A Guide to Speaking Arapaho



These pages are designed for many different uses.


At the simplest level, you may want to look up common words and phrases. The Arapaho words and phrases on each page are highlighted in red to make them easy to find right away.


If you're more ambitious, you may want to see how to change words around. The dashes (-) in words and phrases separate them out into their different parts. Certain parts of words are also underlined, which shows which part of a word in Arapaho corresponds to a word in English. If you prefer, you can just ignore the dashes and underlining, and work on learning the basic words and phrases. These symbols do not affect the pronunciation, and the words can be written without them.


For more advanced users, you will want to try and pay attention to how the words can be broken up and changed around, and to look for patterns. For example, if you see that ne-niiwohoe means 'my flag' and he-niiwohoe means 'your flag,' you can tell that the second part of the word doesn't change, so this must be the 'flag' part, while the ne- and he- at the beginning do change. So ne- must be 'my' while he- must be 'your.' The dashes (-) and underlining are designed to help you see this.


Also to help you, the "base" forms of words are sometimes indicated in parentheses. These are the core nouns and verbs, which you use to build on to say different things. In many cases, you can't see these core parts alone, as an actual word - they have to have things added on. But the core is there! For example, noohoot- means 'see' (an inanimate thing). Actual words are nih-noohoot-owoo 'I saw it,' heet-noohoot-o' 'he/she will see it,' koo-heih-noohoot 'did you see it?' and hih-'oow-noohoot 'he/she didn't see it.' The core is always there, and the dictionary will list this core form as noohoot-. The dash means it has to have some kind of ending.


Want to see more of these pages? Email Andrew Cowell at cowellj@colorado.edu with requests for additional words or phrases on a page, or additional pages and topics. Or even better, create your own page and send the contents to the same email address (even better, with recordings from elders), and we will put it up on the webpage, with full credit to the creators! Note that we reserve the right to check with fluent elders about the suitability of the topic and the correctness of the language before posting material sent in by others.



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