Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Vermont Folklife Center


The tribal name Abenaki is adapted from the original Wôbanakiak, a noun that combines the morphemes for dawn or white light (wôban), and land (-aki) with an animate plural ending to indicate the people who dwell in that place (-ak). During the 1700s, English, French, and Dutch attempts to pronounce Wôbanakiak or Wôbanaki resulted in many different spellings - Abnaki, Abanaki, Abenaki, Banakee, Wabanaki, etc. - that appear in colonial records. The most common modern pronunciations of Abenaki are the following:

1) Abenaki (stress the first syllable, and pronounce “a” as in “lab” and “e” as in “end”)

2) Abénaquis (stress the second syllable, and pronounce “a” as in “ah” and “e” as in “end”)

3) Abnaki (stress the first syllable, and pronounce “a” as in “lab”)

4) Abanaki (stress the first and third syllables, and pronounce “a” as in “lah”)

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Posted with permission from the Vermont Folklife Center.

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Date Posted: 23 December 2016