Daunted by its 22 letters and 7 syllables, some people simply refer to it as “the E-word”. However, Eeyawquittoowauconnuck is not just a word; it is a name. It is our name; one that holds meaning and value for us as a People. For those who are not already comfortable using it, it is well worth taking a few minutes to become more familiar with “Eeyawquittoowauconnuck”*.
For the sake of ease, let’s start by dividing Eeyawquittoowauconnuck into 7 manageable syllables. They look like this:
Now, lets pronounce them*. Try saying these out loud:
“Ee” (pronounced just like it looks…like the long sound of the letter “e” as in “me”)–Ee
“Yaw” (rhyme it with “paw”)–Yaw
Next, put those 2 together: “Ee”+“Yaw”= “Eeyaw”.
Say it out loud so your tongue and ears get used to it.
“quit”(pronounce it with a long “ee” sound in the middle so it rhymes with “tweet”)—quit
“too”(also like the English word too)—too
Now put them together and say them out loud. “quit”+”too”=“quittoo”.
Let’s go back and pick up the first part and pair it with this: “Eeyaw” + “quittoo”=“Eeyawquittoo”
Good job, we’re almost done!
The next 3 syllables are:
“wau” (rhyme it with “la”)—wau
“con” (like the English word con)—con
“nuck” (rhymes with truck)—nuck
Now, put those 3 together: “wau”+”con”+”nuck”=“wauconnuck”. Say it again, “wauconnuck”.
Finally, lets put the entire word back together: “Eeyawquittoo”+”wauconnuck”=”Eeyawquittoowauconnuck”.
Congratulations, you did it! Now keep using it. Try it out at the next Brothertown gathering, teach it to your kids, greet one another with it. Eeyawquittoowauconnuck is who we are. Say it often and say it proudly: Eeyawquittoowauconnuck!
*It should be noted that the above pronunciation of “Eeyawquittoowauconnuck” is based on the author’s personal estimation of Occom’s spelling of the word as found in his journal entry of November 7, 1785. Occom had a strong grasp of the phonetic sounds of English letters and wrote the name accordingly. The author acknowledges that there is, however, some room for variation. For example, the double o’s in the 4th syllable, “too,” suggest that Occom heard it as either the “oo” sound as in “too”(as presented here) or possibly, the “Uh” sound as in “book”. Mohegan linquist, Stephanie Fielding, suggests that Eeyawquittoowauconnuck, in Mohegan orthography today, might be spelled “Iyáhqituwôkanuk”(1). Using the Mohegan pronunciation guide(2), as found in Fielding’s work at http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/collections/MoheganDictionary.pdf, the pronunciation of this 4th syllable (“too”/”tu”), might change the sound into “uh” as in “pup”.
- Brooks, Joanna. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan. p25, Footnote 28.
- Fielding, Stephanie. A Modern Mohegan Dictionary, 2006, pp 9-10.