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Lykins translation links:
Lykins - Introduction
Gospel According to Matthew (original orthography)
Gospel According to Matthew
The Acts of the Apostles
Johnston Lykins - brief biography
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Lykins' Orthography

Potawatomi beaded belt

The explanation that follows is Lykins own, transcribed verbatim from pages 5 and 6 of his book.


In This print, the common English types are used, not as letters to be combined on the principles of spelling, but merely as characters denoting particular sounds, and the position of the lips, tongue, throat, &c. at the commencement or termination of sounds by which the latter are modified.

In English six vowels are used, the uses of which are so varied as to make up the number of vowel-sounds required. In this system each distinct sound, that can be heard by the ear, is denoted by a character, the use of which is never varied. These characters are eight in number, and may be explained as follows.

A SECOND class of characters denote simply the positions of the organs of speech; thus;

A THIRD class of characters are such as denote the position of the organs of speech, accompanied by a sound slightly distinguishable by the ear; as follows.

WITH these seventeen characters, none of which has a name, the Putawatomie language is written.

EXAMPLE. Take the English word tape. At this character [t] on the line, the reader places the end of the tongue tight to the roof of the mouth, as above directed; this [r] directs him to make a sound, given above; and at this [p] he brings his lips tightly together--and in doing so he necessarily pronounces the word tape.

Again; transpose the characters on the line, and place this [p] first, and this [t] last, and observe the rule as above, and the word pate, as pronounced in English, is necessarily articulated.

Again; take the Putawatomie word neesh, [two;] place the tongue nearly flat to the roof of the mouth, as required by [n;] utter a sound, as denoted by [e,] and end that sound in an aspiration, as indicated by [l,] and the word neesh is necessarily pronounced.

Again; the English word chase would be written thus; hrs.--SEE the power of these three characters as above described. The word should would be written thus; lwd.


NOTE. As soon as an Indian learns the uses of these seventeen characters,--which requires about the same length of time as to learn the names of seventeen letters of the English alphabet,--he is capable of reading his own language.--Hence the Scriptures may properly be the learner's first book.