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Munsee Language (Minisink, Muncie, Minsi)

Language: Munsee is an Algonkian language closely related to American Delaware, or Lenape, but is considered by most linguists a distinct language. Only a handful of elders in Ontario still speak the Munsee language. Munsee is is a polysynthetic language with complex verb morphology and fairly free word order.

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Names: In their own language, the people called themselves Minisink, which became shortened to Minsi or Munsee. Since the Munsee language was traditionally unwritten, there have been many different spellings of this tribal name in English: Muncie, Muncey, Muncee, Minnisink, and more. Early colonists also called the Munsee and several of their neighbors Delawares, after the Delaware River which ran through their lands. Today, they usually prefer the spelling "Munsee."

People: The Munsee are a northern offshoot of the Lenni Lenape, considering that tribe their elder kin. Today there are 2000 Munsee Delawares in Ontario, and another 1500 people on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation in Wisconsin.

History: The Munsee originally lived in what is today southern New York, northeastern New Jersey, and southeastern Connecticut. Decimated by European diseases and under increasing pressure from Dutch and English colonists, most of the Munsee merged with neighboring tribes: the Stockbridge Mahicans, Lenape, and Cayugas. The safety provided by numbers was only temporary, unfortunately, and the Munsees were soon deported to Wisconsin with the Mahicans, Ontario with the Cayugas, and Ohio, Indiana, and eventually Oklahoma with the Lenapes.

Munsee Language Resources
Wordlists, articles, and indexed links on the Munsee language.

Munsee Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Stockbridge Munsee tribe past and present.

Munsee Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Munsee Indians.

Munsee Legends
Introduction to Munsee Indian mythology.

Munsee Language Resources

Our Online Munsee Language Materials

Munsee Vocabulary:
    List of Munsee words with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Munsee Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Munsee words.
Munsee Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Munsee Delaware language.
Munsee Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in the Munsee Delaware language.
Munsee Colors:
    Worksheet showing color words in the Munsee language.
Munsee Delaware Numbers:
    Worksheet showing how to count in Munsee.
Munsee Food:
    Worksheet with pictures of food words in the Munsee language.
Munsee Animate Nouns:
    Lesson on Munsee animate and inanimate nouns.
Munsee Possession:
    Lesson on the use of Munsee possessive prefixes.

Munsee Dictionaries and Language Books for Sale
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Delaware-English/English-Delaware Dictionary:
    Munsee dictionary for sale.
Delaware Speakers:
    The Munsee Delaware language CDs and booklets sold by the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe.
Early Fragments of Minsi Delaware:
    Munsee vocabulary from the 1700's.
American Indian Dictionaries:
    Munsee and other Native American dictionaries and language books.

Munsee Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

Keepers of a Lost Culture:
    Article about Moravian Munsee culture, history, and language.
The Munsee Delaware Language:
    Ten Munsee phrases with audio files of a Munsee elder speaking them.
Munsee Language Tree:
    Theories about Munsee's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Munsee Language Structures:
    Munsee linguistic profile and academic bibliography.

Literature and Texts in the Munsee Language

When My Uncle Was Bewitched:
    Story in Munsee with translation into English.
Book of Common Prayer in Munsee:
    The Munsee translation of a Christian prayer book.

Munsee Language Preservation and Usage

Vanishing voice of the Lenape:
    Unami and Munsee Delaware language loss and maintenance.
Lunaape Language Workshop:
    Language preservation effors in the Stockbridge Munsee community.
House of Languages: Munsee:
     Information about Munsee language usage.
Ethnologue: Munsee Delaware:
    Munsee demographic information.
Language Museum: Munsee:
    Language sample and overview.

Munsee Proper Names

Delaware Placenames:
    Place names in Lenape and Munsee.
Native American Pet Names:
    Our new fundraiser offering names for dogs and other animals in Native American languages (including Munsee).

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

   La Lengua Munsee:
   Article on the Munsee language in Spanish. With a language map.
   Munsee Language:
   Munsee links.
  Munsee Tribe:
  Munsee Indian books.

Learn more about the Munsee Indian tribe
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