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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Did you know that at least 40% percent of the 7,000 languages used worldwide are endangered?

 50 Greetings in Native American Languages

Posted By Brittany L Cerny March 5th, 2022|

Indigenous languages are much more vulnerable to endangerment for various reasons. For one, these languages are not taught in traditional schools, and oftentimes younger generations aren’t inheriting this knowledge from their elders. When you consider that funding isn’t typically available for indigenous language development programs, it further compounds the issue. That's why it is important for those who speak Native American languages to pass their fluency on to others.  

Language is integral to the Native culture and should therefore be celebrated with purpose. One way that Native languages are brought to light is through Google Earth’s Celebrating Indigenous Languages application. When you go to the site or app, you can click on different locations around the world and learn about the indigenous languages in those areas. For example, when users click on Oklahoma, a picture of a young Cherokee woman appears. When you click on the play button, she greets you in the Cherokee language.

There are tremendous benefits to learning a second language. According to the organization Lead with Languages, there is evidence that “student achievement and performance, community and school pride, and educational opportunity are clearly and directly tied to respect for, and support of, the first language of the child.” They also state that learning tribal languages helps to build stronger families, communities, and cultural appreciation. 

Several organizations, such as the popular language learning program, Rosetta Stone, have begun initiatives to help preserve indigenous languages. Rosetta Stone is just one website/app that people can use to learn a new language or brush up on emerging language skills. 

If that sounds like you, we've organized a list of 50 greetings in a variety of Native American languages so you can impress your family and friends and connect with your tribal heritage in a new way.

50 Native American Greetings

How to Say Hello

  1. O'-Si-Yo'- Cherokee
  2. Halito- Choctaw
  3. Hau- Dakota and Lakota Sioux
  4. Buzhu (Boozhoo)- Objiwa Chippewa
  5. Apaa- Yupik Eskimo
  6. Ya'at'eeh- Dene Navajo
  7. guw'aadzi -Rio Grand Keresan
  8. cama-i/ waqaa (hi) – Yup’ic
  9. – Lenape
  10. Ma-da-way-  Comanche 
  11. Keshhi- Zuni
  12. Shap kaij- Pima
  13. Ɂedlanet’e- Dene
  14. Hawé- Quapaw
  15. way’ – Salish
  16. Hę̄r's cē – Muskogean
  17. Ba'ax ka wa'alik?- Mayan
  18. Nya:wëh sgë:nö’- Seneca
  19. ᑕᓂᓯ (Tanisi), ᐙᒋᔮ (Waachiyaa)- Cree
  20. Kúhaʔahat – Caddo
  21. maiku – Ute
  22. Aho- Ponca
  23. Behne- Shoshoni
  24. Marúawe- Comanche
  25. *haku- Chumash
  26. Ahó (m>m)- Omaha
  27. Weyt-kp- Shuswap
  28. Haho – Winnebago
  29. héébee (man speaking) tous (woman speaking, or a man speaking to a woman)- Arapaho
  30. Gwe'- Míkmawísimk (Míkmaq)
  31. Bhozo – Potawatomi
  32. Da'anzho- Apache

How to Say How Are You? / How Have You Been?

  1. Do hi tsu- Cherokee
  2. Sadögweta’ – Seneca
  3. Bix yanikech?- Mayan
  4. chim achukma- Choctaw
  5. Estonko? ‘Stonko?- Muskogean
  6. Toníktuha he?– Dakota and Lakota Sioux
  7. cangacit?- Yup’ic
  8. Ko' do' dewanan deyaye?- Zuni
  9. Aaniish naa ezhiyaayin?– Ojibwe
  10. ¿Quen tinemi? (How do you live?)- Aztec
  11. Ɂedlanet’e kú- Dene
  12. Gasing.uu dang Giidang? – Haida
  13. ‘Ii ch ‘o' ‘uy' ‘ul'?- Salish

How to Say Goodbye

  1. Tókša akhé- Lakota
  2. Donadagohvi- Cherokee

How to Say Good Morning 

  1. Yá'át'ééh abíní- Navajo
  2. Híŋháŋni- Lakota
  3. Osda sunalei- Cherokee

In addition to these Native American greetings, another way you can support the continuance of an indigenous language is by learning and studying one. As stated above, Rosetta Stone is one place that offers certain tribal language courses. Another option is learning through Duolingo, which now offers practice sessions in the Navajo language. YouTube has countless videos of different instructors teaching the basics of Native languages. And don’t forget about checking around where you live; there may be someone willing to give language lessons. 

Advancing and preserving Native American languages is crucial. Not only is it important for the future of various tribes, but it's fun, educational and something you can share with your friends and family.

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