The Lenape Talking Dictionary is a growing collection of 14,000 words with almost 5,700 sound files and over 1,400 sample sentences. Lenape refers to the southern dialects of Unami (unm), spoken in what are now the US states of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
According to “The Lenape Language Preservation Project” on the website of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, the Lenape Talking Dictionary got its start when a 1997 survey showed a large number of people interested in learning to speak Lenape. In 2002, a grant allowed the Lenape Language Preservation Project to construct a database, which was put on the Internet.
This year, the funds from a Documenting Endangered Languages grant are allowing further work on the project. One of the new features coming is the ability to search for words in Lenape as well as for just parts of words.
Here are three words from the dictionary:
- pënaelìntàmhikàn – computer
- xanikw – squirrel
- selahtinalìtin – a game similar to jackstraws, also known as pick-up sticks and mikado