Video Lecture

Language Lesson - The Basics

Beginning To Learn Potawatomi       Potawatomi Alphabet       Pronunciation       Vocabulary       Quiz

Jim Thunder Picture

By Jim Thunder, Sr.

Listen to Jim Thunder speak about pronunciation.

Gail Belling CD Listen to Gail Belling sing the Potawatomi Vowel Song.

Now remember the four vowel sounds as we say a word of greeting.

Say: Bo sho, ni tthe na?

You are saying: Hello, how are you? Or

Hello, how is everything?

The correct way to pronounce the Indian words are as follows:

Bo sho, nee che nah?

Notice in this one sentence that all four vowel sounds are present. Also, you will notice that we have uncovered one of the puzzles to the written Potawatomi language. That is the ch sound, as in check, is written in this manner – tth. I have not seen the letter C in any of the writings that I have. Tth is used to create the ch or j sounds. Also, the old Indian writings do not have any punctuation marks of any kind. So it is left entirely up to you to determine the ending of the sentences.

Bo sho, ni tthe na? Ni Pi tthe wetth bya yen? Traditional Writing

Bo sho nee che na? Nee pee che wetch bya yen? Pronunciation

Hello, how is everything? Where are you from? Translation

The response you may get might go like this:

I she an we. Stone Lake ntotth bya. Traditional Writing

Ee zhe ahn we. Stone Lake ndotch bya. Pronunciation

Everything is o.k. I come from Stone Lake. Translation

The same sentences appear below without any explanation, so pay particular attention to vowels and the method of writing.

Bo sho, ni tthe na? Ni Pi tthe wetth bya yen?

I she an we. Stone Lake ntotth bya.

Literal translations of the Indian sentences into English are usually not possible so you have to structure the English language around the Indian sentence to come up with a viable translation.

~excerpt from Jim Thunder’s ‘The Old Potawatomi Language’ Book 1