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The Lakota Language



The Lakota Kinship System


Lakota-English Dictionary of Kinship Terms

Grammar Tables

English-Lakota Dictionary of Kinship Terms






Lakota-English Dictionary


Até

father! até kin, my father, my father's brother ( niyáte, your ~; atkúku, his ~; atéyA, to have as father, atéwaye, he is my ~).
See also p'apá; Lakota parents

c'incá

a child ( mic'ínca, my ~; nic'ínca, your ~; c'incáya, to have for a child, adopt as a child, c'incáwic'awaye, they are my children).
See also wak'ánheja

c'inkš(í)

son!, c'inkší kin, a son, a man's brother's son, a woman's sister's son ( mic'ínkši, my ~; nic'ínkši, your ~; c'inkšítku, his/her son; c'inkší ya, to have as son, c'inkšíwaye, he is my ~)
See also Lakota sons & daughters

c'iyé

a man's older brother, my older brother; male cousin from the father's side older than oneself ( nic'íye, your ~; c'iyé ku, his ~; c'iyéya, to have for a ~, c'iyéwaye, he is my ~).
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

c'unkš(í)

daughter!, my daughter; c'unkší kin, a daughter; a man's brother's daughter, a woman's sister's daughter ( mic'únkši, my ~; nic'únkši, your ~; c'unwí(n) tku, his/her ~; c'unk_íya, to have as daughter, c'unkšíwaye, she is my ~)
See also Lakota sons & daughters

c'uwé

a woman's older sister, female cousin from the mother's side older than oneself, my ~ ( nic'úwe, your ~; c'uwéku, her ~; c'uwé ya, to have for a ~, c'uwéwaye, she is my ~).
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

hakáta

a man's/woman's older/younger sister ( mahákata, my ~; hakátaya, to have for a sister, hakátawaye, she is my ~)
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

hanká(n)

man's sister-in-law = 1) a sister of: wife / sibling's spouse / cousin's spouse; 2) a wife of: sibling / cousin; my ~ ( nihá(n)ka, your ~; hanká ku, his ~; hankaya, to have for a ~, hankáwaye, she is my ~).
See also Lakota in-laws

hanká(n)ši

a man's female cousin -- blood aunt's/uncle's daughter; my ~ ( nihánka(n)ši, your ~; hankáši tku, his ~; hankášiya, to have for a ~, hankášiwaye, she is my ~).
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc

hi(n)gná

a husband ( mihí(n)gna, my ~; ni hí(n)gna, your ~; hi(n)gnáku, her ~; hi(n)gnáyan, to have as husband, hi(n)gná waye, he is my~; hi(n)gnát'un, to have a husband, be married, hi(n)gnáwat'un, I am married)
See also t'awícu

hunká

an ancestor; hunkáke, an ancestor, an immediate relative ( mihúnkake, my ~; hunkake ya, to have for an ancestor, hunkakewaye, he is my ~); Hunkálowanpi, a ceremony of Making of Relatives; hunkáya, to consider & honor as a hunka, hunkáwaye, he is my hunka

húnku

his/her mother. See iná

iná

mother!, mother's sister, my ~ ( nihún, your ~; húnku, his/her ~; iná yan, to call her "mother", have as mother, ináwaye, she is my ~).
See also mamá!, Lakota parents

kaká!

granddad! See also t'unkášila

k'olá;

friend!, man's friend ( mit'ák'ola, my ~; nit'ák'ola, your ~; t'ak'ólaku, his ~; k'olá ya, to have as ~, k'oláwaye, he is my ~; kolákic'iyapi, friendship, they are friends). Syn. kicúwa. Woman's female friend is máške, wašé

k'unší

paternal grandmother ( nik'únši, your ~; k'unšíya, to have as ~, k'unšíwaye, she is my ~).
See also uncí

lekší

mother's brother -- blood uncle, my ~. One's father's brother is called ate ( milékši, my~; nilékši, your ~; lekší tku, his/her ~; lekšíya, to have for an uncle, lekšíwaye, he is my ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

lekšíla

uncle by marriage -- mother's/father's sister's husband ( lekšílaya, to have as ~; lekšílawaye, he is my ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc

mamá!

mom! See also iná

misún!

