Chapter 2: Human Beings and Family Relations

by Dr. Frank Waabu O'Brien, Aquidneck Indian Council

This short treatise stems from the research of the Massachusett-Narragansett Revival Program, a project for the reconstruction of the extinct American Indian languages of southeastern New England. Our intention is to make these works available to a wide audience. The main text shows translations for about 300 terms for Spirits, family relations, and kinship, taken from the extinct languages of southeastern New England, Narragansett and Massachusett. A summary of useful grammatical concepts for dependent nouns (family relatives) is listed below.

Each section contains three columns. On the left is the term being defined, as defined in the middle column, and any useful comments on the right side. "Reconstructed" refers to my own "guess" as to meaning. The abbreviation "Narr." refers to Narragansett Language (Roger Williams, 1643). The citation "Mayhew" refers to E. Mayhew's 1722 letter on the local languages—perhaps the only written language description by a fluent speaker. We use the special digraph (infinity symbol) ∞ to refer the sound oo as in "food" whereas other writers prefer the "8" symbol for this sound. "Native Spelling" refers to old, original writings by Wampanoag speakers (collected in Goddard and Bragdon, 1988). These writings have given us terms and insights not previously recorded or understood by the classical 17th/18th century writers such as John Eliot ("The Apostle to the Indians"). When no source language/dialect is indicated, assume source to be either J. Eliot (1663/1666) or J. Cotton (1707/1830), Massachusett language.

The words for relations and relationships are very complex and not completely understood. For example, “sister” may refer to many relations: a blood-related sister, a half sister, foster sister (through adoption), companions of same wetu [wigwam], longhouse or clan, or other relationships. Also, “my sister” is said differently if the speaker is a male or a female. This paper has some question marks since we’re not certain at this time.

Pronunciation of words is not attempted owing to the scanty knowledge we have of these languages. For technical guidelines, see Goddard and Bragdon (1988) or the author's paper, "Guide to Historical Spellings & Sounds in the Extinct New England American Indian Languages Narragansett-Massachusett” (March, 2005). The author’s brief summary of the grammatical features of Narragansett and Massachusett is contained in Grammatical Studies in the Narragansett Language (2005, Aquidneck Indian Council, unpub.)

Human Beings and Family Relations

Human Beings and Family Relations

Algonquian

(∞ = oo as in food)

Comment

my mother

nókas

n∞kas

nókace (Narr.)

nítchwhaw (Narr.)

 

 

literally, I come from her. The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference).

My late (deceased) mother

nókasi

  absentative form

  reconstructed

your mother (singular)

kókas

k∞kas

different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

the mother of him or her

ókasoh

 

 

obviative form

her mother ?

wútchēhwau

wítchwhaw (Narr.)

 

his late (deceased) mother

oohkassuk

  absentative form

  Native spelling

our mother

nokasun

reconstructed

mother

ókas

giver of life on earth. The word ohke meaning earth, homeland, Mother Earth comes from the root for mother.

a mother

ókasu

 

all mothers, motherhood

ókasinneunk

-unk plural form

 

any mother, a mother

wutokasin

wuttookāsin

The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

my father

n∞sh

nòsh (Narr.)

 

  wutch negone n∞shik = I have come from my forefathers

  nookoosh "I have a father" (Mayhew)

my late (deceased) father

n∞shi

absentative form

  nooksha = "My father that was (but now is not)", Mayhew

your father (singular)

k∞sh

cuttso = "Have you a father?"

(Mayhew)

your late (deceased) father

k∞shi

absentative form

 

your father (plural)

k∞sh∞

Biblical--God is Father to all

his father

oohskok (Mayhew)

osh (Narr.)

