Minnesota Historical Society

550 Dakota Verbs

$ 24.95

An indispensable resource designed to enhance everyday conversation and contribute to the scholarship of the Dakota language and its dialects.
  • By: Harlan LaFontaine and Neil McKay
  • Format: Paper, 192 pages, 7
  • Publisher: MNHS Press (April 2005)
  • Product ##: 9780873515245

The Dakota language owes much of its expansiveness to its verbs, or action words. yet until now, students of Dakota have had few resources in verb usage and conjugation beyond nineteenth-century dictionaries compiled by missionaries.

550 Dakota Verbs provides students of Dakota—and the Lakota and Nakota dialects—the proper conjugations for 550 verbs from adi (to step or walk on) to zo (to whistle). Compiled by Dakota language teachers and students, the book is learner friendly and easy to use. It features clear explanations of Dakota pronoun and conjugation patterns, notes on traditional and modern usages, and handy Dakota-English and English-Dakota verb lists.

 Designed to enhance everyday conversation as well as contribute to the revitalization of this endangered language, 550 Dakota Verbs is an indispensable resource for all who are interested in Dakota and its dialects. An appendix features John P. Williamson’s indispensable guide to ver formation and usage (from An English-Dakota Dictionary).


Harlan LaFontaine is a recipient of Bush and Kellogg Community Leadership fellowships. A member of South Dakota’s Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux community, he is currently a graduate student in resource management at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.


Neil McKay teaches Dakota language classes at the University of Minnesota and at community learning sites. He is a member of North Dakota’s Spirit Lake Dakota reservation.

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