My little brother! See sunká

mitákuye

My relative. See takúya

mit'áwin

My wife. See t'awícu

omáwahit'un

the two fathers of husband and wife call each other by this title; and the mothers as well. ( omáwahit'un mit'áwa, my ~; omáwahit'un nit'áwa, your ~; thómawahit'un, his/her ~). This is a term of direct address, used regardless of sex between the parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents of a person, when speaking of/to his/her spouse's parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents ( omáwahit'unkic'iyapi, they have each other for omáwahit'un: omáwahit'un?unkic'iyapi, we have..., omáwahit'unyec'iyapi, you have...; omáwahit'unyan, to have for ~, omáwahit'unwaye, he/she is my ~)

p'apá!

dad! See also até

(s)cép'an

woman's sister-in-law -- 1) a sister of: husband / sibling's spouse / cousin's spouse; 2) a wife of: sibling / cousin; my ~ ( ni (s)cép'an, your ~; (s)cép'anku, her ~; (s)cép'anyan, to have as ~, (s)cép'anwaye, she is my ~).
See also Lakota in-laws

(s)cép'anši

woman's female cousin -- blood aunt's/uncle's daughter ( ni(s)cép'anši, your ~; (s)cép'anši tku, her ~; (s)cép'anšiya, to have as ~, (s)cép'anšiwaye, she is my ~).
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc

šic?é

woman's brother-in-law -- 1) a brother of: husband / sibling's spouse / cousin's spouse; 2) a husband of: sibling / cousin; my ~ ( nišíc?e, your ~; šic?éku, her ~; šic?éya, to have as ~, šic?éwaye, he is my~).
See also Lakota in-laws

šic?éši

woman's male cousin -- blood aunt's/uncle's son ( ni šíc?eši, your ~; šic?éšitku, her ~; šic?éšiya, to have as ~, šic?éšiwaye, he is my ~).
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

sunka

misún! my younger brother! (man/woman speaking), man's younger cousin from the father's side, woman's younger cousin from the mother's side ( misúnka(la), my ~; nisunka(la), your ~; sunkáku, his/her ~; sunkáya, to have as ~, sunkáwaye, he is my ~).
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

takúya

to have one somebody for a relation, takúwaye, he/she is my relative; takúkic'iyapi, they are relatives, takú?unkic'iyapi, we are relatives, takúyec'iyapi, you are relatives; takúye, a relative, his relative ( mitákuye, my ~, mi tákuye oyás?in, all are my relatives; ni tákuye, your ~; unkítakuyepi, our ~; otákuye, brotherhood, relations, kinship; t'ítakuye, the immediate relatives)

t'akója!

grandchild ( mit'ákoja, grandchild!, my ~; nit'ákoja, your ~; t'akójakpaku, his/her ~; t'akójaya, to have as ~, t'akójawaye, he/she is my ~)

t'akóš

son-/daughter-in-law ( mit'ákoš, my ~; nit'ákoš, your ~; t'akóšku, his/her ~; t'akoš ya, to have as ~, t'akóšwaye, he/she is my ~).
See also Lakota in-laws

t'anhán

man's brother-in-law -- 1) a brother of: wife / sibling's spouse / cousin's spouse; 2) a husband of: sibling / cousin; my ~ ( nit'ánhan, your ~; t'anhánku, his ~; t'anhányan, to have as ~, thanhanwaye, he is my ~). The term mašé is used if bros-in-law are on very good terms.
See also Lakota in-laws

t'anhánši

man's male cousin -- blood aunt's/uncle's son ( ni t'ánhanši, your ~; t'anhánšitku, his ~, t'anhánšiya, to have as ~, t'anhánšiwaye, he is my ~).
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

t'anká(la)

woman's younger sister ( mit'án, my ~; nit'anhan, your ~; t'ankáku, her ~; t'ánkaya, to have as ~, t'ankáwaye, she is my ~).
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

t'anké

man's older sister ( mit'ánke, my ~; nit'ánke, your ~; t'ankéku, his ~; t'ankéya, to have as ~, t'ankéwaye, she is my ~)
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

t'ankší(la)

man's younger sister ( mit'ánkši, my ~; nit'ánkši, your ~; t'ankšítku, his ~; t'ankšíya, to have as ~, t'ankšíwaye, she is my ~)
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

t'awícu

his wife ( mit'áwin, mit'áwicu, my wife; nit'áwin, nit'áwicu, your wife; t'awícuya, to have as ~, t'awícuwaye, she is my ~).
See also hi(n)gná

t'éya

another wife of one's husband( t'éyakic'iyapi, they are both wives of one man, they are "teya"s to each other; t'éyaku, her teya; t'éyaya, to have somebody for a teya, t'éyawaye, she is my teya)

t'ibló

woman's older brother, woman's cousin from the mother's side older than herself ( mit'íblo, my ~; nit'íblo, your ~; t'iblóku, her ~; t'iblóya, to have as ~, t'iblówaye, he is my ~).
See also Lakota sisters & brothers

t'iyóšpaye

A band/clan of blood relatives. The oldest living member is the head of the tiyošpaye. His wife, his children, grandchildren etc. with their spouses are the rest of members of the clan.

