Thursday, November 7, 2013



Key illustrated a basic vocal chart, similar to the International Phonetic Alphabet chart, to compare sounds of all languages.  The chart assigns letters to two groupings. One set of groupings is associated with where in the mouth the sound is made (place of articulation). The other grouping has to do with how the sounds are produced (manner of articulation). There is a set of sounds produced by stoppage of air. There is a set produced by friction. Also there are sets for nasals, liquids, and semivowels. (Key, 1998)

Assume that a sound in a given articulation group can only transform through time to sound like the nearest adjacent sounds produced by a different location in the mouth. Then a sound that started as "p" centuries ago might be "p" or "t" or "b" in today's language. Thus, the spelling of an Lenape word might be altered by using "p, t, or b" to locate similar words in the Norwegian dictionary. The correct Norwegian word, if there is more than one word possible, is the one with the most reasonable meaning when compared to the Lenape context.

For those who want to try this process, start with a Norwegian-English Dictionary (Gabrielsen, 1999 or Kunnskspsforlaget, 1992). Break an Lenape word into syllables. Change "w" to "v" and "c" to "k." Start searching for a word with a reasonable meaning based on the context of the Lenape word.

For example, start with the Lenape "wann" written near drawings of drinking vessels in the Beothuk section of HNAI. "Wann" changes to "vann," which means, "water" in the Norwegian Dictionary. (HNAI, Vol. 15, p. 106.)

If the first search, using the given spelling, fails, try searching with the nearest letters as shown below:

TPKD        PTB    BPD
SFXZ        XYZ    ZVSY
RWY         YR
IEOA         EIOA

If no word makes sense, you may not have a word withLenape roots. For example, "Akpatok" looks like aLenape word. But the closest reasonable understanding from the Norwegian dictionary is "egg-suck-cruise." The logical conclusion is that Akpatok is not a Lenape word. Akpatok was a meat-eater word.

The custom of the Lenape people to name birds and animals by their cry may explain the Akpatok bird label and the name of the Island, where Akpatok bird nested.

If the Norwegian syllables make reasonable sense, the Lenape syllables and the Norwegian words had common roots. But, beware; the exact original meaning may not have been similar to the modern definition because modern Norwegian, itself, is changing rapidly.

All the Lenape words fall within the allowable transformation table above. The words were used if the modern Norwegian definition appeared to be reasonable when compared to the Lenape context. The words were checked against Sherwin's 15,000 related phrases. Where there were differences (for example the modern Norwegian "teppa" is "carpet", In Lenape "teppa" is "enclosure") Sherwin's Lenape definitions were used.

Reider T. Sherwin’s books can be obtained through library loan or ordered from ABEBOOKS. Request the Viking and the Red Man. There are eight volumes produced about two years apart.

In Volume IV, Sherwin declares the “Lenape Language is Old Norse.”

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