Nez Perce Tribe - Language Program

Click on any of the following links to listen and learn the Nimipuutimt phrases.

August 2014
Waw'a'maayq'áal - August. wáaw'am - head of a creek.  The return of chinook salmon, nacó’x̣, to the headwaters - wáaw'am to spawn in river tributaries and creek beds. They can be identified by the small black spots on their back and have gray basal gums.

halx̣páawit - Sun halx̣páawin’aqit Mon lepítkaa’awn Tue mitáatkaa’awn Wed píileptkaa’awn Thu páax̣atkaa’awn Fri halx̣pawit’áasx Sat
Phrases from the Niimíipuu story: “Origin of the Sweathouse       1 2
’kála ’ee wée ’iceyeeyeníx,” wistitámnonm péene, “’iceyéeye ’ee wées.”      
kawó’ yu’c ’iceyéeye hiwéepekeyke hitqa’ats’ilwáax̣wax̣canki ku’ kála míne.”
“Just you are exactly like a Coyote,” the Sweathouse said to him, “Coyote you are.”
Then the poor Coyote he ran off howling (at the instance of the exit of his waste matter) in some unknown place.
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enéestimipnisix núunim titlúune
We remember our ancestors-->
9 'ickum’seléelixpe at buffalo calf place (Big Hole Battlefield)
kawó’ ’óykalana wéeyixnikeetune, wax̣ wuléwteelikina wax̣ tuk’wémeteelikine, ’óykalana payóosna, wex̣weqéne, ’acíixna, cuy’éemne, wistítam’onm hinéeswiwen’íke, kaa la’ám pi’púxne.
Then to all the flying, and the quadrupeds species, and the creeping species, to all the snakes, the frogs, the turtles, the fish, Sweathouse he gave names, and all scattered.
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wistítam’o ’ipciwáatx̣cimk’ay’, wáaqo’ kálaqíwn ’ipnéene, “…cúukwece kakaa netíitelwit hipáayno’, ku’ kíne hipaaynó’taxpé’tu’ kakónim qepísin’,
The Sweathouse all alone, now just the Old Man said to himself, “I know when human being will arrive, here he would find something which will strength wax cikaw’isnáawit páanitax, and (accomplishments in everything) should him give.”

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wáaqo’ wax̣ ’íin kíne wuq’umlíikse ko’sanníx wistítam’o, kaa kex kun’méem ’íine hipekyúuyu’kum ’íine hipewuynúuyu’kum,
“Now I here shall lay the same Sweathouse, and who even to me shall come to me shall flee, konmaná ’íinqepísin’ wax̣ cikaw’isnáawit ’enéec’inyu’.”
to them I strength and accomplishments in everything I shall give.”
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kaa koná céwyuy’equ’ mamáy’ac hitéemepx. And I will encourage children to get an education.
 kawó’ wistítam’o koná hiwq’umlíike. netíitelwine páyax̣o’ya.

Then the Sweathouse there lay down. The human beings he waited for.                                 Kaló’ – The end!

leputmúusus wax̣ púutimt wax̣ píilept - 2014

Printable Waw'a'maayq'áal - August calendar. 




The Nimiipuutimt Alphabet Book has been developed to aid in the learning of the Nez Perce alphabet, as approved by the Language Program's Advisory Board of Elders in March 1997.

Several different alphabets have been used to represent the Nez Perce Language, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. However, the Advisory Board of Elders decided to use the writing system that had already been employed by the Bilingual Committee of the Nez Perce Tribe in 1979 (this committee included Mary Carter, Beatrice Miles, Henry Penney, Lota Sublett, and Lucille Raboin among others).  

It is essential that a spelling system show all the important distinctions in the sounds that the learners need to make. This will help them to pronounce the words correctly. It is also important that the spelling system not incorporate unnecessary and confusing complications. Although the alphabet used here introduces a few new letters, the Advisory Board concluded that it has the advantage of representing all of the different sounds and their important differences in the simplest manner. It is a practical writing system that employs principles of education and the science of language.  

The Nez Perce language has a number of sounds that we don't have in English. This can make it hard at first to say the words correctly.  

Improve your Nimipuutimt (keep checking as we expand this list)  

Five Vowels (plus long and short)  

Nimiipuutimt has five vowels that can be short or long in duration: a e i o u or aa ee ii oo uu. The long vowels are written double (in English dictionaries, long vowels are represented with a line over the top ā ē ī ō ū). When you say a long vowel, it takes longer to pronounce than a short vowel.  

Some of these vowels sound just like they do in English and some have a somewhat different sound. Just keep in mind that whether they are long or short, each letter stand for essentially the same sound (unlike English which can use many different ways of representing a sound). 


As we begin with the vowels, let's talk about stress (we are talking about language stress). Each word will have one vowel that has the most stress or emphasis on it. Vowels with stress are pronounced a little stronger and a little higher than other vowels. 

It is important to say words with the stress on the right vowel or the word will sound wrong or funny. For example, try saying potato and tomato with the stress on the first or last vowel. See how funny it sounds? Now consider the two English words cónvict and convíct. The first one is a noun and the second one is a verb.  

The convict might to got jail if, the court will convict him of the crime.  

The only difference between these two words is which vowel has the stress. It is important to put the stress in the right place. 

We indicate stressed vowels by putting a stress mark ' over them: á é í ó ú. For the long vowels, we only put the mark over the first part of the symbol: áa ée íi óo úu. Normally, we don't mark stress on a word with only one vowel because we know that it must have the stress.  


Circle of Elders: Bernice Moffett, Florene Davis, Bessie Scott, Connie Claye, Leroy Seth, Veronica Taylor, Loretta Halfmoon Frances Paisano  

208.843.7325 or 208.843.7402  

 Language Coordinator: Angel Sobotta ex. 4644

Language Coordinator: Thomas Gregory, tátlo ex. 4659 

Language Coordinator: Bessie Walker ex 4645  

Language Technician: Leslie Moses ex. 4643 

Language Technician: Harry Slickpoo Jr. ex. 4741

Language Technician: Gary Greene

Language Coordinator Orofino/Kamiah: Vacant  



All materials produced under the auspices of the Nez Perce Language Program are copyrighted by the Nez Perce Tribe and remain the intellectual property of the Tribe. Any reproduction in full or in part will be prosecuted to the full extend of local and foreign law.