t'ošká

woman's nephew -- brother's son / husband's sibling's son ( nit'óška, your ~; t'oškáku, his ~; t'oškáya, to have as ~, t'oškáwaye, he is my ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

t'ojá(n)

woman's niece -- brother's daughter / husband's sibling's daughter ( nit'ója(n), your ~; t'ojá(n)ku, his ~; t'ojáya, t'ojányan, to have as ~, t'ojá(n)waye, she is my ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

t'unkášila

grandfather!, ( mit'únkašila, my ~; ni t'úkašila, your ~; t'unkášitku, his/her ~; t'unkášila ya, to have as ~, t'unkášilawaye, he is my ~).
See also kaká

t'unkán, t'unkánši, t'unkášila

father-in-law and other men in his generation, who are relatives of the spouse; my ~ ( mit'únkan, my ~; nit'únkan, your ~; t'unkánku, his/her ~; t'unkányan, t'unkáši ya, to have as ~, t'unkanwaye, t'unkášiwaye, he is my ~).
See also Lakota in-laws

t'unška

man's nephew -- sister's son / wife's sibling's son ( ni t'únška, your ~; t'unškáku, his ~; t'un_ká ya, to have as ~, t'unškáwaye, he is my ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

t'unwín

father's sister -- blood aunt, my ~ ( mit'únwin, my ~; nit'únwin, your ~; t'unwicu, his/her ~; thunwin yan, t'unwícuya, to have as ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

t'unwínla

aunt by marriage -- father's/mother's brother's wife ( t'unwínla ya, to have as ~, t'unwinlawaye, she is my ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

t'unja(n)

man's niece -- sister's daughter / wife's sibling's daughter ( nit'ujt'úja(n), your ~; t'unjá(n) ku, his ~; t'unjáya, t'unjányan, to have as ~, t'unja(n)waye, she is my ~)
See also Lakota uncles, aunts, etc.

uncí

maternal grandmother ( uncíya, to have as maternal granmother, uncíwaye, she is my ~).
See also k'unší

uncíši

mother-in-law and other women of her generation who are relatives of the spouse; my ~ ( uncíši nit'áwa, your ~; uncíšiya, to have as ~; uncíšiwaye, she is my ~).
See also Lakota in-laws

wak'ánheja, wak'ányeja, wakhænja

child, children. See also c'incá

wic'áĥca!

old man!, sometimes wives address so their husbands; wic'áĥcala mit'áwa kin, my old man. See also winúĥca

wic'áša mit'áwa

my husband; my lover. See also wínyan mit'áwa

winúĥca!

old woman!, sometimes husbands address so their wives; winúĥcala mit'áwa kin, my old lady. See also wic'áĥca

wínyan mit'áwa

my wife; my lover. See also wic'á ša mit'áwa




Grammar Tables

Most kinship terms use prefixes mi- "my", ni- "your", unkí- "our", and suffixes -ku/-cu "his/her" to construct possessive forms "my", "his", etc "relative". The word w/o prefix/suffix usu. means "my" if used with an article: até kin (my father). The whole construction may usually consist of the following elements (in brackets are optional elements):

The structure of a kinship term.

[Whose?]

Who?

[his/her]

[of many]

[Article]

[Demonstrative]

Mary
mi- "my"
ni- "your"
unkí- "our"

t'ibló
"younger sis"

-ku

pi

kin "the"
wan "a, some"
wanjí "a, any"

lé "this"
lená "these"
hé "that"
hená "those"

Note that the word pi (called "plural enclitic") in, say, atkúku pi kin "their father" is used to denote father of many people, not fathers of one man. The plurality of father is shown usually on the verb: Atkúku kin t'ec'íĥila pi. "The fathers love you."; or additionally with a demonstrative: Atkúku kin hená t'ec'íĥila pi. "Those fathers love you."

The typical forms for t'ibló "woman's elder brother".