Roger Williams gives "a father" for osh

the father of him or her

∞shoh

obviative form

our father (plural)

n∞shun

appears in Lords Prayer

our fathers (plural)

nooshunnanog

Native spelling

our late (deceased) father

n∞shinnon

absentative form

your late (deceased) father (singular)

k∞shinnan

  absentative form

  Native spelling (authors translation)

your late (deceased) fathers (plural)

kooshinnanuk

  absentative form

  Native spelling (authors translation)

 

your forefathers (plural)

negone kooshoowog

 

our forefathers (plural)

negone nooshunnōnuk

 

a father

osh (Narr.)

see "his father"

all fathers, fatherhood

wut∞shinneunk

-unk plural form

 

he who is a father

wut∞shimau

 

I am a married man

nummittumwussissu

  Npaktam (Narr.) = I am divorced

  In mod. Amer. English, a sannup is a married Native American man.

  Spelled sanomp in historic times

my husband

nasuk

obviously a woman speaking

your husband (singular)

kasuk

 

your husbands (plural)

 

kahsukowoog

refers to husbands of women; does not mean women with many husbands

her husband

wasukeh

wussentam = he marries

a husband

wasŭkkion

wasěkkien

wsick (Narr.)

The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

a widower

segaûo (Narr.)

see a widow under WIFE

"polygamy"[1]

nquittócaw (Narr.)

neesócaw (Narr.)

sshócawaw (Narr.)

yócawaw (Narr.)

I have one wife

I have 2 wives

I have 3 wives

I have 4 wives

I am a married woman

n∞wetauattam

 

my wife

nummittamwus

noweéwo (Narr.)

nullógana (Narr.)

 

  obviously a man speaking

  waumaûsu = "she/he is loving"

 

my wives ?

nummittamwussuog ?

not sure of

your wife (singular)

kummittamwus

cummíttamus (Narr.)

coweéwo (Narr.)

 

your wives (plural)

kummittamwussog

some men had more that one wife, but the word seems to mean the wives of all you men

the wife of him

ummittamwussoh

nequt ∞kauau = he has one wife

a wife

mittamwus (or) mittumwussis

weéwo (Narr.)

wullógana (Narr.)

ummittamwussu (or) ummittamwussuissu = he takes a wife; he takes as a wife

any wife

ummittamwussin

 

a widow

sekousq

woman left behind

widows (plural)

sekousquaog

 

Pregnant woman

neechaw (Narr.)

She is pregnant.

  paugctche nechawaw = she is already delivered.

  Kitummyi mes nechaw = She has just now delivered.

my son

nunnaumon

 

 

my sons (plural)

 

nunnaumonog

wame nunnaumonunk = all my sons

your son (singular)

kenaumon

kenômon

The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

your sons (plural)?

kenaumononog

not sure of

the son of him/her

wunnaumonuh

obviative

his/her sons (plural)

wunnaumonuhog

 

my grandson (my sons son--the son of my son")

nunnaumon wunnaumonoh

  two words here

  obviative

younger, youngest son

muttásons

-s implies diminutive

our sons (plural)

nunnaumonnanonog

Native spelling

a son, son of anyone

wunnaumoniin

 

a son of someone

mukkatchouks

In Narragansett,

nummckquchucks = my son

sons of someone (plural)

mukkatchouksog

 

my daughter

nuttaun

 

my daughter

nuttaunes

-es seems to be diminutive form

my daughters (plural)

nuttaunesog

 

my mothers daughter

wuttónoh n∞kas

  two words here

  obviative form

my fathers daughter ?

wuttónoh n∞sh

  not sure

  obviative form

your daughter (singular)

kuttaunes

-es seems to be diminutive form

the daughter of him or her

wuttaunoh

  obviative form

  he begets or has a daughter, she bears a daughter = wuttneu (or) wuttauniyeu

his daughter

her daughter ?

wuttaun

not sure of her daughter

his/her daughters (plural)

wuttaunog

 

our daughters (plural)

nuttaunnónog

 

a daughter, any daughter

wuttaunin

 

a second daughter

noh adtóekit

she who is next in age

daughters (plural)

wuttanog

 

younger, youngest daughter

muttásons

 

all daughters, daughterhood

wuttaunéunk

-unk plural form

 

my brother (by birth)

male speaking

 

neemat

 

