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New York Native Animal Words

Here are the American Indian names of six native animals of New York. We have given their names in five different Indian languages: Abenaki, Cayuga, Mohawk, Munsee, and Seneca.

Three of these Native New York languages are related to the Iroquoian language family, and the other two are related to the Algonquian language family. Can you guess which languages are relatives by looking at the animal names on this page? (Hint: Not every word will sound similar even in closely related languages, so you will need to look at several different animals to figure it out!) You can find the answer on these pages: Algonquian languages and Iroquoian languages.

New York Native Animal Names


Abenaki: moz (pronounced mooz)
Cayuga: sganysa' (pronounced ska-nyoon-sa)
Mohawk: ska'nyonhsa (pronounced ska-nyoon-sah)
Munsee: móos (pronounced mose)
Seneca: oyëtani' (pronounced oh-yen-tah-nee)

Abenaki: awasos (pronounced ah-wah-sos)
Cayuga: hnyagwai (pronounced nyog-why)
Mohawk: ohkwa:ri' (pronounced oh-kwah-lee)
Munsee: máxkw (pronounced makh-w)
Seneca: nyakwai' (pronounced nyock-why)

Abenaki: azeban (pronounced ah-zuh-ban)
Cayuga: sa:no:' (pronounced sah-noon)
Mohawk: ati:ron (pronounced ah-tee-lone)
Munsee: éespan (pronounced ace-pun)
Seneca: jo'ä:ka' (pronounced jo-ack-ah)

Abenaki: mategwas (pronounced mah-tuh-gwas)
Cayuga: gwa'y' (pronounced gwah-yoon)
Mohawk: kwa'yenha (pronounced gwah-yun-ha)
Munsee: móoshkiingw (pronounced moash-keeng-w)
Seneca: kwa'yö:' (pronounced kwah-yone)

Abenaki: sips (pronounced sips)
Cayuga: j'idę:'ę (pronounced jee-dun-un)
Mohawk: tsi'tenhao (pronounced jee-dun-how)
Munsee: awehléeshoosh (pronounced uh-weh-lay-shoash)
Seneca: ji'të'ö:h (pronounced jee-ten-own)

Abenaki: namas (pronounced nah-mas)
Cayuga: oj'da' (pronounced oh-joon-da)
Mohawk: kentsyonk (pronounced gen-joonk)
Munsee: namées (pronounced nah-mase)
Seneca: këjöh (pronounced ken-joan)

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