Online Lakota Dictionary

Ryan Dube
Creative woman working at laptop

If you have an interest in the Lakota Native American language, an online Lakota dictionary is an excellent resource to learn even more. Whether you need to look up a specific word, want to incorporate Native American language into a wedding ceremony or memorial service, or just want to expand your vocabulary, there are several great resources to help.

Options for Online Lakota Dictionaries

Since the Lakota language is fully available in written form, it's possible to access translation tools online. The following websites offer some of the most accurate translations for the Lakota language. Each online Lakota dictionary listed below can help you better understand how to translate the English language into the native tongue of the Sioux people.

New Lakota Dictionary from Lakota Language Consortium

LakotaDictionary.org is a definitive resource for learning the Lakota language. It lets you type in any English word for a Lakota translation, or you can use the field to the right to translate in the other direction.

Lakota Speakster Translation

Lakota Speakster Translation is a great place to go for specific, common words. While it has hundreds of words, it doesn't contain as many words as other options. However, it has the added benefit of a pronunciation guide.

Native Languages Picture Dictionary

Native-Languages.org offers a wide range of language resources that you can use to learn more about the Sioux languages. One of those is a picture reference where you can see pictures of animals and their translation to Sioux words.

Omniglot Useful Phrases

If you want to focus on phrases you might use regularly in conversation, Omniglot offers a great list of Lakota questions and statements that can help. From greeting someone to dealing with an emergency, this site has you covered.

New Lakota Dictionary Mobile App

The New Lakota Dictionary, a print book by the Lakota Language Consortium, is available as a mobile app. This is handy if you need to look up Lakota words on the go or just want to have new vocabulary at your fingertips. iPhone users can download it for about $10 from the App Store. Android users can buy it for about $10 from Google Play.

Facts About the Lakota Language

Here are some additional facts about the Lakota and their unique language.

  • Within the area known today as North Dakota and South Dakota, there was an ancient tribe of natives known as the Sioux. The tribe is known as either the Lakota or the Dakota, depending upon which dialect is used.
  • The name for the chief in the Lakota language is "itancan".
  • Almost all Lakota people speak English, but thousands can speak the Lakota language too.
  • Like most other Native American tribes, storytelling is a central part of the Lakota cultural heritage. You can learn a great deal about the history of the Sioux through their stories that are handed down from generation to generation.
  • Unlike English, the Lakota language doesn't just have the five vowels, but also three additional nasal vowels that add a little bit to the complexity of learning the language.
  • In 1840, missionaries worked to transcribe the Lakota language into written form. Today, the accepted written form of the language is approved by tribal leadership and used in various schools on the reservation to teach children how to write in their tribal language.

Dive In and Learn Lakota

Learning a new language is never easy, but when you dive into a language like Lakota that is rich with Sioux culture and such a fascinating history, learning the language becomes more of an adventure than a chore. Online dictionaries of the Lakota language can help, especially if you use them in conjunction with other methods of teaching like hands-on crafts, Native American dance, and more.

Online Lakota Dictionary