 

 

used only by a man or male (a male says this of his brother)

 

my brother (by birth)

female speaking

neetompas

used only by a woman or female (a female says this of her brother)

my brothers (by birth)

(plural)

male speaking

neematog

used only by a man or male (a male says this of his brothers ). Word used also by Eliot to mean brethren

my brothers (by birth)

(plural)

female speaking

 

neetompasog

used only by a woman or female (a female says this of her brothers)

my older brother

nunnohtónukqus

 

your brother (by birth) (singular)

male speaking

 

keemat

 

 

 

 

 

a male is speaking

about your brother (by birth, but used also as

brethren by Eliot)

 

 

your brother ( by birth) (singular)

female speaking

keetompas

a female is speaking about your brother

(by birth)

your brothers ( by birth) (plural)

male speaking

 

keematog

a male is speaking about your brothers (by

birth , but used as

brethren by Eliot)

your brothers ( by birth) (plural)

female speaking

 

 

keetompasog

 

 

a female is speaking about your brothers

(by birth)

your brothers (talking to more than one person about your brothers)

kematt∞wóog

your brethren in Eliot

your older brother?

kenohtônukqus

not sure of

his or her brother

weetompas

used by either sex for either sex, and may refer to a non-blood relation or of same wetu, longhouse or clan

his/her brothers ( by birth) (plural)

weematog

weematttuog = they are brothers

we are brothers

nomattimen

  exclusive form

  reconstructed

the brother of him by birth or born in same household

weematoh

obviative form

the brother of her by birth or born in same household

male speaking

 

weetáhtuoh

 

  obviative form

  a male is speaking about her brother; used for one of same biological family or of same wetu, longhouse or clan

the younger brother of him or her

wessummussoh

  obviative form

  male or female speaking

the older brother of her?

wunnohtónukqusoh

 

his/her oldest brother

mohtomégitche

mohtomégit

The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

a brother, any ones brother

wematin

∞wemàttin

The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

all brothers, brotherhood

weemattinneunk

-unk plural form

 

my sister (by birth), father or mothers daughter

male speaking

 

neetompas

a male is speaking about my sister

my sister

fathers daughter ?

male speaking

 

nummissus

a male is speaking about my sister

my sister (by birth or not)

female speaking

netukkusq

a female is speaking about my sister. Used for a half sister or one of same wetu, longhouse or clan

 

my sisters (by birth)

father or mothers daughters

male speaking

 

neetompasog

a male is speaking about

my sisters

your sister (singular), fathers daughter

male speaking

 

kummissis

a male is speaking about

your sister

your sisters (by birth), (plural)

father or mothers daughters

male speaking

 

keetompas

a male is speaking about your sisters

your sisters (by birth or not) (plural)

fathers daughters ?

female speaking

ketukkusqquog ?

a female is speaking about your sisters. Used for half sisters or one of same wetu, longhouse or clan

 

your sisters (plural)

fathers daughters ?

male speaking

 

kummissisog

a male is speaking about

your sisters

the younger sister of him or her

wessummussoh

  obviative form

  male or female speaking of his or her sister

his or her sister (by birth or not)

father or mothers daughter

weetompassu (or)

weetompas

 

 

 

 

used by either sex for either sex, and may refer to a non-blood relation or of same wetu, longhouse or clan

his or her sister

fathers daughter

 

ummissés

-es diminutive form

the sister of him or her

ummissésoh

obviative form

the sister of him

weetáhtuoh

  obviative form

  a male speaking of his sister or kinswoman

his/her oldest sister

mohtomégitche

mohtomégit

The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

the sister of him or her

weetuksquoh

 

  obviative form

  may refer to ones non blood sister in the same wetu, longhouse or clan

our sister

ummissiesin

 

a sister, half sister, same family or household

weetahtu

may refer to ones non blood sister in the same wetu, longhouse or clan

a sister, any sister

ummissiesin

neetat (or) wetompasin

   

  female speaking

a son, a male child

mukkatchouks

  In Narragansett,

nummckquchucks = my son, my boy

  My pupil or ward = nullquaso (Narr.)

