What does the Penobscot word, "kweh" from The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare, mean in English?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, young Matt is left to watch over the family cabin in Maine while his father returns to Massachusetts for the rest of their family. Matt's life is saved by an old Penobscot Native American named Saknis, and in return for this, Matt agrees to teach Saknis' grandson, Attean, how to speak English. Though the two boys are initially wary of each other, they eventually become good friends, and Matt learns many things from Attean, including how to make a bow which is a very difficult process. Each boy benefits in many ways from their relationship. Matt teaches Attean English as promised, and he learns Penobscot words from Attean along the way. One word is "kweh," which is a greeting, much like "Hello," or "how are you?"

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial