INTRODUCTION TO THE
The following English-Arapaho dictionary is a revised version of the original produced in 1983 by Zdenek Salzmann and the Arapaho Language and Culture Commission (ALCC) for the Northern Arapaho tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Contributors to that edition included Hiram Armajo, Frances B. Brown, Helen Cedartree, William J. C'Hair, William S. C'Hair, Sr., Ben Friday, Arnold Headley, Ralph G. Hopper, Alonzo Moss, Pius Moss, Frances Oldman, Vincent Redman, Hugh Ridgely, Robert Sun Rhodes, Marguerite Spoonhunter, and Cleone Thunder.
As Arapaho language teachers and consultants began to use the dictionary and what came to be called the "Salzmann system," they: (1) realized that students at all levels had some difficulties learning, reading, and writing the original alphabet; (2) recognized a number of errors in spellings and meanings in the entries; and (3) continued adding new terms to the dictionary. As corrections, additions, and suggestions accumulated, it became clear that a revised edition was in order.
Specifically, the following changes were recommended by consensus and authority of the ALCC. First of all, this version does not use the colon to extend long vowels as in the original, but has replaced this notation with doubled or tripled vowels. For example, the word "hi:si:s" ('sun') in the original" is now "hiisiis." In addition, though the stresses and music of Arapaho pronunciation are needed to convey different meanings, members of the commission and others agreed to discard the accent marks in writing Arapaho because they are too difficult for young people to grasp and impossible to reproduce in print with standard type or fonts. Learning the stressed, falling, and triple vowel sound contours must, all agreed, be learned through oral teaching and practice.
Secondly, through interview sessions in 1989-90 with a number of Arapaho fluent speakers, the listings in the dictionary were expanded. Helen Cedartree and Robert Sun Rhodes, two of the oldest members of the ALCC, were the main contributors to this effort. They offered invaluable suggestions for new entries along with helpful comments and clarification for meanings. Others who participated included Pius Moss, Vincent Redman, Francis Brown, William J. C'Hair, Jr., Alonzo Moss, and Richard Moss. Harold Moss and myself, Jeffrey Anderson, recorded and transcribed the information provided. Items added include local place names, cultural objects, modern expressions, and some older terms.
Thirdly, throughout these and other sessions, members of the ALCC corrected items, meanings, and spellings they recognized in the original version. These corrections have been made in the dictionary that follows.
The introductory material on Arapaho language, culture, history, and resources has also been left out of this version in order to allow easier copying and quicker referencing. Those readers interested in that material can consult the original.
The present version of the dictionary is of course not perfect either. There are different pronunciations, other words, and many other intriguing areas of the Arapaho language yet to be documented. Hopefully this revision process will continue.
Financial support for consultation services by tribal members was provided by the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
Assistance for and duplication of this text were provided by Arapahoe School, and, in particular, Eugene Ridgely, Director of the Arapahoe School Culture Program, Marie Willow and Wayne C'Hair, teachers, and Agnes Logan, administrative assistant. Dr. Jeffrey Anderson did the scanning, transcription, and introductory sections.
b c e h i k n o s 3 t u w x y '
SHORT VOWELS: are the basic building blocks of other vowels.
e is a short vowel sound like the "e" in the English word "bet."
i is a short vowel that sounds like the "i" in the English term "bit."
o is similar to the vowel sound in the English word "got."
u is like the English short "u" sound in "put."
LONG VOWELS: are the vowels listed above, but held longer.
Long vowels are indicated by the doubling or tripling of the same vowel sounds above or combinations (diphthongs) of different vowel sounds.
ee is close in sound to the English short "a" sound as in "bat."
ii is similar to the long "e" in English, such as in "beet."
oo is much like the long "ah" sound as in "caught" or "fought,"
uu is a long "u" sound as in the English word "dude."
VOWEL COMBINATIONS (DIPTHONGS): are combinations of the short vowel sound put together.
ei is much the like the long "a" sound as in the English word "weight."
ou is a long "o" sound in English, as in "boat."
oe is similar to the long "i" sound in English, as in "bite."
ie is rare in Arapaho, but is made by first saying the short "i" sound as in "bit" and then the short "e" sound as in "bet," listed above.
TRIPLE VOWELS: are extra long vowels or diphthongs that are held even longer and usually have a stress at the beginning and end. For example the word "booo" is a long "oo" sound with an added and stressed "o" sound on the end. Usually the stress is on the first vowel and the last.
eee is an extra long "e" or three "e's" put together.
iii is an extra long "i" or three "i's" put together.
ooo is an extra long "o", or three "o's" put together
uuu is an extra long "u" or three "u's" put together.
eii is an "ei" sound with an "i" sound added to the end.
oee is an "oe" sound held somewhat longer.
ouu is an "ou" sound with a "u" added to the end.
b is slightly less voiced (less sound) than the English "b" at the beginning and in the middle of words, but like a "p" (unvoiced, no sound) at the end.
c is between an English "j" and "ch." It is more like a "j" at the beginning of words.
h is like the English "h," but when at the end of a word or syllable it is breathed (air is forced out slightly)
k is a blend of "k" and "g," but more like "g" at the beginning of words, and more like "k" at the end.
n is more or less the same as the English "n."
s is like the English "s" as in "sea," but is never like a "z" sound as in "trees."
t sounds like an English "d," as in "dot" at the beginning of words, but more like a "t" elsewhere.