o peewauqun = "look well to him"

sons, male children (plural)

mukkatchouksog

 

young man (a youth, teenager) (singular)

nunkomp

 

young men (youths, teenagers) (plural)

nunkompaog

 

very young man, boy

nunkompaes

younger than nunkomp

very young men, boys (plural)

nunkompaesog

 

orphan (see CHILD)

 

 

girl , teenager

nunksqua

 

girls, teenagers (plural)

nunksquaog

young women

little girl

nunksquaes

squáese (Narr.)

little young woman

orphan (see CHILD)

 

 

my grandmother, mothers mother

nokummus

 

your grandmother (singular)

kokummus

 

 

his/her grandmother

okummus

used as simply grandmother

a grandmother, any grandmother

wutt∞kummīssin

addressing one respectfully as grandmother

my grandfather,

fathers father

nummissoomis

Native spelling

my late (deceased) grandfather

numissoomissi

  absentative form

  Native spelling

 

your grandfather (singular)

kummissoomis

reconstruction

his/her grandfather

ummissoomis

Native spelling

the grandfather of him/her

ummiss∞missoh

  Native spelling

  obviative form

a grandfather, any grandfather (fathers father?)

wutt∞tchĭkkĭnneasin

addressing one respectfully as grandfather

male elder

kehchis

he is old

male elders (plural)

kehchisog

kehchisog wantamwog = the old are wise

female elder

kehchissqua

she is old

female elders (plural)

kehchissquaog

 

my son-in-law

nosénemuck (Narr.)

he is my son-in-law

a son-in-law

wasénnumkqutche

 

the son-in-law (daughters husband)

wussénum

he is the son-in-law

my daughter-in-law (sons wife)

nushin

reconstructed

your daughter-in-law (singular)

kushin

 

daughter-in-law of him/her

wushimoh

obviative form

any daughter-in-law

wushimin

 

my aunt

nokummes

little grandmother ? (because of -es diminutive form)

your aunt (singular)

kokummes

 

his/her aunt

okummes

reconstructed

aunt, in general

wutt∞kkummīssin

 

my uncle

n∞susses

my uncle by mothers side

your uncle (singular)

k∞susses

 

his/her uncle

wussisses

wussusses

The different spellings show different ways it was said in different places (dialect difference)

wife of his uncle

ummittamwussoh ∞shesoh

  two words here

  obviative form

an uncle, in general

∞shesin

 

a cousin (by blood, marriage?), my kinsman, my kinswoman

adtonkqs

blood cousins are not unheard of

my female cousin

nutónkqs

also used for kinswoman

my female cousins

(plural)

nutonkqsog

also used for kinswomen

my kinswomen (plural) (my sisters)

nettahueog

Native spelling

my relative (singular)

nuttauwam

Native spelling

my relatives (plural)

nuttauwamoog

Native spelling

your female cousin (singular)

kadtonkqs

also used for kinswoman

your female cousins (plural)

kadtonkqsog

also used for kinswomen

the cousins of her (plural)

wadtunkqusoh

 

his cousin, a cousin

watóncks (Narr.)

 

my kinsman, kinswoman, my relatives, in general

nuttauwatueonk

my people

abstract noun form

general respectful greeting of ones own people or allies (males)

nuttonkqsog

sirs

 

they are cousins

wattonksttuog (Narr.)

 

my friend, my kinsman

neetomp

neetop (Narr.)

