Published on June 13, 2011 by Amy
Munsee Delaware, an Eastern Algonquian language, is spoken by a small and steadily declining number of individuals. The Delaware-speaking peoples originally lived in the area of what is now New York City, adjacent regions of New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Today, a small number of speakers of the closely related Unami Delaware language are located in Oklahoma, and, of the three sites where Munsee Delaware was the predominant Delaware language spoken in Canada, only Moraviantown, Ontario, has surviving speakers.
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Based on linguistic research carried out with Delaware speakers at Moraviantown, this is the first modern dictionary of Munsee Delaware. Each of the 7,100 entries in the Delaware-English section includes information on the word’s grammatical category and gives examples of different inflected forms where appropriate. Also included are sample sentences used by Delaware speakers, grammatical and usage notes, cross-references, and indications of words borrowed from Dutch and English. The English-Delaware section functions as an index to the Delaware-English section, and is based upon all major words used in the latter section.
John O’Meara is an associate professor in the Native Language Instructor’s Program, Faculty of Education, Lakehead University.