Welcome to the Language & Vocabulary page.

Here you can explore some of the non-English words I use in my poems, whether these words are part of my native culture or in some more easily recognizable foreign languages, like French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

I love to include Abenaki words in my poems because the words in their original forms tend to convey deeper meaning than perhaps their translated-into-English forms do.

Abenaki words are, in general, made up of roots and add-ons such as prefixes and suffixes. These and other add-ons deepen the meaning of the roots or fine-tune the meanings. That is why so many of the words are so long.

This page however is not meant to be a teaching page. I simply want you to see some of the words I have used in my poems.

True also of foreign phrases and idioms I have incorporated into poems. I list a few favorites below. This list will continue to grow.

Have fun, explore, try using certain foreign phrases on your own, share with me how this works for you. ASK questions in the
contact me area.

REMEMBER: You are not going for cultural appropriation here. You are simply adding depth to your poems. If you have questions, ask a translator or a native speaker of whatever language you are using.

NOTE: Please do not try to use the Abenaki phrases in your own poems, as you will not have the context of culture in which to make them accurate or appropriate. You will also not have the correct suffixes or prefixes to denote the details added to the root words.
The phrases shared below are only for your deeper understanding of poems by Abenaki poets, my poems included.

double double curve

Abenaki words and phrases (partial list):

Abazenoda ... basket made in the traditional manner
Adebakwal place of beans growing
Agamokawi teach me
Aiyamihaw8gan ... prayer
Alamikos ... Greetings Moon
Anhaldam mawi kassipalilawalan ... forgive me if I have wronged you, a traditional utterance in the Forgiveness Month of January (Anhaldamawigizos)
Alnôbaiwi ... in the Abenaki way or manner
Aln8bak ... the traditional name of the Abenaki people; the 8 is a vocable sounding like “ohn” and is sometimes spelled “ô”
Alnôbakiak Abenaki culture
Alokada ... Let’s work
Alokada, nidôba Let’s work, friend
Alosada, Gezaldami Walk with me, darling


Babasôpkwao ... half moon
Baskaba ... open water
Baskhodebahiganal ... war club or weapon (literally, a head-breaker)
Bebonkas … Winter Bringing Moon
Benibagos ... Leaf Falling Moon
Bigôdagos ... Bough Shedding Moon
Bigw8ganizal … honeysuckle (little whistles)
Bobatama … pray for one another
Bostoniwi ... in the American way or manner

Cegwalôwzia ... a joking reply to inquiries about health, literally “I feel like a frog”
Cowissewachook ... Mt. Kearsarge in NH

Demezôwas Harvesting Moon

Gadawsanda ... Saturday, wants to be Sunday
Gedowbago ... it is a noise in the water
Gizanda ... Monday
Gluskabi ... maker, owner, man who made himself out of nothing,

Godlaka … go hide

Jibaaki ... funeral practice of scaffold burial, literally a forest of coffins
Jijiz ... “Jack-in-the-pulpit,” plant that resembles a baby in a cradle board

Kaamoji! ... oh wow! for crying out loud!
Kakiknia I am corn
Kamoniodebkwanal ... corn silk, corn hair
Katahdin ... sacred mountain of the Abenakis
Kelegatsta ... painted stripes
Kikas … Planting Moon
Kikôtegw ... river of fields, literally a different way of farming proposed by the French settlement at Norridgewock
Kik … ground


Maahlakws ... brown ash, sacred creation tree of the Abenaki
Maanamagwas ... osprey
Mamillômsen ... the wind that blows off the water or comes ashore
Matosao ... it is ended
Medawihla ... loon
Mekwabi … Pray
Mezatanos Ice Forming Moon
Micida … Let’s eat
Mijowôgankas ... eating month, either August or September
Moosbas … moose
Mozokas ... Moose Hunting Moon

Ndakinna ... The land of the Abenaki, Place of Dawn, Dawnland
Naaiaiak people from downstream, people from away
Nebiwi ... in water, what is in water
Nebizokikônek ... garden
Negônôjemowôganal ... old stories
Nesowadnehunk ... dead water
Nigawes … my mother
Nijia… my brother
Niswiak … my husband
Niswiakw … your wife/husband
Nitsakaso … my sister
Nizda alokan... Tuesday
Nmit8gwes … my father
Nokemes … my grandmother
Nokkahigas … Hoeing Moon
Nonogaiwi …soon enough.
Noses … my grandson
Nseda alokan ... Wednesday

Ohn, hohn ... yes indeed
Oligawi ... sleep well
Onegigwibona … set traps
8mwaiemelases … honey (bee molasses)

Pashipakokee ... Sheepscot River
Pkwamiak ... icicles
Pôgwas ... moon, literally one who walks all night

Sanda ... Sunday, day of recreation or rest
Sibobi … river water
Skamonkas m… Corn Making Moon
Skawatekwigizegad ... Friday
Skwedaibbagok ... fire leaf, that which grows after being burned
Sobagw … sea/ocean
Solg8nibi … rain water

Wajemi kiss me
Wasawak place of squash
Wazôliinebi ... snow water, melting snow
Wazônliskik ... a little snow on the ground
Wlipamkaani ... travel well, a traditional farewell
Wligonebi ... the water feels good
Wlôwatawak ... blue tea, between green & black

Yawda alokan ... Thursday

Zataikas Blueberry Making Moon
Zogalikas … Sugar Making Moon
Zôgak ... lobsters
Zogalinebi … sap water, from the maple
Zogwawon ... face paint
Zôkhôban ... ocean or sea
Zoziwaldam… be lonely, for the birds

The diagram below shows how some words are formed
from a single pair of letters:



Quirky words and phrases in other languages
that may be helpful to know/ use:

Froideur (n. Fr) cold superiority
diablerie (n. Fr) reckless mischief
une citrouille (n. Fr) a pumpkin
une p
êche (n. Fr) a peach
une poire (n. Fr) a pear
ímon (n. Sp) a lime
des blumen (n. Ger) flowers
scholium (adj.) marginal note
dorp (n.) hamlet or village
paludal (adj.) relating to marshes

Idioms that may be useful

ce n'est pas un an (Latin) he's not all that
visa nostrus braves eat (Latin) our life is brief
post hoc, ergo propter hoc (Latin) after, therefore because of it
être à l'article de la mort (Fr) you're at death's door
nos habemus humus (Latin)