 

also used as a friendly brother, my brother.

my friends, kinsmen (plural)

neetompaog

 

your friend, kinsman (singular)

keetomp

reconstructed

your friends, kinsmen (plural)

keetompaog

reconstructed

his/ her friend, kin

weetomp

 

his/ her friends, kinfolk (plural)

weetompaog

 

out friend, kinsman

neetompun

reconstructed

our friends (plural)

netapaunnanog

Native spelling

companion of same wetu, longhouse, clan (singular)

wutuomp

 

a friend, kinsman, in general (singular)

weetompain

 

friends, comrades

wetompâchick (Narr.)

-chick implies the 3rd person plural, "subordinate" mode, meaning "they who are friends, comrades"

my companions or associates in war

nowepinnâchick (Narr.)

  -chick implies the 3rd person plural, "subordinate" mode

  • Nowepinntimin = we join together in war.
  • Nowechusettmmin = we are confederates.
  • Wechussittock = they join together in war.
  • Nechus ew = this is my associate, companion in war.

a womans kinsman, kinswoman (singular)

wuttinnunkkûmoin

her kinsman, kinswoman, relative ?

kinship, kindred, in general

ouwatūonk

abstract noun form

Guardian

waúchaûnat (Narr)

Guardians = wachamchick = "they who watch over, protect us"

infant

peisses

 

  he, she is very small, an infant

  nonnese (or) nonnnis (Narr.) = a suckling child.

o   Noonsu = he/she is a suckling child (a suckling).

baby, newborn

papoòs (Narr.)

papeissu

  papoose; an American Indian infant

  He, she is extremely small?

your infant sister

peississit keetompas

two words here

your infant brother ?

(not sure of)

peississit keemat

two words here

when he, she is small

peississit

appears to be subjunctive mode, -it

infants, in general

nag papeississitcheg

  those who are small, infants

  -cheg is a plural form similar to -chick in Narr., 3rd person plural, "They who __"

my child

nunnechân ?

my growing one

my children

nunnechânog

 

your child (singular)

kenechân

 

your children (plural)

kenechânog

 

his/her child

wunneechan

are born, come from him

his/her children (plural)

wunneechauog

are born, come from him

his late (deceased) children (plural)

wunnechannussukoh

  absentative form

  Native spelling

our children (plural)

nunnechononog

Native spelling

their children (plural)

wunnechannooah

Native spelling

a little child (boy)

mukki

bare bottom--no clothes for a boy till about 10 years old.

a very little child

mukkiēs

seems to be for boys only ?

little children (plural)

mukkiog

neechanog

more for boys

boy or girl

a suckling, in general

n∞nuk

 

a suckling child

n∞nukáe mukkies

children suckled many years to keep down population (nursing mothers cant get pregnant?)

terms of endearment

papeissesu

papeissisit

papéasek

little thing

children, offspring without regard to sex, age (plural)

neechanog

they are born

my offspring

nutontseonk

  abstract noun form

  my descendants

my grandchildren (plural)

n∞ssesog

Native spelling

fatherless children (plural)

towiúwock (Narr.)

 

twins

tackqíuwock (Narr.)

 

the children, in general

wunneechâneunk

  -unk plural form

  from us are born

guardian (See FRIEND)

 

 

orphan (see "fatherless childen" above)

 

 

a tribesman

enin (or) nnin

literally he is like us, one of us;

ninnu = he is a tribesman, one of us

a male

nompaas

 

a man (see HUSBAND)

sanomp

sunnup

not certain of meaning,

man in general?

a man

wosketomp

used once for young brave (warrior)

a man

skeetomp

common Algonquian word for "man in general"; plural adds"-oag"

warrior, war captain

keenomp

used once for warrior (war captain), valiant

warrior, high war captain

mugwomp

múckquomp (Narr.)

used once for warrior (war captain), great man, probably

higher than keenomp

war leaders (in battle)

negonshâchick (Narr.)

subjunctive form, they who are____

head Pinese Warrior

(War Chief)

missinnege

head Pinese Warrior of Wampanoag (Annawan was missinnege in King Philips War)

men (plural)

wosketompaog

used once for young braves (warriors)

warriors, war captains (plural)

keenompaog

used once for warriors (war captains), valiant

warriors, high war captains (plural)

mugwompoag

 

used once for warriors (war captains), great men, probably higher than keenompaog

a young man

wuskenin

 

an unmarried man

mat mittumwussĭssiuenin

"mat" = not

middle aged man

kutchínnu (Narr.)

getting, becoming old"

middle aged men (Plural)

kutchínnuwock (Narr.)

