Native American Languages
Native American Cultures
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Native Languages of the Americas:
Language: This Algonquian language has two major dialects:
Maliseet (or Malécite), spoken mainly in New Brunswick, and Passamaquoddy (or Peskotomuhkati), spoken mostly in Maine. There are 1500
speakers of both dialects combined. Very few people in the younger generations speak the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language (especially the
Passamaquoddy dialect), but language revival efforts
are underway to restore its use among Maliseet and
Passamaquoddy children. Maliseet-Passamaquoddy is a
polysynthetic language with complex verb morphology and fairly free word order.
Thank you for your interest in Native American languages!
People: The Passamaquoddy and
Maliseet tribes belonged to the loose confederation of eastern Indians known as the
Wabanaki Alliance, together with the
and Abenaki Indians. They are politically independent nations, discussed together here
because they speak mutually intelligible dialects of the same Algonquian
language. The Maliseet tribe lives primarily in Canada, especially New Brunswick, with one band across the
border in neighboring Maine. Their own name for themselves is Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet is a Mi'kmaq word
for someone who can't talk very well,) but today they are usually known as Maliseets or Malecites. The
Passamaquoddy tribe lives primarily in Maine, although there are also a few hundred Passamaquoddy
Indians in New Brunswick.
History: The Maliseet and
Passamaquoddy people were closely related neighbors who shared
a common language, but though the French referred to both tribes collectively as Etchemins, they always
considered themselves politically independent. The tribes of the east coast were confusing to
Europeans, who couldn't understand why dozens of small groups of Native Americans
lived together yet claimed to be separate nations. What they didn't realize was
that these groups had not always been so small.
European diseases decimated the Indian populations--the Passamaquody were 20,000
strong before European contact, and no more than 4000 afterwards--and they regrouped
as best they could. The Maliseet and Passamaquoddy, near relatives and
long-time allies who spoke dialects of the same language, banded together against European and
Iroquoian aggression with their neighbors the
This Wabanaki Confederacy was no more than a loose alliance, however, and
the tribes never gave up their sovereignty. Today the
Passamaquoddy live primarily in the United States and the Maliseet in Canada, but the distinction
between the two is not imposed by those
governments--the two tribes have always been politically distinct entities.
Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Resources
Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language samples, articles, and indexed links.
Maliseet Culture and History Directory
Overview and related links about the Maliseets past and present.
Maliseet Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Maliseets, their language and culture.
Introduction to Maliseet mythology.
Passamaquoddy Culture and History Directory
Overview and related links about the Passamaquoddys past and present.
Passamaquoddy Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Passamaquoddys, their language and culture.
Introduction to Passamaquoddy mythology.
Our Online Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Language Materials
List of vocabulary words in Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Pronunciation Guide:
How to pronounce Maliseet-Passamaquoddy words.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Animal Words:
Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Body Parts:
Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language.
Worksheet showing color words in the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language.
Worksheet with pictures of food words in the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language.
Worksheet showing how to count in Passamaquoddy-Maliseet.
Lesson on the use of Maliseet-Passamaquoddy possessive prefixes.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
English and Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Dictionary A Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Dictionary Maliseet Vocabulary:
Landscapes, Legends & Language of the Passamaquoddy People Maliyan:
Educational CD-ROMs in the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language from the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Tribe.
Beginning Passamaquoddy Passamaquoody-Maliseet Language Programs:
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language lessons and audio courses for sale.
Tales From Maliseet Country Passamaquoddy Texts:
Annotated collections of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet stories with English translation.
Defying Maliseet Language Death:
Interesting book about ongoing Maliseet language revitalization by a Native researcher.
Accent and Syllable Structure in Passamaquoddy Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Verb Morphology:
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy linguistic studies.
American Indian Language Dictionaries:
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy and other Native American dictionaries and language materials for sale.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions
Introduction to the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Malecite-Passamaquoddy Description:
General linguistic descriptions of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet.
Languages of the Maritimes:
Overview of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet languages.
Passamaquoddy-Maliseet alphabet with audio samples.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy writing system and phonology.
1899 Maliseet-Passamaquoddy glossary, phonology, and grammar, by Montague Chamberlin.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Language Tree:
Theories about Maliseet-Passamaquoddy's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Structures:
Passamaquoddy-Maliseet linguistic profile and academic bibliography.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Glossaries and Sound Files
Online Maliseet-Passamaquoddy dictionary.
Skicin: Time Words Skicin: Kinship Terms:
Passamaquoddy-Maliseet word lists.
Maliseet Audio Samples Malecite Sounds Kids' Stop: Maliseet Language:
Phrasebooks with audio files of Maliseet-Passamaquoddy words and phrases.
19th century Maliseet-Passamaquoddy vocabulary lists.
Passamaquoddy Canoe Names More Passamaquoddy Canoe Names:
Illustrations of a canoe with the parts labeled in Passamaquoddy-Maliseet.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Linguistics Research
Raising to Object and Proper Movement Syntax at the Edge:
Cross-Clausal Phenomena Abstract On Two Structural Asymmetries in Passamaquoddy:
Papers and abstracts about Maliseet-Passamaquoddy syntax by Benjamin Bruening.
Demonstrative Words in Passamaquoddy Passamaquoddy Copulas:
Abstracts about Maliseet-Passamaquoddy morphology and syntax by Eve Ng.
Philip LeSourd Benjamin Bruening:
Profiles of two linguists studying Maliseet-Passamaquoddy.
Literature and Texts in the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Language
Glooskap stories in the original Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, with English translation.
The Wampum Records:
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy recounting of the formation of the Wabanaki Confederacy, glossed in English.
Teachings from the Medicine Wheel:
Mi'kmaq and Maliseet-Passamaquoddy stories, with audio recordings.
Audio files of two stories in the Passamaquoddy dialect.
Kuloskap Stories The Wampum Records:
Glossed Maliseet-Passamaquoddy texts.
Language Museum: Malecite-Passamaquoddy:
Christian prayers in Malecite-Passamaquoddy translation.
Canadian Human Rights Tribute:
Plaque in Maliseet-Passamaquoddy.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Language Preservation and Usage
Someplace along the line...:
Interview with educator Caroline Ennis, in English and Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, about language and language loss.
Preserving the Passamaquoddy Language and Culture:
Articles about Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language revitalization efforts in Maine.
Confronting Language Ambivalence and Language Death:
Paper by Robert Leavitt about Micmac and Maliseet language maintenance.
Article about language preservation efforts on the Passamaquoddy reservation.
Aboriginal Head Start:
Article about Maliseet language education for preschoolers on the Tobique reservation.
Sharing our Wabanaki Perspective:
Article by a Maliseet man about language loss and the erosion of Indian identity.
Micmac and Maliseet language classes at the University of New Brunswick.
House of Languages: Maliseet-Passamaquoddy
Information about Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language usage.
Demographic information about Maliseet-Passamaquoddy from the Ethnologue of Languages.
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Proper Names
Place Names in the Maritimes Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Placenames:
American place names in Maliseet-Passamaquoddy.
Native American Dog Names:
Our new fundraiser offering names for dogs and other animals in Maliseet-Passamaquoddy and other Native American languages.
Additional Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Resources
Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Passamaquoddy Language:
Bibliographies of Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language materials.
Langue Malécite et Micmaque Le malécite en ligne:
Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language articles in French.
La Lengua Maliseet-Passamaquoddy:
Article on the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language in Spanish. With a language map.
Passamaquoddy Tribe: Maliseet Tribe:
Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Indian books.
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