Susquehannock language

Susquehannock is a language spoken by the Native American Conestoga Native Americans (Susquehannocks). It is a part of the Iroquoian language family.

Conestoga Language (Susquehannock)
Conestoga Language
Native toNew York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia Northeastern United States
  • Therorized to be Northern Iroquoian based on Companius' source
    • Lakes Iroquoian
      • Five Nations
        • Conestoga Language (Susquehannock)
Language codes
ISO 639-3sqn
Susquehannock lang.png
pre-contact distribution of the Susquehannock language

Little of the Conestoga Language has been preserved in print. The only currently known condensed print source is the Vocabula Mahakuassica compiled by the Swedish missionary Johannes Campanius during the 1640s and published with additions in 1696[1] and 1702.[2] The 1702 book was translated into English in 1834 by Peter S. du Ponceau.[3]

Campanius's vocabulary contains only 89 words and phrases but it is believed to show that the Conestoga Language (Susquehannock) is a Northern Iroquoian language closely related to those of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy languages (Five Nations).[4] Examples of Conestoga Language include the river names Conestoga, Juniata, and Swatara.

While Campanius' work currently serves as the authoritative print source material for Conestoga Language, it is not the only source. Place names in the Conestoga Homeland are of Conestoga Language origin. After 1763, Conestoga Language speakers are known to have been among the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Conestoga Language survived. As well, Conestoga Language place names become apparent from research done in the last 125 or so years. One source for place names of Conestoga Language origin is "Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania with Numerous Historical Notes and References", a book, which was written by Dr. George P. Donehoo in 1928. This book contains etymological descriptions of the place names of Conestoga Language origin.


  1. ^ Johan Campanius. 1696. Catechismvs Lutheri Lingva Svecico-Americana: Lutheri Catechismus/ Öfwersatt på American-Virginiske Språket. Stockholm: Burchardi Tryckeri af J. J. Genath. (Reprinted 1937 in Stockholm by Ivar Haeggström)
  2. ^ Thomas Campanius Holm. 1702. Kort beskrifning om provincien Nya Swerige uit America: Som nu förtjden af the Engelske kallas Pensylvania. Stockholm: J.H. Werner for Sal. Wankijfs.
  3. ^ Peter S. Du Ponceau. 1834. "A Short Description of the Province of New Sweden, Now Called, by the English, Pennsylvania, in America." Compiled From the Relations and Writings of Persons Worthy of Credit, and Adorned With Maps and Plates. By Thomas Campanius Holm. Translated from the Swedish, for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. With Notes. By Peter S. Du Ponceau. Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania 3:1-166. (Reprinted 1834 in Philadelphia by McCarty & Davis)
    cited in Marianne Mithun. The Languages of Native America (1999, Cambridge University Press).
  4. ^ Marianne Mithun. 1981. "Stalking the Susquehannocks," International Journal of American Linguistics 47:1-26.


  • "A Vocabulary of Susquehannock", 2nd edition, Thomas Campanius Holm, Evolution Publishing & Manufacturing, 2007.

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