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New Lakota Dictionary


We are pleased to announce that the New Lakota Dictionary: Lakȟótiyapi-English / English-Lakȟótiyapi & Incorporating the Dakota Dialects of Yankton-Yanktonai & Santee-Sisseton has begun publication and will be broadly available on July 15th. The Dictionary is the result of 25-years of work with over 300 speakers from all representative speech communities of the Northern Plains region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. 

This 20,000-word volume provides a reliable, accurate and user-friendly reference text and serves as a central component of the Lakota revitalization movement. It is an indispensable resource for both advanced language users as well as beginning students, and offers many innovative features including:

  • Over 40,000 example sentences, usage notes and collocations;
  • A modern layout that makes it easy to find words and their usage;
  • More than 6,000 words that do not appear in any previous dictionary;
  • A standard orthography that adequately marks all meaningful sounds in the language;
  • All verbs entries include conjugation forms;
  • Special symbols that mark the 3,000 most important words; and
  • Descriptions of word-stems and stem nests.

Pre-publication reviews include that of William K. Powers, author of Sacred Language: the Nature of Supernatural Discourse in Lakota, who states that The New Lakota Dictionary is “much needed and innovative” in providing a “breakthrough in contemporary Native American language studies” and “revolutionizes what we understand about the historical development of Lakota and Dakota dialects” while clarifying “many problems found in earlier lexical works.”

Willem de Reuse, author of “One Hundred Years of Lakota Linguistics” calls it a “monumental work” — “the Lakota dictionary linguists and educators have been waiting for . . . by far the best Lakota dictionary available, in terms of ease of use for 21st century learners, as well as in terms of lexicographical coverage and grammatical accuracy.”

The publication of the NewLakota Dictionary was made possible through the generous contributions of the Dakota Indian Foundation of Chamberlain, SD, the Tatanka Oyate Foundation of Germany, the Grotto Foundation of Minneapolis, MN, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Lake Prior, MN, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Dictionary release events will take place in Minnesota and South Dakota. The first event is tentatively schedules for June 27th  in Minneapolis and the second for July 19th in Rapid City, SD at the Prairie Edge Gallery. This will be a great opportunity to meet many of the people involved in the Dictionary’s development.  Refreshments will be served.


Supporting Organizations:







Revitalizing Lakota, One Child at a Time
©2004 Lakota Language Consortium Inc.