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”)– Abstract, Malian’s Song – Abenaki Language Glossary by Marge Bruchac. 2006.
Author(s): Marge Bruchac
Publisher: Vermont Folklife Center
Retrieved: University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons