Lesson 14: What did you say?

ta'n(i)si e'twe'yan
'What did you (just now) say?', 'What are you saying?'
mispon, n(i)titwa'n
'I (just now) said, "it's snowing."'
ta'n(i)si e'twe't
'What did he (just now) say?'
mispon, itwe'w
'He (just now) said, "it's snowing."', 'He says, "it's snowing."'
wi'-mispon, itwe'w
'He says or (just now) said, "it's going to snow."'
ta'n(i)si e'twe'cik
'What did they (just now) say.', 'What are they saying?'
ta'n(i)si ka'-(ki'-)itwe'yan
'What did you say (some time ago)?'
ta'n(i)si ka'-(ki')itwe't
'What did he say (some time ago)?'
mispon, ki'itwe'w
'He said, "it's snowing."'
ta'n(i)si (ka'-)wi'-itwe'yan
'What are you going to say?'
ta'n(i)si (ka'-)wi'-itwe't
'What is he going to say?'

Notes

Another subjunctive personal affix:
-cik 'they (animate)' (sentence 6).


In supplementary questions, many speakers use a prefix ka'- before the past tense prefix ki'-, and before the future prefix wi'-.

Other speakers replace ki'- with ka'-, and omit ka'- before wi'-.

There is a third possibility: some speakers replace ki'- with ka'-, and change wi'- to wa'-.

This results in the following three patterns of tense prefixes for subjunctive verbs:

pattern 1 pattern 2 pattern 3 written here
past ka'-ki'- ka'- ka'- ka'-(ki'-)
'going to' ka'-wi'- wi'- wa'- (ka'-)wi'-

The student should use the pattern used by his teachers and by the Cree speakers in his community, but he will have to determine their usage by observation, of course, because it is very unlikely that they will find anyone with the conscious knowledge to describe the use of these prefixes, or to answer questions about it. Moreover, many well-travelled speakers seem to be able to use both patterns, and to adjust their own speach to what they hear.


Note: when i or i' is followed by i or i', the two vowels are sometimes pronounced like one i'. Thus ki'itwe'w is sometimes pronounced as ki'twe'w.

Exercises

Below is an outline for a conversation between two people identified as A and B. Let one student speak for A, and another speak for B, and make a conversation in Cree in accordance with the outline. (If there is only one student, the teacher can speak for the other person in the conversation.) Note that some of the statements in the outline will allow more than one correct Cree sentence:

The Setting:
B appears at the door of A's house
The conversation:
A greets B.
B responds to the greeting.
A invites B to come in and sit down.
B comments on the weather.
A comments on yesterday's weather.
B asks A whether he worked yesterday.
A doesn't hear; he asks B what he said, or requests him to repeat.
B repeats his question.
A says that he didn't work. He says that he had a cold.
B says he is going to leave or go home already.
A says goodbye to him.

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