 

a very large man in size

magoshketomp

huge man, giant

a great man, noble

ahtuskou

A Councilman; plural = ahtuskowag

my great men, important leaders, nobles

nuttahtoskauwomog

Native spelling

a warrior, soldier, fighter (on your side)

ayeuteanin

ayeuhteu = he makes war, fights

warriors, soldiers, fighters (on your side) (plural)

ayeuteanūog

 

enemy warriors, soldiers, fighters (plural)

matwaûog (Narr.)

  enemies.

  mecautea = an enemy fighter

elite warrior, councilor, protector of The Massasoit of Wampanoag

pneise (or) pinese

specially trained elite warrior; not certain of word meaning, but it may be something like little spirit (or "bird") that moves all about. It has been said that one Pinese Warrior could chase away 100 men. Hobomock, In Massasoit's time, is one famous example of a pneise; plural = pniesesok

a man of different tribe,

nation, race

missinnin

used for captives, tribes paying tribute, a captive

men of different tribe,

nation, race (plural)

missinniúnnog

used for captives, tribes paying tribute, captives

sachim (village leader, "chief")

sâchem (or) sâchim

sontim (Native spelling)

the strong one. Europeans used Sagamore to mean a lesser leader (perhaps corrupted from Delaware lang, sakima = "He is sachem"

sachims

sachimaog (Narr.)

sontimoonk = "sachemship, sachimdom"

dead sachim

chepasôtam

"The departed sachem"

Our late (deceased) sachems

(plural)

nussontimmominnanuk

  absentative form

  Native spelling

 

priest, physician, Holyman

pauwau

powwâw (Narr.)

 

  powww nipptea = "the priest is curing him"

  plural adds -aog

healer, "conjurer"

maunêtu (Narr.)

"One who chants, signs, drums, to drive away evil spirits of the sick and dying"

chief priest

kehtpowwau

plural = kehtpowwauog

prophet, wiseman, priest, philosopher

taupaw (Narr.)

  plural is taupowaog

overseer of worship

nanouwétea (Narr.)

burial overseer = mockuttsuit[2]

King (Great Sachem)

ketas∞t

  kingdom = ketass∞tam∞onk, (Abst. Noun)

Prince

puppas∞tam

princes = puppas∞tammog

ruler, governor

nanawunnuaen

from nanawunnum = "he rules over (primarly for safety)". Canotchet was called

nanawtunu = "he is protector"

Grand Sachem of Wampanoag

Massasoit

a title, great leader or great commander. The Massasoit was the Grand Sachem of all the Wampanoag people. In historic times the Massasoits were Ousa Mequin (Yellow Feather); Wamsutta (he has a kind heart); and Pometacomet ( of the Masssoits house), also known as King Philip.

a woman

squa (or) squaw

mittamwossis

female in general (historical meaning)

married

women

squaog

mittamwossisog

females in general

married

a young woman

wuskittamwus

wusskennin

  married?

  in general

marriageable virgin

kíhtuckquaw (Narr.)

 

a virgin

penomp

keegsquaw (Narr.)

  stranger to men

  virgin or maiden

an old woman

wénise (Narr.)

a little bent over

old women (plural)

wenîsuck (Narr.)

 

little woman

ussqua

Us- ~ little

female tribal leader, Squaw Sachem

sonksq (or) suncksqua (or) sonkusq (or) sunkisq

woman who rules of whom we can note sonkusq Wettamoe of the Pocassets and sonkusq Awashonks of the Sakonetts.

