View Full Version : lacota language

04-28-2006, 07:08 PM
Hello, does anyone here know which word/words of the Lacota language were first to be transcribed into English?

04-28-2006, 07:23 PM
A friend of mine is of Lakota descent, and we've discussed this from time to time. Here's what she says, in a nutshell:

The Lakota language really doesn't translate well at ALL into English, because there are many concepts and philosophies among the Lakota, which is considered a "pre-reservation" language, that simply have no English equivalent. Likewise, there are a number of English ideas that don't translate into Lakota. For example. in Lakota culture many of the references are based upon nature, seasonal cycles, and travel. While you might say to someone, "Welcome!" in English, a Lakota would say "I am glad that you've walked so far to get here."

In addition, many language ideas are metaphors. While you might say in English, "Look at those stars up there," a Lakota could say "It fills me with happiness to see something so great in the heavens" -- because the expression is based upon the humility of man in the presence of nature, rather than just a couple of twinkly balls of light.

There are also several different variations of Lakota language, I believe she told me eleven, but I'm not positive on that.

Finally, she tells me that many English concepts just don't work in Lakota. For example, we say "I might go eat dinner." Among the Lakota, you either do or you don't, there's no maybe about it. You might say "I will think about eating dinner," because it makes a definite statement.

I know this didn't answer your original question, but hopefully it will help some :)

04-28-2006, 07:52 PM
Thanks Patti.

04-28-2006, 09:29 PM
Patti I don't want you to think I was blowing you off with a one word thanks. The fact is I was interupted with a police officer at my door. Needless to say this is not common. He just wanted some information about barking dogs in the neighborhood.

Yes, your friend is right about the Lacota language and its poetic nature. I'm writing an outline for a novel about a native american boy and his coming of age ceremony. I have native american contacts but these days so many are far removed from the ancient ways that much is either lost or my sources conflict.
I also have many resource tapes and books. Still there is nothing like a person who knows from experience what is expected.
This isn't a problem yet but it may be.
Anyway, thanks again.