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Vocabulary in Native American Languages: Iroquois Words

           Welcome to our Iroquois vocabulary page! There are six languages spoken by the Iroquois Nations: Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Tuscarora. These are related Iroquoian languages, but they are different enough that speakers of the six languages cannot easily understand each other. Here is a comparative chart of some basic vocabulary words in the six Iroquois Confederacy languages.

Thanks for your interest in Native American languages!

Six Nations Word Sets

Bear in mind that Iroquoian languages use prefixes on their verbs, unlike Indo-European languages (which generally use suffixes). For example, all the Mohawk verbs start with "ra," "ron," "ro" or "ren" because those are the 3rd person singular prefixes in Mohawk. So if you're used to speaking English, French, or another European language, you may have to look closely for the verb roots.

English (Français) Cayuga Mohawk Oneida Seneca Tuscarora
One (Un) Sga:t Enhskat Úska Ska:t Ę:chi
Two (Deux) Dekni: Tekeni Tékeni Tekhni:h Né:kti:
Three (Trois) Ahsenh Ahsen Áhsv Sëh Áhsę
Four (Quatre) Gei: Kayeri Kayé: Ke:ih Hę'tahk
Five (Cinq) Hwihs Wisk Wísk Wis Wísk
Man (Homme) Ho:nhgweh Ronkwe Lukwé Hökwe Rę:kweh
Woman (Femme) Ago:nhgweh Yakonkwe Yakukwé Yakökwe Akę:kweh
Dog (Chien) So:wa:s Erhar É:lhal Ji:yäh Chír or Gís
Sun (Soleil) Ga:gwa:' Karahkwa Yotahala Kä:hkwa:' Híhte'
Moon (Lune) Enhni'da:' Ehnita Ohní:ta' Ë:ní'ta:' Í:ka'r
Water (Eau) Ohneganohs Ohneka Ohne:kánus O:ne:ka' À:we
White (Blanc) Genh'ge:nh Kenraken Owískela' Kakë:'ët Uhwaryá:kę'
Yellow (Jaune) Oji:tgwa:' Otsinekwar Otsí:nkwala' Jitkwä:'ë:' Uchi'tkwáhneh
Red (Rouge) Otgwenhj'ia:' Onekwenhtara Onikwvhtala' Tkwëhtä:'ë:' Katkwarà:yę'
Black (Noir) Swenh'd'aenh Kahòntsi O'swv:ta' Jë:sta'ë:' Kahęschi
Eat (Manger) I:ge:s Raeks Í:laks I:se:k Rachù:rih
See (Voir) Ge:genh Ratkahthos La:kvhe' Hato:kha' Ratkáhthuhs
Hear (Entendre) Hoto:nhde' Rahronkas Lothu:té: Ha:ökha' Rathęhna:ch
Sing (Chanter) Hore:nho:t Raterennotha' Tehalihwákhwa' Hatënotha' Ra'nwę'è:ręh

Click here to see Iroqoquois Confederacy vocabulary words compared to words in related Iroquoian languages such as Cherokee: Iroquoian Indian Words

Additional Resources

   Tribes of New York
   English-Indian dictionaries
   Indian names and their meanings
   Iroquoian languages



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