Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Q: Hello, I am looking for the correct spelling and pronunciation of
the word butterfly. I see it most commonly spelled Aponi.
One website said it is a variant of the Blackfoot word
Apaniwa but that it is often shortened to just Apani. I have
seen it spelled: Aponi, Apani, Apponi, Appani, Aponni, Apanni,
Aponii, Apanii

Which of these, if any, are correct? If none of them are,
what is? I wish to be accurate and I know the internet is
not reliable. Thank You.

AThanks for writing. The Blackfoot language was traditionally unwritten, so the spellings of Blackfoot words in English sometimes vary a lot, as you've seen. For the same reason there really is no "right" spelling. However, in the modern Blackfoot orthography (spelling system) which is most commonly used, this word is spelled Apaniiwa or just Apanii. ("-wa" is a common animate suffix in Blackfoot and is not always pronounced by all speakers of the language, so the word is sometimes pronounced uh-pah-nee-wuh and other times uh-pah-nee.)

Hope that helps, have a good day!
Native Languages of the Americas

Further reading:
Blackfoot language
Blackfoot tribe
Native American names 

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