Vocabularies of the SHAWANOESE AND WYANDOTT LANGUAGES, ETC
Originally Published in 1858
Written by Indian Agent, Col. John. Johnston
The following article was communicated for this work by the venerable
Col. John Johnston, of Upper
Piqua, Ohio, who for about half a century has been agent of the United States over the Indians of the west.)
The Wyandotts had resided on the soil of Ohio long before the French or English visited the country.
Forty-six years ago, I took a census of them when they numbered 2300 souls. In 1841 and 2, I was, as
the commissioner of the United States, negotiating with them a treaty of cession and emigration, when it
was found, by actual and accurate count, that, in a little less than 50 years, they had been reduced to the
number of 800; none had emigrated- all that was left were the subjects of my negotiation. I had been
their agent a great part of my life; and after being separated from them for 11 years by the power of the
Executive, it fell to my lot, under the appointment of my honored and lamented friend and chief,
President Harrison, to sign and seal the compact with their chiefs for their final removal from their
cherished homes and graves of their ancestors, to which, of all their race, I had ever known, they were the
most tenderly attached, to the counbtry southwest of Missouri. (Missouri River)
The Shawnoese came into Ohio not long anterior to Braddock’s campaign of 1754. They occupied tthe
country contiguous to the Wyandotts, on the Scioto, Mad River, the Great Miami, and the upper waters of
the Maumee of the lake, being in the light of tenants at will under the Wyandotts. They were their
devoted friends and allies in all their wars with the white people- these two tribes having been the last of
the natives who have left us, for there is not an Indian now in Ohio, nor an acre owned by one of their
race within its limits.
I have thought that a specimin of the respective languages of these tribes might form a proper item in
the history of a state so lately owned and occupied by the primative inhabitants. The vocabulary, as far as
it goes, is accurate, and may be relied upon. The reader will at once observe the great dissimilarity in the
two languages, not one word in the whole being common to both. In all their large councils, composed of
both tribes, interpreters were as necessary between the parties as it was between the Indians and the
United States’ officers. Not so with the Shgawanoese, Delawares, Miamies, Putawatimies, Chippeways,
Ottawas, Wee,as, Kickapoos and Piankeshawas- all of whom had many words in comon, and clearly
establishing a common origin. Almost all the tribes I have known, had tradition that their forefathers at
some remote period came from the west; and this would seems to strengthen the commonly received
opinion of Asiatic descent. Many of the Indian customs, even at this day, are strictly Jewish: instance the
purification of their women, the year if Jubilee, the purchase of wives, etc.
All the Indians have some sort of religion, and allege that it was given to their forefathers, and that it
would be offensive to the Great Spirit to throw it away and take up with any other. They all believe that
after this life is ended, they will exist in another state of being; but most of their sacrifices and petitions to
their Maker are done with a view to the procuring of temporal benefits, and not for the health of the
Death has no terrors to an Indian: he meets it like a stoic. The fate of the sould does not appear to give
him the smallest uneasiness. I have seen many die, and some in full confiedence of a happy immortality;
such were not taught of the Christian missionaries. In innumerable instances aI have confided my life and
property to Indians, and never, in time of peace, was my confidcence misplaced. I was, on one occasion,
upwards of a week, in a time of hight waters, alone in a month of March, with a Delaware Indian, in the
woods, whom I ascertained afterwards to be a notorious murderer and robber; and having every thing
about my person to tempt a man of his kind- a good horse, equipments, arms, clothing, etc. and yet no
man could be more provident, kind and tender over me than he was. When the chiefs heard that I had
taken this otherwise bad man for a guide, they were alarmed until informed of my safety. I have had large
sums of public money, and public dispatches of the greatest importance, conveyed by the Indians without
in any case suffering loss.
These are recorded as Col. Johnston wrote them in 1858.
VOCABULARY OF THE SHAWANOESE (Shawnee)
One - Negate.
Two - Neshwa
Three - Nithese.
Four - Newe.
Five - Nialinwe.
Six - Negotewathe.
Seven - Neshwathe.
Eight - Sashekswa
Nine - Chakatswa.
Ten - Metathwe.
Eleven - Metath,we,Kit,en,e,gate.
Twelve - Metathwe,Kiteneshwa.
Thirteen - Metathwe,Kitenithwa
Fourteen - Metathwe,Kitenewa.
Fifteen - Metathwe,Kitenealinwe.
