A Key Into the Language of America

When Roger Williams, the man known as the founder of the settlement of Providence, and the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, published "A Key Into the Language of America" in 1643, it represented the first attempt to translate a native tongue of the Americas into English. It also introduced the English to the Narragansett, and by cultural extension, the other native groups of southern New England, as well as serving as an introduction to the Algonquin speaking groups in general. This because it was more then just an effort to translate words and ideas. Williams provided revealing detail on Narragansett beliefs, their inner life, as well as a description of their everyday and seasonal activities. It serves, in other words, as a revealing look at native life in the New England wilderness in William's time. He lived and traveled with the Narragansett often. Chapters on hunting, fishing, warfare, etc are covered here.

The modern reader may find Williams a tough read. It helps to remember that the old English 'f' should be read as an 's'! F=S everywhere herein. It is not that difficult to skip the language translations and read brief entries offering insight into native life in this early region of English settlement.

There is a "download" tab above the title page at this link. Download for a good "readable" copy: (f=s)