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Banner: Naskapi Lexicon Introduction
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What is the Naskapi Lexicon?

The Naskapi Lexicon is a database that provides access to a trilingual dictionary, with translation of terms into English, French and Naskapi. Naskapi words are displayed in Naskapi syllabics, as well as in Roman letters for those who do not read syllabics. Search queries can be typed in any of the three languages and, in the case of Naskapi, in syllabic characters or Roman letters.

Viewing and typing Naskapi syllabics

In order to view the Naskapi syllabics on this website, special fonts are required. Similarly, the typing of Naskapi syllabics requires a special keyboard program. Both the Naskapi fonts and the keyboard program are available for free download. For details, click on the "Get Naskapi Fonts" button.

How does searching work?

There are two ways to search the Naskapi Lexicon:

Simple keyword searching

Simple keyword searching is available on each page of the Naskapi Lexicon website. Type your keyword(s) into the search box located beside "Look Up a Word" and click "GO".

Simple keyword searching searches across all of the fields in the database. If you enter more than one keyword, the database will automatically enter the Boolean operator "and" between your terms.

On the English page, keyword searches can be performed for English, French or Naskapi words and the Naskapi words can be entered as syllabics or in Naskapi Roman spelling. There are some restrictions, however, for the French and Naskapi pages. This is because the same characters are required to represent French letters as Naskapi letters. This means that on the Naskapi page, no searches can be performed for French words. Likewise, on the French page, no searches can be performed for Naskapi words.

Browsing the Lexicon

To browse through the Lexicon, select "Browse the Lexicon" from the menu at the top of the screen.

There are two ways to browse the Lexicon: you can browse the Lexicon alphabetically by selecting a letter, or you can enter a term to begin browsing at a particular entry. Selecting a letter or entering a term will generate a results list of Lexicon entries. Select an entry to see a display of the full lexical entry.

Note: You can only browse in the language of your interface. For example, if you are using the Naskapi interface of the website, you may only browse through Naskapi characters or for Naskapi terms.


The results screen provides a list of Lexicon entries that contain your search term(s). The results are listed in random order. Select an entry to view the full lexical details for the entry.

Item Display

The Item Display provides the full lexical entry for a word. The word is displayed in Western Naskapi syllabics, along with the following information:

Field Name Description
Eastern Naskapi variant The Eastern Naskapi variant spelling of a word. Note: Not all Naskapi words have an Eastern Naskapi variant.

Naskapi Roman The Naskapi Roman spelling for a word. Note: Naskapi is not written in Roman letters except in rare cases, but Roman spelling has been included for users who do not read syllabics.

English definition The English definition for a word.

French definition The French definition for a word.

Part of speech The Naskapi part of speech for a word. Abbreviations are used to indicate the part of speech. For details on the abbreviations, please see Part of speech abbreviations.

Topic Code The topic under which a word is grouped. For example, the word "sheep" is grouped under the topic "animal, mammal". Note: Not all words have been grouped under a topic.

Glossary keyword(s) English English keyword(s) that may relate to one or several Naskapi words. For example, searching with the English keyword "school" will return all of the Naskapi words that relate to the word "school".

Glossary keyword(s) French French keyword(s) that may relate to one or several Naskapi words. For example, searching with the French keyword "gratter" will return all of the Naskapi words that relate to the word "gratter".

Part of speech abbreviations

dem demonstrative
na noun, animate
nda noun, dependent, animate
ndi noun, dependent, inanimate
ni noun, inanimate
nma nominalization, animate
nmi nominalization, inanimate
p particle
pro personal pronoun
vai verb, animate, intransitive
vai/ii verb, animate or inanimate, intransitive
vii verb, inanimate, intransitive
vta verb, transitive, animate
vti verb, transitive, inanimate

Immediately following the grammatical designation listed above, another abbreviation may be found. This abbreviation indicates the final sound of the word stem. Sometimes, the addition of certain suffixes will change this final sound. Therefore, in certain cases the underlying sound is indicated as follows:

na-w 'w' final sound
p-w 'w' final sound
vai-i 'i' final sound
vai-u 'u' final sound
vai-uu 'uu' final sound
vii-i 'i' final sound
vii-u 'u' final sound
vii-uu 'uu' final sound

Following the underlying final sound (if any) in the grammatical designation, certain other abbreviations may be found concerning the construction of the Naskapi entry. These are all separated by commas, as follows:

,Cj Conjunct
,d diminutive
,loc locative
,imp impersonal (generalized activity)
,pj pejorative
,pl plural
,ps passive
,r reduplication

These are found in the Lexicon as follows:

pipikitisuw vii-i,d,r 'it is a very thin frozen layer of ice'

The grammatical designation for this word is: verb, inanimate, intransitive; stem final sound "i" diminutive; reduplication.

Other abbreviations are found in the definition or keyword, including the following:

(anim) animate
(inan) inanimate
(ex) for example
(lit) literally
(obv) obviative
(N) noun (to distinguish from the verb, ex SAW (N); the tool)
(V) verb (to distinguish from the noun, ex SNOW (V); snowing)