The Lakota language was never a written one until the early
1930's, thanks to Reverend E.S. Buechel who gathered over thirty
thousand words to form the very first Lakota Dictionary. After his death
in 1954, Rev. Paul Manhardt of the Holy Rosary Mission, Pine Ridge,
finished the job of editing the dictionary. Today there are many
orthographies on the language, so the language still remains a little of
a mystery as not one set standard of vocabulary is the be all and end
all of this beautiful language.
Gutterals, this sound is made in the back of the mouth where the
throat begins. The Germans have a word (Achtung!) which is similar in
sound to the Lakota gutteral. The sound is made in conjunction only with
the "g", "t", "p" and "h".
Nasals, there are three characters that use this sound and it is
the most unique of all the Lakota sounds. You will know if you are
making the right sound when you feel a slight vibration or tickling in
your nasal passages, the "n" is not pronounced as you would in
English, rather, it is nasalized, as in "ank" or
Aspirates, in this sound, air explodes from the consonants
"k", "p" and "t", as in the English words
kick, pick, tick, except stronger.
Glottal Stops, this sound is a bit more complicated. It is
actually two separate sounds that are combined to make one sound. It is
usually pronounced by stopping the air in the throat, momentarily
stopping the air flow.
The language also involves the use of male and female words to put a gender basis on a sentence, a few of these are:
When using time expressions, place it first in the sentence:
When using an adjective with a noun, place it after the noun. (day each)
When using prepositions with nouns, place them after the noun (town to)
Place the direct object before the verb. e.g.
Do not use linking verbs.
These are just a few of the many different rules for the correct syntax of the Lakhota language.
Thanks, and credit, also goes out to "The Greasy Grass" for most all of the graphics.
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Disclaimer: I am NOT a fluent Lakota speaker or translator so please do not email me for translations!