling tone
  • An acute accent with a colon (á:) indicates a long rising tone
  • a glottal stop is indicated with an apostrophe (')

Download an alphabet chart for Mohawk (Excel)

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: [www.kahonwes.com]

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

Links

Information about the Mohawk people and language
[en.wikipedia.org]

Mohawk words and phrases (with audio)
[www.ohwejagehka.com]

Mohawk Language blog
[kanienkeha.blogspot.com]

Online Mohawk dictionaries
[glosbe.com]

The Mohawk Language Standardisation Project
[www.edu.gov.on.ca]

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
[www.tyendinaga.net]

Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke
[www.kahnawake.com]

Iroquoian languages

Cayuga, Cherokee, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Wendat

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet


If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.

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