Getting the kids ready for bed…in Cree!

In the spirit of the last post, nêhiyawêtân!, I have been trying to be more consistent with my use of Cree at home.  In order to do this, I’m focusing on certain periods of the day to really get the vocabulary down.  My goal is to become more used to using Cree with my children, and to also build my partner’s vocabulary so that he can begin reinforcing the language as well.

So I am compiling vocabulary that will be useful and natural to use while getting the kids ready for bed.  I think what I’ll do is pick two words or phrases to stress each night.  The repetition will be very important for the kids and for my partner…too much will have them confusing terms and not getting us anywhere.

(Jean Okimâsis and Arok Wolvengrey do a wonderful job here in explaining the sounds in Plains Cree.  The pronunciation guides included here don’t really do the language justice, so I highly recommend becoming familiar with how to pronounce words in the RSO.)

Getting ready for bed

kâsîcihcê(k) [wash your hands] (gaa-SEE-tsih-tsay) (gaa-SEE-tsih-tsayk)

kâsîhkwê(k) [wash your face] (GAA-seeh-gway) (GAA-seeh-gwayk)

(and if the above isn’t enough, then it’s bath time!)

pakâsîmo(k) [bathe yourself, take a bath] (pu-KAA-see-mo) (pu-KAA-see-mok)

sîkaho(k) [brush your hair] (SEE-gu-ho) (SEE-gu-hok)

kistâpitêho(k) [clean your teeth] (gi-staa-PI-tay-ho) (gi-staa-PI-tay-hok)

kawisimo(k) [go to bed/lay down/get ready for bed] (ga-WI-si-mo) (ga-WI-si-mok)

nipâ(k) [sleep] (ni-PAA) (ni-PAAK)

This is not a huge list of words, but again the idea is to start small and build.  If there are any words you want to see in this category, let me know!

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Categories: Fluency, Imperative/command form, Language learning, Plains Cree, Pronunciation, Roman Syllabic Orthography, Word lists

0 Responses to Getting the kids ready for bed…in Cree!


  1. Notice that a bunch of those words end in -o-. That’s a neat morpheme. Makes intransitive verbs that have to do with actions carried out sort of on the self. You can freely derive TA verbs into AI verbs that way, it seems. The -ho- there is neat, too. I tend to think of it as made up of -h- for ’cause it to happen’ and the -o- from up there. You get it in a lot of AI verbs, too.

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