SPECIMEN OF THE WYANDOTT, OR HURON LANGUAGE
One - Scat
Two - Tin,dee
Three - Shaight
Four - An,daght
Five - Wee,ish
Six - Wa,shaw
Seven - Soo,ta,re
Eight - Ace,tarai
Nine - Ain,tru
Ten - Augh,sagh
TWENTY - TEN,DEIT,A,WAUGH,SA
THIRTY - SHAIGHT,KA,WAUGH,SA
FORTY - AN,DAGH,KA,WAUGH,SA
FIFTY - WEE,ISH,AWAUGH,SA
SIXTY - WAW,SHAW,WAGH,SA
SEVENTY - SOO,TA,RE,WAUGH,SA
EIGHTY - AU,TARAI,WAUGH,SA
NINETY - AIN,TRU,WAUGH,SA
ONE HUNDRED -SCU,TE,MAIN,GAR,WE
The great God or good Spirit - TA,MAIN,DE,ZUE
GOOD - YE,WAUGH,STE
BAD - WAUGH,SHE
DEVIL, OR BAD SPIRIT - DEGHSEE,RE,NOH
HEAVEN - YA,ROH,NIA
HELL - DEGH,SHUNT
SUN - YA,AN,DES,HRA
MOON - WAUGH,SANT,YA,AN,DES,HRA
STARS - TEGH,SHE
SKY - CAGH,RONNI,ATE
CLOUDS - OGHT,SE,RAH
WIND - IRA,QUAS
IT RAINS - INA,UN,DU8,SE
THUNDER - HENO
LIGHTNING - TIM,MENDI,QUAS
EARTH - UMAIT,SAGH
DEER - OUGH,SCAN,OTO
BEAR - ANU,E
RACOON - HA,IN,TE,ROH
FOX - TH,NA,IN,TON,TO
BEAVER - SOO,TAIE
MINK - SO,HOH,MAIN,DIA
TURKEY - DAIGH,TON,TAH
OTTER - TA,WEN,DEH
DOG - YUNB,YE,NAH
COW - KIN,TON,SQUA,RONT
HORSE - UGH,SHUT,TE, or man carrier
GOOSE - YAH,HOUNK
DUCK - YU,IN,GEH
MAN - AIR,GA,HON
WOMAN - UTCH,KE
GIRL - YA,WEET,SEN,THO
BOY - OMA,INT,SENT,E,HAH
CHILD - CHE,AH,HA
OLD MAN - HA,O,TONG
OLD WOMAN - UT,SINDAG,SA
MY WIFE - AZUT,TUN,OH,OH
CORN - NAY,HAH
BEANS - YAH,RE,SAH
POTATOES - DA,WEEN,DAH
MELLONS OR PUMPKINS - O,NUGH,SA
GRASS - E,RU,TA
WEEDS - HA,EN,TAN
TREES - YE,ARON,TA
WOOD - O,TAGH,TA
HOUSE - YE,ANOGH,SHA
GUN - WHO,RA,MIN,TA
LEAD - YE,AT,ARA
FLINTS - TA,WEGH,SKE,RA
KNIFE - WE,NE,ASH,RA
AXE - OTTO,YA,YE
BLANKET - DEENGH,TAT,SEA
KETTLE - YA,YAN,E,TITH
RUM - WE,AT,SE,WIE
RIVER - YE,AN,DA,WA
DOLLAR - SOGH,QUES,TUT
SHIRT - CA,TU,REESH
LEGGINGS - YA,REE
BELL - TE,QUES,TI,EGH,TAS,TA
SADDLE - QUAGH,SHE,TA
BRIDLE - CONG,SHU,REE
FIRE - SEE,TA
FLOUR - TA,ISH,RAH
HOG - QUIS,QUESH
BIG HOUSE - YE,A,NOGH,SHU,WAN,A
CORN FIELD - YA,YAN,QUAGH,KE
MUSK RAT - SE,HE,ASH,I,YA,HAH
CAT - DUSH,RAT
WILD CAT - SKAINK,QUA,HAGH
MOLE - CA,IN,DIA,HE,NUGH,QUA
SNAKE - TO,EN,GEN,SEEK
FROG - SUN,DAY,WA,SHU,KA
AMERICANS - SA,RAY,U,MIGH (OR BIG KNIVES)
ENGLISHMAN - QU,HAN,STRO,NO
FRENCHMAN - TU,HUGH,CAR,O,NO
MY BROTHER - HA,EN,YE,HA
MY SISTER - A,EN,YA,HA
FATHER - HA,YES,TA
MOTHER - ANE,HEH
SICK - SHAT,WU,RA
WELL - SU,WE,REGH,HE
COLD - TURE,A
WARM - OTE,RE,A,UTE
SNOW - DE,NEH,TA
ICE - DEESH,RA
WATER - SA,UN,DUS,TEE,THE, THE ORIGIN OF THE SANDUSKY,THE BAY, RIVER AND COUNTY OF THAT NAME
FRIEND - NE,AT,A,RUGH
ENEMY - NE,MAT,RE,ZUE
WAR - TRE,ZUE
PEACE - SCAN,O,NIE
ARE YOU MARIED - SCAN,DAI,YE
I AM NOT MARRIED YET - AUGH,SOGH,A,SANTE,TE,SANDAI,GE
COME HERE - OWA,HE
