Samples of Oneida language

By The Associated Press 8-08

Oneida is in the Iroquoian family of languages and is distantly related to Cherokee.

Here are a few samples of Oneida words, their English translations and pronounciations where possible:

Onyota’a:ka: – the Oneidas name for themselves, it means `The People of the Standing Stone.’ Kana^:yote means standing stone; a:ka: is a suffix meaning people of that place. Pronounced: Own-yo-da-awg.

Kalute’shuha – means `many trees. Kalute’ means tree; shuha is a suffix meaning many.

Lalihwaha:wi – means `he carries a message.’ La is a male prefix; olihwa’ means the message, words; ha:wi is a suffix meaning carrying. Pronounced: La-lee-wa-haw.

The Oneidas wanted a living language, able to express new realities. When needed, Oneida elders and experts meet to develop new words to describe the modern world. Here are two examples:

Watahsatalha’ – means television, combining the Oneida words for picture (kaya:talha) and shadow (youtasa:talu).

Yolunutakhwa – means radio, which joins the ideas of “they make music,’ (lutlanot) with the suffix meaning object (takhwa).

Source:Oneida Indian Nation of New York