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Lesson 19: At, in, and on

This page entered by: Kevin Russell (Linguistics, University of Manitoba)

n(i)kí-kapásimon sákahikanihk
'I swam in the lake.'
kapásimo sákahikahik
'Swim in the lake!'
ásokanihk n(i)ka-n(a)t(a)wé-apin
'I'll go sit on the dock.'
atáwikamikohk n(i)pápá ayáw
'My father is at or in the store.'
atáwikamikohk ayáw n(i)pápá
'My father is at or in the store.'
sípíhk kapásimow
'He is swimming in the river.'
n(a)t(a)wé-kapásimotán sípíhk
'Let's go swimming in the river.'
kinoséwi-sípíhk ayáw
'He is at Norway House.', 'He is living at Norway House.'
kinosæwi-sípíhk wíkiw
'His home is at Norway House.'
kinoséwi-sípíhk niwíkin
'My home is at Norway House.'
míc(i)sowináhtikohk astéw wiyás
'The meat is on the table.'
míc(i)sowináhtikohk astéw móhkomán
'The knife is on the table.'
míc(i)sowináhtikohk astéwa móhkomána
'The knives are on the table.'
akocikanihk astéwa oñákana
'The dishes are on the shelf.
n(a)t(a)wé-api píhtikwamihk
'Go sit in the house!'
píhtotak n(i)tapin
'I'm sitting in the boat.'
api óta téhtapiwinihk
'Sit on this chair!', literally 'Sight right here on the chair!'
píhci mistikowahtihk astéw
'It's inside the box.'
tákoc mistikowhtihk astéw
'It's on top of the box.
ásay ayáwak awás(i)sak otápánáskohk
'The children are already in the car.'
ásay ayáwak píhci otápánáskohk awás(i)sak
'The children are already inside the car.'
wakic otápánáskohk astéwa masinahikana
'The books are on top of the car.'

New words

Nouns:

akocikan
'shelf'
akocikana
'shelves'
ásokan
'dock'
ásokanak
'docks'
kinoséw
'fish'
kinoséwak
'fishes'
kinoséwi-sípiy
'Norway House, Man.', literally 'Fish River'
míc(i)sowináhtik
'table'
míc(i)sowináhtikwa
'tables'
mistikowaht
'box'
mistikowahta
'boxes'
móhkomán
'knife'
móhkomána
'knives'
onákan
'dish'
onákana
'dishes'
sákahikan
'lake'
sákahikana
'lakes'
sípiy
'river'
sípiya
'rivers'
téhtapiwin
'chair'
téhtapiwina
'chairs'

Verbs:

kapásimo
'swim' (N. dialects: pakásimo)

Adverbs:

píhci
'inside'
píhtikwamihk
'indoors, in the house'
píhtotak
'on board, in the boat'
tákoc, wakic
'on top'

Some other names of Cree communities in Manitoba

misi-páwastik
'Grand Rapids'
móso-sákahikan
'Moose Lake'
nisicowásíhk
'at Nelson House'
opáskiyáw
'The Pas', locative: opáskiyáhk
panipáwi-nipiy
'Oxford House', locative: panipáwi-nipíhk
p(i)micikamáw
'Cross Lake', locative: p(i)micikamáhk
tátáskwiyáw
'Split Lake', locative: tátáskiyáhk

Notes

'At', 'in', or 'on' placed before a noun in English is expressed by a suffix added to a noun in Cree. This suffix is called the locative suffix, and a noun with the locative suffix is called a locative noun. Such a noun is an adverb of place.

The locative suffix is -ihk (sentences 1-3, 14, 17-19), with the following exceptions:

As a rule, the locative suffix means 'in' when it is suffixed to a noun denoting a natural container, such as a house, automobile, pail, pot, box, bag. (sentences 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 20), and it means 'on'when it occurs with the name of a natural supporting surface, such as a table or chair (sentences 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17).

If one wants to be more specific, píhci and táhkoc or wakic can be used, indeed, táhkoc or wakic must be used if something is on top of a natural container (sentences 18, 19, 21, 22).

píhtikwamihk and píhtotak are common replacements for wáskahikanihk and címánihk (sentences 15, 16).

Note that adverbs of place may either precede or follow verbs, though they seem to precede somewhat more frequently.


Inanimate nouns occur as the subjects of inanimate verbs. As usual, the noun can precede or follow the verb, and the verb retains the personal affix, 'it' when the subject is singular, 'they' when it is plural. Accordingly, literal translations of sentences 11-14 are:


n(a)t(a)wé- 'go and...', like pé- is a prefix to verbs, and follows any tense prefixes, ni-, or ki- (sentences 3, 7, 15). There are a number of such prefixes. They are called preverbs.

In rapid speech nté- may occur instead of ntwé-.

(Dialects: nta- for nté-.)


Exercises

(1) Here is another outline of a conversation between A and B. It should be handled like the previous one:

The setting:
A and B meet on the road.
The conversation:
A greets B.
B responds to the greeting.
They exchange comments on the weather.
A asks B where he is living.
B points out his house, saying that he lives there.
A mentions a name, asking B whether that is his father's name.
B says it is.
A asks whether B's father is at home.
B says he's sitting on the dock.
A asks what he's doing.
B says he's fishing.

(2) Make a number of different Cree sentences by taking sentence 11 'The meat is on the table' and making the following substitutions:
In place of 'the meat' say: In place of 'on the table' say:
'the knife' 'on the shelf'
'the knives' 'on the chair'
'the spoon' 'on the dock'
'the spoons' 'in the box'
'the dish' 'in the house'
'the dishes' 'in the store'
'the box' 'in the car'
'the boxes' 'in the boat'


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