3 is similar to the unvoiced "th" sound in English, as in "thin," but never like the voiced "th" sound as in "the" or "that."
w is the same as "w" in water, but in Arapaho you must also make the "w" rounded lip shape when it is at the end, as in the Arapaho word woow, meaning "now"
x does not have a similar sound in English, but is like the "ch" sound in German, as in "ich" or "machen"
y is the same as the English "y," but must be shaped with the mouth at the end of words, too.
' is a glottal stop. It is made by closing the opening at the back of the throat, as in the Arapaho word ho' for "dirt."
anim. refers to an animate noun or verb form. Like other languages in the Algonquian family, Arapaho distinguishes animate subjects and objects from inanimate ones. The class of animate things includes all sacred beings, celestial things (i.e. sun, moon, stars, persons, and animals (including , mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and insects), but also other things, such as spoon, tepee pole, wheel, automobile, ball, rock, belt, boil, cactus, fingernail, and carrot.
inan. refers to an inanimate noun verb form, which Arapaho language distinguishes from animate discussed above. Nouns not indicated as animate, are inanimate.
subj. refers to the subject of a sentence.
obj. relates the object of a sentence.
excl. refers to an exclusive first person plural "we" in Arapaho, referring to those present in the group but not others.
incl. includes all in the first person plural, not just a special group of "we."
obv. is an obviative, a kind of fourth person reference in Arapaho and other Algonquian languages. When a third person actor is doing something to another third person goal or object, the latter is an obviative with a different noun and verb form.
sg. refers to a singular form
pl. indicates a plural form.
e.g. means "for example"
voc. is short for "vocative," meaning a form of a noun (usually a kinship term) used to address a person directly
The Helvetica font used for the dictionary was selected for its similarity to the style of print for school instruction at the primary levels. It is thus readable and easily copied by all ages.
The key English term for each entry is provided in capital letters and bold print for easy referencing (e.g., DOG).
It is not possible to provide all inflections for a noun or verb form for each entry, but more are provided for some common terms in order to offer enough grammatical information for learning.
For each noun, animate gender is indicated first, if applicable, followed by the singular form, then by plural and obviative forms separated by commas. For example:
MAGPIE anim noun; woo'uh'ei, pl. woo'uh'eino', obv. sg. woo'uh'ein
Verb constructions or sentences are first given in English followed by a colon (:), and then the Arapaho form. Each successive sentence is divided by a semi-colon (;). The following entry shows this pattern:
BELIEVE I believe you: hii3oowotone3en; I believe him (her): hii3oowotono'; he (she) believes him (her): hii3oowotonoot; do you believe me?: kei3oowoton; don't believe him (her)!: ciibeh'i3oowotonin; I don't believe you: heihoowwuu3oowotone3
Different variations of the same word or sentence are separated by a comma. For instance, there are several Arapaho terms for "banana":
BANANA hiiniinsiinoo', pl. hiiniinsiinou'u (means: "horn‑shaped"), noohousoo', pl. noohousou'u (means: "it is curved"); niihooyoo' (means: "it is yellow")
Clarification of terms or additional information is generally provided in parentheses. Literal meanings are offered in parentheses with the term "means," as in the example above. Other connections of meaning are defined by "refers to," "same as," or other specific terms. Some cross-references are also provided by "see" followed by the entry in capital letters.
Where an additional sound can be heard from some speakers or contexts of usage, Salzmann included it in parentheses, as in the plural form of bladder: hinis(i)no. These have been kept in this edition where not revised by the ALCC.
Punctuation indicates question and command forms. For example, the latter forms of Arapaho verbs are indicated by an exclamation point following the English translation, such as:
remember me!: 3oo3eenebi
Arapaho does not distinguish pronoun forms or inflections for gender, as in English"he " and "she," so the third person singular (animate) is indicated by "he (she)" for the following entries.
Differences between male and female speech forms, though, are indicated in parentheses, as in ways of saying "yes":
YES hee (man speaking); 'oo, 'ine (woman speaking); wohei, woheih (man speaking)
In general, this dictionary is not "the Arapaho language," but can be used as an aid to teaching, learning, and understanding it. It is not intended to be the only resource for language learning and renewal, but must only supplement other materials and ways of learning. This dictionary is only a very small part of needed efforts to keep the language alive.