Penobscot (pαnawαhpskewi)

Penobscot is a variety of Eastern Abenaki and a member of the Algonquian language family. It was spoken by the Penobscot people (Pαnawάhpskewi) in Maine in the USA. The last native speaker, Madeline Tower Shay, died in 1993. Since then, however, efforts have been made to revive the language. These include teaching it in the elementary school on Indian Island.

The Penobscot Nation is a federally recognized tribe in the USA. They live on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation (Álənαpe Mə́nəhan) in Penobscot County in the southwest of Maine along the Penobscot River. The name Penobscot is an Anglicized version of the native name for Penobscot Island - pαnáwαhpskek, and means "the place where the rocks clear out".

Penobscot is written with the Latin alphabet using a spelling system devised in the 1980s by Frank Thomas Siebert, Jr. (1912-1998), a pathologist and self-taught linguist who documented the Penobscot language and produced a dictionary in 1984. Other ways to write it are available.

Penobscot alphabet

Penobscot alphabet

Download an alphabet chart for Penobscot (Excel)

Some words and phrases in Penobscot


Videos in Penobscot

Information about Penobscot | Numbers


Information about the Penobscot language and people

Online Penobscot dictionary

Algonquian languages

Abenaki, Algonquin, Arapaho, Atikamekw, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cree (East), Cree (Moose), Cree (Plains), Cree (Swampy), Cree (Woods), Fox, Innu (Montagnais), Kickapoo, Malecite-Passamaquoddy, Loup, Massachusett (Wampanoag), Menominee, Miami, Míkmaq, Mohegan, Mohican, Munsee, Narragansett, Naskapi, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Ottawa, Penobscot, Powhatan, Potawatomi, Quiripi, Sauk, Shawnee, Unami (Lenape)

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 08.01.24


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