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Kaáⁿze Íe - Kanza Language

Spoken by the Kaw Nation (Kaáⁿze Táⁿmaⁿ)
Thanks to Justin McBride, Language Coordinator for the Kaw Nation, for helping me with this language

Ho Níkashinga Zhúje Olímbe!

[ho ˈnikkaʃĩŋga ˈʒyʤe oˈlĩmbe]        (ho NEEK-kah-shing-gah ZHÜ-jay oh-LEEM-bay!)

Note: A man would say "ho," and a woman would say "hawé" [haˈwe] (hah-WAY). Also, "Níkashinga Zhúje Olímbe" literally means "home of the red people."




"Nishóje ópha ahúbe čhe ao, ts’ágehinga angóta abá.  Máⁿhiⁿ-Tanga abá yingábe čhe ao.  Ni-oízhanka yegá éji olímbe čhe ao.  Gayó éji Máⁿhiⁿ-Tanga íyabe čhe ao.  Máⁿhiⁿ-Tanga abá íyabe daⁿ, dádaⁿ k’úbe čhe:  Jéγe, máⁿzeha, halézhe, máⁿhiⁿ shki, k’úbe čhe ao.  Gayóje nishóje ophá ayábe čhe ao.  Yegá ahíbe-go omáⁿyinka míⁿxči wáspe olímbe čhe ao."

Following the Missouri River our elders came. There were no Americans. They dwelled there at the fork of the river. Then they saw Americans there. The Americans saw them and gave them things: Kettles, pans, calico, and even knives, they gave them. Then they went following the Missouri River. When they reached that place, they lived peacefully for one year.

-Kanza Tribal Elder Waxóbe-K’iⁿ (Bundle-Carrier), mid-1880's

Contributed by Justin McBride


Click here for pronunciations of the following words: 
Khe dázhi yayíshe? Are you feeling all right (moving around)?
Gasixci yali. Good morning.
Háⁿ yali. Good night.
Hawé/Ho Hello (f/m)
We ______ bliⁿ. I am ______. (insert name)
nompéaⁿhi. I am hungry.
Aⁿhúhega minkhé. I am sick (sitting).
Omáⁿzheya akhá. I am tired (standing).
Doⁿhé ayihé. I am well (moving around).
Ble ta minkhé. I will be going.
Witómbe ta minkhé I will be seeing you.
hánkazhi no
Wíblahaⁿ. Thank you.
Dádaⁿ shkáxe hninkhé? What are you doing?
Be yayishé? Who are you?
Bé’e’e? Who is that/it?
Zházhe ahníⁿ? What is your name?
aⁿhá/howé yes (f/m)


©2003, Kaw Nation of Oklahoma. Used with permission.

Source: "Kanza Vocabulary." Internet: <http://www.geocities.com/kansalang/vocab.htm> January 23, 2006.

Kanza Alphabet


Labial Dental-Alveolar Postalveolar-Palatal Velar Glottal
Voiceless Tense Stop p t k
Voiceless Tense Affricate č
Voiceless Aspirated Stop ph kh
Voiceless Aspirated Affricate čh
Voiceless Glottalized Stop p’ t’ k’
Voiceless Glottalized Affricate ts’
Voiced Stop b d g
Voiced Affricate j
Nasal m n
Voiceless Fricative s sh x h
Voiced Fricative z zh γ
Approximant w y
Lateral Approximant l


Front Central Back
High i u
High Nasal iⁿ
Mid e o
Mid Nasal oⁿ
Low a
Low Nasal aⁿ


  • When certain characters are not available, the following substitutions are made when typing in Kanza:
    • aⁿ » a~ or aN (same for all nasal vowels)
    • č and čh » c and ch
    • γ » gh
  • An acute accent (´) is used to indicate primary stress. Example: íe [ˈie]
  • A grave accent (`) is used to indicate secondary stress. Example: mokáⁿ sàbe [moˈkkã ˌsabe]
  • When nasal vowels come before a velar consonant, the becomes n. Example: angóta, not aⁿgóta.
  • When nasal vowels come before a bilabial consonant, the becomes m. Example: zhómbe, not zhóⁿbe.
  • č, k, p, and t are tense consonants. When they occur word-initially, they are plain, [ʧ, k, p, t]. However, in other positions they geminate, and become [ʧʧ, kk, pp, tt].
  • Long vowels are indicated by doubling. The accent mark on a long vowel is placed on the second letter. Example: Kaáⁿze [ˈkãːze].


Alphabet tables contributed by Justin McBride, notes by Benjamin Bruce from information at WebKanza.

Web Design by  Benjamin Bruce