Great Old Woman Sachem

kechissunkisq

"great-she-rules-old-woman"

Medicine Woman

pauwausq

  plural is pauwausquaog

  counterpart of male "powwau".

Chief, Great Medicine Woman

kehtpauwausq

  plural form adds -uaog

people (plural)

auwaog

all my people, my relations = wame nuttaûwaog

my people

nuttaûwaog

Native spelling

his people

ummissinumoh

  Native spelling

  obviative form

our common people

nummussannummunnonnog

Native spelling

my family

nutteashinninneōnk

Abstract noun form

your family

kutteashĭnnŭnneōnk

Abstract noun form

a family

teashiyeuonk (or)

chasiyeūonk

  Abstract noun form

  blood relations

a family or band (?) or clan (?)

weechinnineummoncheg

they go with him, 3rd person plural (subjunctive) form, -cheg

my descendants, my posterity

(used on Marthas Vineyard & Nantucket)

nuppometuonk

  Native spelling

  obviative form

Tribes and Nations

people of our tribe

Indian people, not of our tribe

Indians in general

Nnínnuock[7]

Ninnimissinnûwock[8]

Eniskeetompaûwog[9]

general terms, A Key, 1643

a tribe (or band)

chippissuog

they are separate

a tribe (or band) , collectively

chippan∞onk

abstract noun form

a nation

wutohtimion

those that live on this land

nations

wutohtimoneog

ongtag magke wutohtimoneog = "other great nations"

 

Wampanoag

People of First Light (from word nnnnuog, contracted to -noag)

 

Nanhigganêuck[10]

Narragansett people

 

Massachusêuck

People of the Great Hills

 

Cawasumsêuck

Cawsumsett Neck Indians[11]

 

Cowwesêuck

People Of the Small Pine Place

 

Qunnipiêuck

People of the long-water place (quinni-auke-pe), or

People of the place where the route changes

 

Pequtóog[12]

Pequot Indians

 

Muhhekanêuck[13]

Mohegan Indians



Grammar Notes

vPERSONAL NOUNS

The rules for forming relations "my ___," "your ____," "his/her___," etc. are:
· n___ (inclusive), for "my, our” where ___ is the stem/suffix, as in “my mother,” nókace (Narr.)
· k____ for “your”
· w___ (or) oo___ (or) ∞___ for “his/her”
· n____ for “our (exclusive)
· k____ for “our (inclusive)”

vABSENTATIVE NOUNS

This concept refers to nouns relating to deceased persons. The following rules govern the constructions:

1.       For “my late (deceased) ___”, add -i to noun (ist person); e.g., for nókasi, add –i to nókas (“my mother”)
2.      Same rule as #1 for “your late (deceased) ____”, add -i to noun (2nd person)
3.      For “his/her late (deceased) ___ ”, add -uk (or) -oh to noun (3rd person)
4.      Same rule as # 3 for “your late (deceased) ____”, add -uk (or) -oh to noun (2nd person, plural)
5.      For “our late (deceased) _____”, add -uk , -on (or) -an to noun (1st person, plural), for inclusive or exclusive
Ø “our” shows some confusion for inclusive/exclusive and Rules 3 & 4 as indicated in Goddard & Bragdon, pp. 494-5.

vOBVIATION

Relations ending in -ah, -oh, -uh, -ukoh are "obviative form" nouns and translate "the ____ of" (e.g., ókasoh = "the mother of him or her"); it is not the same as "his or her mother". Verbs also follow obviation rules.

ØSome ambiguity exists relative to Obviative Nouns, Rules 3 & 4 (the –oh suffix). See Goddard and Bragdon (1988).

vOTHER NOUNS

· Plural. To pluralize a relation, add –og to noun (and sometimes “reduced vowels” or “glides” are required before inserting –og). The suffix –unk pluralizes a class or group (e.g., all fathers)
· Abstract nouns add suffix –onk to noun
· Diminutive form (small, smaller) adds –s to noun
· Third person, plural form (subordinate—or subjunctive—mode), add –ick , –chick (Narr.) or –cheg, –eg in Massachusett to noun; form translates as “They who _____”; e,g, nag papeississitcheg = “they who are small (infants)”.


