Munsee Delaware, an Eastern Algonquian language, is spoken by a small and steadily declining number of individuals. The Delaware-speaking peoples originally lived in the area of what is now New York City, adjacent regions of New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Today, a small number of speakers of the closely related Unami Delaware language are located in Oklahoma, and, of the three sites where Munsee Delaware was the predominant Delaware language spoken in Canada, only Moraviantown, Ontario, has surviving speakers.
Based on linguistic research carried out with Delaware speakers at Moraviantown, this is the first modern dictionary of Munsee Delaware. Each of the 7,100 entries in the Delaware-English section includes information on the word's grammatical category and gives examples of different inflected forms where appropriate. Also included are sample sentences used by Delaware speakers, grammatical and usage notes, cross-references, and indications of words borrowed from Dutch and English. The English-Delaware section functions as an index to the Delaware-English section, and is based upon all major words used in the latter section.
'In short, O'Meara's Delaware dictionary is the product of many years of dedicated and painstaking research, as well as the most recent example of an increasingly sophisticated Algonquian lexicographical tradition. It is designed with all potential users in mind, whether academic or Native. We are very fortunate to have it.'
‘[This dictionary] belongs on the shelf of every Algonquianist and in the hands of everyone who cares about the Delaware language.’
‘The author, a linguist, has produced an exceptional work, easy to use and beautifully produced, that will appeal to various audiences – linguists, Delaware people, culture historians, and anyone interested in American Indian languages.’
'This work is an outstanding addition to the rapidly growing list of Algonquian language dictionaries that have appeared in the last few years ... We are all deeply indebted to O'Meara for his valiant and painstaking efforts to capture so much of this language before it comes to its untimely end as it sadly seems destined to do.'