Passamaquoddy Language

There is some very promising and important work going on to help preserve and keep the Passamaquoddy language alive. The language is still spoken fluently by many of the older tribal members. However, with the rapid changes in the world today, there is much concern that the language will not survive. The younger generations are not becoming fluent in the language.

The digital age has brought a new way of preserving, learning and teaching the language. Multimedia computers now offer text, pictures, audio, video and interactivity. This new media has become a valuable tool with language preservation and revitalization.

The on reservation grade school provides some classroom instruction teaching the Passamaquoddy language.

Over the years the staff employed at the Tribal Museum have contributed directly in the development and production of new dictionary. The new dictionary (in hardcover book form) has now been completed. It was published by the University of Maine Press, Orono, Maine and the Goose lane Editions, Fredericton, New Brunswick and is available through various book sellers on the internet. The dictionary has over 1200 pages and has taken several years to complete. There are well over 20,000 words in the dictionary. Through the dictionary project an extensive digital database was developed including digital audio files. This digital version of the dictionary project has not yet been published. It has been envisioned to make an interactive educational CD-ROM using this data. Many words have been published on the Mi’kmaq – Maliseet Institute UNB Libraries’ Electronic Text Centre Web Site.

The Tribal Historic Preservation Department is working to help preserve certain aspects of the Passamaquoddy language. See “Placenames CD” page.

There are many dedicated individuals doing important language revitalization work on their own as well.

Visit the Passamaquoddy Dictionary Website at: Maliseet – Passamaquoddy Dictionary contains over 19,000 entries. Editors-in-chief are David A. Francis Sr and Robert M. Leavitt.

Language Keepers Website: is an innovative approach combining descriptive linguistics, documentary video, and community outreach to revive speaker groups to use heritage language in traditional and contemporary activities while recording it for language learning, dictionary development, research, cultural transmission, and revival.

Passamaquoddy Language Links:
Passamaquoddy Language App
Elder, David Francis
Robert Leavitt
Placenames CD
Language Keepers
Other American Indian Languages