/

Using kinship affixes

Using -ya verbs

My bro

mit'íblo kin

t'iblówaye kin

My bros

mit'íblo kin (hená)

t'iblówic'awaye kin

Our bro

unkít'iblo pi kin

t'iblóunyan pi kin

Our bros

unkít'iblo pi kin (hená)

t'iblówic'unyan pi kin

Your bro

nit'íblo kin

t'iblóyaye kin

Your bros

nit'íblo kin (hená)

t'iblówic'ayaye kin

Your(pl.) bro

nit'íblo pi kin

t'iblóyaya pi kin

Your(pl.) bros

nit'íblo pi kin (hená)

t'iblówic'ayaya pi kin

Her bro

t'iblóku kin

t'iblóye kin

Her bros

t'iblóku kin (hená)

t'iblówic'aye kin

Their bro

t'iblóku pi kin

t'iblóya pi kin

Their bros

t'iblóku pi kin (hená)

t'iblówic'aya pi kin

Kinship verbs -ya

These are formed by the addition of the suffix -ya to the kinship term : ate + ya = ateya, etc. The meaning of these verbs is: to have somebody as one's relative, for example atéwaye = ate+wa+ye = "father-I him-have as", "he is my father". Followed with an article (kin, wan, wanjí) the whole construction is regarded a noun: atéwaye kin "my father"; atéwaya wan "one of my fathers"; atéwaya wanjí "any of my fathers" (you remember that Lakotas may have numerous fathers and mothers?!).

Note 1. -yA changes to -yAn after nasal vowels /an/, /in/, /un/, and after pronominal affixes -ma- "me", -ni- "you", and -un- (we/us). E.g. Ináyan pi. She is their mother. Ináyaya pi. She is your(pl.) mother. Inámayan pi. I am their mother / They have me for a mother.

Note 2. Uppercase A in -yA(n) means that the sound /a(n)/ changes to:
1. /in/ before ktA, na, and na?inš: Hignáwayin kte. "He will be my husband.";
2. /e/ in many positions, the most important of them are: before kin article (ináwaye kin "my mother"), at the end of a sentence (C'inkšíc'iye. "You're my son."), and before 'yelo': Atéyaye yelo. "He's your father (man speaking)."

Note 3. In informal style of speech (ikcéya wóglaka), some /w/, /y/, /?/, and /h/ are dropped. So, Ináyaye yeló (She's your mother.) would turn into, ináaeeló.

Just for case, I've put below the full paradigm of the verbs -yA (to have somebody as (one's father, for example)):

Conjugation of relation -yA verbs (e.g. ate-yA)

\

MY

OUR

YOUR

YOUR(pl.)

HIS/HER

THEIR

I AM

---

-c'iya

-c'iyapi

-waya

-wic'awaya

I&YOU ARE

---

-unyan

-wic'unyan

WE ARE

-unniyan

-unniyanpi

-unyanpi

-wic'unyanpi

YOU ARE

-mayaya

-unyayapi

---

-yaya

-wic'ayaya

YOU(pl.)ARE

-mayayapi

-yayapi

-wic'ayayapi

HE/SHE IS

-mayan

-unyanpi

-niyan

-niyanpi

-ya

-wic'aya

THEY ARE

-mayanpi

-niyanpi

-yapi

-wic'ayapi




English-Lakota Dictionary

Lakota extended family

In Lakota society more people than in English one call each other "brother", "sister", "father", "mother", "son", and "daughter". This results from the fact that the brothers call each other's children sons and daughters, and the sisters also share their kids.

Let's suppose...Ten brothers love ten sisters from another clan. They get married and form ten families. Eventually each pair have got five sons and five daughters, giving 5x10=50 boys and 50 girls in total. Now look: Each man of the 10 brothers has 50 sons and 50 daughters. Each woman of the 10 sisters also has 100 kids in all. Each boy has 49 brothers, 50 sisters, 10 fathers, and 10 mothers. Each girl likewise has 50 brothers, 49 sisters, and 20 parents. This is Lakota extended family!

Another example. My mother has a sister and a brother. My father also has one sister and one brother. How should I call mom's/pop's sisters, brothers with their spouses and children? How do my relatives and my spouse address each other? Let's look at the table.

