Susquehannock language

Susquehannock, also known as Conestoga, is an Iroquoian language spoken by the Native American people variously known as the Susquehannock or Conestoga.

Conestoga Language (Susquehannock)
Conestoga Language
Native toNew York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia Northeastern United States
  • Therorized to be Northern Iroquoian based on Campanius's source
    • Lakes Iroquoian
      • Five Nations
        • Conestoga Language (Susquehannock)
Language codes
ISO 639-3sqn
Susquehannock lang.png
Present Day Majority Distribution of the Conestoga Language (Susquehannock)

Information about Susquehannock is scant. Almost all known words and phrases come from the Vocabula Mahakuassica, a vocabulary written by the Swedish missionary Johannes Campanius in New Sweden during the 1640s and published by his grandson Thomas Campanius Holm in two separate works in 1696[1] and 1702.[2] Peter Stephen Du Ponceau translated the 1702 work from Swedish to English in 1834.[3][4]

Campanius's vocabulary contains just over 100 words and phrases.[4] Linguist Marianne Mithun believes this limited data is sufficient to classify Susquehannock as a Northern Iroquoian language, closely related to the languages of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.[5] Examples of Susquehannock-language place names include Conestoga, Juniata, and Swatara.

Place names in the Conestoga homeland are documented as of Conestoga origin. After 1763, some Conestoga remnant peoples joined nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Conestoga language survived for a time. Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania with Numerous Historical Notes and References (1928), a book by Dr. George P. Donehoo identifies place names derived from the Conestoga language.


  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. ^ a b Holm, Thomas Campanius (2007). Salvucci, Claudio R. (ed.). A Vocabulary of Susquehannock. American Language Reprints. Translated by Duponceau, Peter Stephen (2nd ed.). Merchantville, New Jersey, United States: Evolution Publishing. pp. 1–3. ISBN 9781889758855.
  5. ^ Marianne Mithun. 1981. "Stalking the Susquehannocks," International Journal of American Linguistics 47:1-26.


  • Holm, Thomas Campanius, et al. A Vocabulary of Susquehannock. 2nd ed., translated by Peter Stephen Duponceau, Evolution Publishing, 2007. American Language Reprints, edited by Claudio R. Salvucci. ISBN 978-1-889758-85-5.
  • 2021. Conestoga Language Living Dictionary.
  • Mithun, Marianne. “Stalking the Susquehannocks.” International Journal of American Linguistics, vol. 47, no. 1, Jan. 1981, pp. 1-26. JSTOR,
  • Donehoo, George P. Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania: with Numerous Historical Notes and References. Sunbury Press, 2014. ISBN 9-781620-065228.

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