[1] Meaning: The condition or practice of having more than one spouse at one time. Also called plural marriage.

[2] See below for quotes from Roger Williams A Key on Narr. Lang. of dying and death; notice distinction between physical and spiritual deaths

[7] Original text reads Nnnuock . The ending -ock (or -ag or -uck with a connective "glide" pronounced as "y" or "w") makes words plural (more than one) for the type of noun referred to as "animate" (creatures that are alive and move) plus others we can't understand the rule for at this time. The ending -ash is the plural for "inanimate nouns". See footnote, Ch. IV, pp. 25-26 for more information on Algonquian gender (animate/inanimate)

[8] Missin = "other nnin (captive people, inferior men)". Double consonants in the middle of a word (like nn in Nnnnuock, or hh, gg, ss, in other words, etc.) are pronounced like one letter just as we do in English; for example the word "supper" is said with one "p" sound.

So, for Nnnnuock, we might say "Nuh-NIN-nuh-wahck" with the "i" as in "hit" (the stress is on the second syllable NIN because thats where we see the stress mark). Often the cluster uock seems to insert a "w" for speech ("wahck") (called a "glide").

[9] Sketomp ("skee-dahb") = "a man", a common Algonquian word used among surviving languages like Maliseet. Some believe the word, Eniskeetompawog, means "original surface-dwelling people" (Iron Thunderhorse, 2000). Wosketomp is a similar word suggesting a "young warrior) (woskehteau = "harms or destroys" with perhaps root -wask- = "young." The key root is -omp = "free, unbound".

[10] Original text has ~ over the e (as do a number of other words). We use the circumflex ^ throughout the book. The plural ending -uck ("ee-yuhck") is translated (incorrectly) "the people of". The endings "-ock, -og" for simple pluralizaton have the same meaning as -uck. So, Nanhigganuck ("Nah-hih-gah-NEE-yuhck") has been translated, "The People Of The Small Point Of Land". Massachusuck is translated "People of the Great Hills". Cawasumsuck means "People of the Sharp Rock". Cowwesuck means "People Of the Small Pine Place". Qunnipiuck = "People of the long-water place" (quinni-auke-pe) or "People of the place where the route changes". Pequtog is translated usually "Destroyers". Muhhekanuck means either "The Wolf People" or, in Prince & Speck, 1903, "People of the tide river".

This analysis of a word into its elementary units of root/stems is guided by the principal of polysynthesis (see the editor's book, Understanding Algonquian Indian Words (New England)). English-language words can be understood in a similar manner; e.g., the words <telescope, telephone, television, telegraph, telegram, telepathy, telemetry> all have in common the Greek root tele (far off, at a distance) which goes into these words. The other roots (-scope, -phone &c) all have their individual meanings which when combined with other roots give us new words such as <microscope, periscope, Dictaphone, microphone, & c). Our manner of teaching Algonquian is quite similar to the word-analysis we just presented for English-language words.

[11] Probably Pokanoket/ Wampanoag of Sowams who occupied lands from Sowansett River to Pawtucket River within Cawsumsett Neck in Bristol & Warren, RI

[12] These are ancestors of the Modern Pequots, including groups known as Mashantucket, Paucatuck, Eastern Pequot Indians, inter alia, in and around Ledyard, Conneticut.

[13] Adopted and modified from an editorial footnote in A Key into the Language of America. Providence, RI: Narragansett Club, 1866 Edition, J. R. Trumbull, Editor. The Trumbull edition has many useful comments from historical sources. We are indebted to Dr. Trumbull for some historical editorial remarks used in the present book.

Go on to Chapter 11: Guide to Historical Spellings and Sounds
Go back to the Algonquian Language Revival Table of Contents



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