I. How do I call my parents, uncles and aunts?

Mother's
brother's
wife

Mother's
brother

Mother's
sister's
husband

Mother's
sister

Mom

Dad

Father's
brother

Father's
brother's
wife

Father's
sister

Father's
sister's
husband

t'unwínla

lekší

lekšíla

iná

Até

t'unwíla

t'unwín

Lekšíla

II. How do I call my brothers, sisters, and cousins? (1. I'm a man; 2. I'm a woman)

Mother's brother's

Mother's sister's

Mom+Dad's

Father's brother's

Father's sister's

son

daughter

sons & daughters

son

Daughter

1. t'anhánši
2. šic?éši

1. hankánši
2.scép'anši

These are my
sisters and brothers

1. t'anhánši
2.šic?éši

1. hankánši
2.scép'anši

III. How do my parents, uncles, and aunts call me? (1. I'm a man; 2. I'm a woman)

Mother's
brother's
wife

Mother's
brother

Mother's
sister's
husband

Mother's
sister

Mom

Dad

Father's
brother

Father's
brother's
wife

Father's
sister

Father's
sister's
husband

1.t'ošká
2.t'oján

1.t'unšká
2.t'unján

1.c'inkší, "son"
2.c'unkší, "daughter"

1.t'ošká
2.t'oján

1.t'unšká
2.t'unján


Lakota parents

In Lakota extended family you may have more than one father (até) and more than one mother (iná). My father is not only my biological father, but also all his "brothers""Lakota sisters").

Lakota sisters & brothers

In Lakota extended family includes not only all the sons of my father are my brothers, but also the sons of persons whom my father calls "brother" and which are my "fathers"). Therefore many English-style cousins become my brothers in Lakota extended family. Likewise, my sisters are those who are daughters of my mothers and also the daughters of all her "sisters" which are my "mothers". As a result, it's very hard to become an orphan among Lakotas, as everybody typically has more than one father and more than one mother.

Other peculiarities: special terms for older and younger sister/brother, and different terms used by men and women. See the table below:

Lakota terms of address for "sister/brother"

/

Male's

Female's

Older brother

c'iyé

t'ibló

Younger brother

misún

Older sister

t'anké

c'uwé

Younger sister

t'ankší

t'anká

Lakota sons & daughters

In Lakota extended family a man calls c'inkší, "son" all the sons of his "brothers", and for a woman any daughter of her "sisters" is regarded as her c'unkší, "daughter".

Lakota uncles, aunts, etc

In Lakota extended family terms t'unwín "aunt", lekší "uncle", and t'anhánši / šic?éši / hankánši / scép'anši "cousin" have narrower meaning as some English-style aunts and uncles are labeled mothers & fathers, and some English-style cousins are called sisters & brothers. Uncles and aunts by marriage are regarded as more distant relatives and possess a diminutive suffix -la (See Table of parents, uncles, and aunts).
The four terms of address for cousins are determined by the sex of a cousin and the sex of a person calling him/her:

Lakota terms of address for cousins

/

Male's

Female's

Son of a mother's brother / father's sister

t'anhánši

šic?éši

Daughter of a mother's brother / father's sister

hankánši

Scép'anši

Analogously there are four terms of address for nephews and nieces. See also Table of uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.

Lakota terms of address for nephew/niece

/

Male's

Female's

Nephew

t'unšká

t'unján

Niece

t'ošká

t'oján

Lakota in-laws

Traditionally, communication between parents-in-law and children-in-law is restricted. Rather, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are expected to maintain a light-hearted, "joking" relationship .

Lakota terms of address for in-laws


/

Husband's

Wife's

Father-in-law

t'unkán(ši)

Mother-in-law

uncíši

Son-/daughter-in-law

t'akóš

Brother-in-law

t'anhán

šic?é

Sister-in-law

hanká(n)

(s)cép'an


Comparison of Birth-Order Names

Order

Santees

Male .......... Female

Canadian Dakotas

Male .......... Female

Oglalas

Male .......... Female

First-born

Caske

Winona

Teaské

Winóne

Caske

Wi-tokape

Second-born

Hepan

Hapan

Hepó

Hápe

Hepan

Hapan

Third-born

Hepi

Hapistinna

Hepí

Hápsti

Hepi

Hepistanna

Fourth-born

Catan

Wauske

Watcáto

Wiháki

Catan

Wanska

Fifth-born

Hake

Wihake

Haké

Hapóna

Hake

Wi-hake

Sixth-born

____

____

Tatcó

Hapstina

Hakata

Hakata

Seventh-born

____

____

____

Wihakéda

Cekpa

Cekpa


SOURCE: Riggs, 1890; Wallis, 1947; Walker, 1914.




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