What Are Some Native American Translations for Common English Words?


Quick Answer

"Hello" is "yá'át'ééh," "thank you" is "ahéhee," "what's your name?" is "haash yinilyé?" and "goodbye" is "hágoosh????" in Navjo, the most widely spoken Native American language in the United States. Find more Navajo words and phrases at Omniglot.com and a list of learning resources at NavajoNow.com In the Alaskan language Yupik, the second most widely spoken Native American language, "hello" is "Waqaa" and "thank you" is "Quyana."

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Full Answer

Before European conquest, there existed approximately 500 indigenous languages in the Americas. In present-day Alaska alone there were over 20. Today many of them are extinct.

Of the 2.4 million Native Americans in the United States, only about 30 percent speak their native language. With around 170,000 speakers, Navajo is more than 10 times larger than any of the others. Some other important languages are Sioux and Apache, with over 10,000 speakers each.

In South and Central America, there are far more people speaking their native languages. The most widely spoken language in the Americas is Quetchua, once used in the Inca empire and now spoken by about eight million people in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. In Quetchua, "hello" is "rimaykullayki," "thank you" is "solpayki" and "welcome" is "haykuykuy." Quetchua speakers refer to their own language as "Runasimi," "the language of the people."

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