GO AWAY - SA,CATI,ARIN,GA
YOU TROUBLE ME - SKA,IN,GEN,TAGH,QUA
I AM AFRAID - I,AGH,KA,RON,SE
I LOVE YOU - YU,NOW,MOI,E
I HATE YOU - YUNG,SQUA,HIS
I GO TO WAR - A,YAGH,KEE
I LOVE PEACE - ENO,MOIGH,AN,DOGH,SKEN,ONIE
I LOVE ALL MEN - AWAY,TEE,KEN,OVIE
I HAVE CONQUERED MY ENEMY - O,NEGH,E,KE,WISHE,NOO
I don't like white men - Icar,tri,zue,egh,har,taken,ome,enu,mah
Indians - I,OM,WHEN.
Negro - AHON,E,SEE.
Prisoner - YAN,DAH,SQUA.
He is a thief - RUN,NEH,SQUA,HOON.
Good man - ROOM,WAE,TA,WAGH,STEE.
Fish - YE,ENT,SO.
Plums - At,su,meghst.
Apples - Sow,se,wat.
Fruit - Ya,heeghk.
Sugar - Se,ke,ta.
Honey - Se,ke,ta.
Salt - Anu,magh,ke,he,one, (or the white people's sugar)
Moccasin - Argh,shee.
How do you do - Tu,ough,qua,no,u.
I am sorry - I,ye,et,sa,tigh.
I am hungry - Yat,o,regh,shas,ta.
You will be filled - E,sagh,ta,hah.
I am dying - E,hye,ha,honz.
God forgive me - Ho,ma,yen,de,zuit,et,et,rang.
Auglaize river - Qus,quas,run,dee, or the falling timber on the river.
Blanchard's fork of the Auglaize - Quegh,tu,wa, or claws in the water.
Sandusky - Sa,un,dus,tee, or water within water-pools.
Muskingum - Da,righ,quay,a town or place of residence.
Cayuhoga - Ya,sha,hia, or the place at the wing.
Miami of the lake - Cagh,a,ren,du,te, or standing rock at the head of the rapids of this river. There is in the middle of the stream a large elevated rock, which, at a distance, ver7y much resembles a house. The place was named by the French Roche de Boef, and hence the standing rock river.
The sea of salt water - Yung,ta,rez,ue.
The lakes - Yung,ta,rah.
Detroit - Yon,do,tin, or the great town.
Defiance, now the county seat of Defiance county, at the junction of the Auglaize and Miami of the lake - Tu,enda,wie,or the junction of two rivers. After defeating the Indians in 1794, Gen. Wayne, on his return, built Fort Defiance, thereby proclaiming defiance to the enemy.
Chillicothe town - Tat,a,ra,ra, or leaning bank. Chillicothe is the Shawanese and is the name of one of their tribes.
Ohio river - O,he,zuh,ye,an,da,wa, or something great
Mississippi - Yan,da,we,zue, or great the river.
NAMES OF RIVERS BY THE SHAWANOESE - SPOKEN SHA,WAA,NO
Ohio, i.e. Eagle river
Ken,a,wa - meaning having whirlpools, or swallowing up. Some have it that an evil spirit lived in the water, which drew substances to the bottom of the river
Sci,o,to was named by the Wyandotts, who formerly resided upon it. A large town was at Columbus, having their Cornfileds on the bottom grounds opposite that city. Wyandotts pronounce the word Sci,on,to, signification unknown.
Great Miamie - Shimme,a,mee,sepe, or Big Miamie.