Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project

fun with words


Here are some words used in our every day American language that are derived from Wôpanâak:


Pumpkin: Pôhpukun (ponh-pu-kun) = ‘grows forth round’

Moccasin: Mahkus (mah-kus) = ‘Covers the whole foot’

Skunk: Sukôk (su-konk) = ‘Ejects body fluid’

Moose: M8s (moos) = ‘moose’

Powwow: Pawâw (pa-waaw) = ‘s/he is healing/heals (someone)’

Additionally there are many locations that still retain the place names in the original Wôpanâak language. Here is a sampling of some of those locations.


Original Name: Mâsach8sut (maa-sa-choo-sut)
Current Name: Massachusetts
Translation: Place of the foothill. This was probably referring to the Blue Hills


Original Name: Mâseepee (maa-see-pee)

Current Name: Mashpee

Translation: Big water. This refers to Mashpee Pond.


Original Name: Kut8ut (ku-too-ut)

Current Name: Cotuit

Translation: Talking place. This was most likely a place for meetings.


Original Name: Sôty8ut (sonh-too-ut)

Current Name: Santuit

Translation: Sachem's place. This refers to the residency or burial ground of a Sachem.


Original Name: Seep8eesut

Current Name: Sippewisset

Translation: Brook Place. This refers to a particular brook there.


Original Name: Ahshum8ut

Current Name Ashumet

Translation: Fresh water spring place. This refers to a particular spring there.


Original Name: Weeqay8ut

Current Name: Waquoit

Translation: Place of Light.


Original Name: Mônâmashkayut

Current Name: Monamascoy

Translation: Abundant grass and herb place.


Original Name: Âhqunah
Current Name: Aquinnah
Translation: The end of the island.