A word or group of words used as the name of a class
of people, places, or things, or of a particular person,
place, or thing.
Nouns in Cree are categorised into two categories,
animate (na) and inanimate nouns (ni). Animate nouns
include people, animals, most plants/trees and other
Animate nouns (na) are nouns that fall under the
gender of animacy.
Woman = iskwéw
A saulteaux person = nakawihiniw
Dog = atim
Moose = moswa
bush = sípíhkominátik
Poplar tree = mitos
Labrador tea bush = maskíkopakwáhtik
Stone/rock = asiniy
Pipe = ospwakan
Sock = askikan
There are certain items that will be in the animate
category while other items of the same, fall in the
inanimate category. Consider the following examples:
Some berries that are inanimate while other berries
berry = misáskwatómin
Goose berry = sápómin
Apple = caspimin/wásaskwécós
Strawberry = otihimin
Raspberry [s] = ayoskan
Grape [s] = sóminis
= asikan (na)
Pants/trousers = mitas
Shirt = papakiwayán
Coat = miskotákay
Shoe = maskisin (ni)
Inanimate nouns (ni) are nouns that fall under the
inanimate gender category.
Most household items are inanimate:
Knife = mohkómán
Chair = téhtapiwin
Canoe = címan/osih
Bowl = oyakan
Book/paper = maskinahakan
Most body parts are inanimate:
Heart = mitíh
Hair = místakay
Bone = oskan
A place in Cree is a noun, but an ending is needed
to show location.
A name of a place like La Ronge for example is misi-nipi,
at La Ronge is misi-nipihk
The locative ‘ihk’ is added at the end of a word.
An example of a locative at the end of an animate
noun could be "asinihk" for "on a rock."
An example of one for an inanimate noun could be "wáskahikanihk"
a house." The ‘ihk’ is added at
the end of a noun showing location.
mass noun like water - nipiy,
– kona falls in the same
– pihkw/pihko these mass
nouns are in singular form.
the water = nipihk
In the snow = konihk
In the ashes = pihkotihk
Animate and inanimate nouns will take different plural
suffixes; ‘ak’ for the animate noun suffix and ‘a’
for the inanimate noun plural suffix:
Dog to dogs = atim to atimwak
to rocks/stones = asiniy to asiniyak
to more than one pair of pants = mitas to mitasak
to bones = oskan to oskana
to thighs = mipwám
to canoes = címan
Colors with nouns; Colors are divided into animate
and inanimate categories.
The animate suffix for color is ‘siw’.
The inanimate suffix for color is ‘kaw’.
white dog (na) = wápiskisiw
A black cat (na) = kaskitisiw
A red book (ni) = mihkaw masinahikan
A blue canoe (ni) = sipikaw címan
A compounding of color and a noun is a common speech
form in Cree:
dog = wápiskatim/wápastim
A black cat = kaskitéminos
A white shoe = wápiskisini
A black book = kaskitémasinahikan
Pluralization of Colored Nouns
dogs = wápiskatimwak/wápastimwak
Black books = kaskitémasinahikana
There are verbs that will turn to nouns by adding
a suffix ‘win’:
eat = míciso
Food = míciwin
Cree = néhiya wi
Cree language = néhiyawiwin
play (physical active game) = métawé
A game = métawéwin
There are other forms of verb/nouns combination:
make music = kitociké
A musical instrument = kitocikan
measure = tipaha
A measurement = tapahikan
fly = pimihá
There are root word nouns with an addition suffix
child = awasis
A doll = awasisihkán
A human = iyiniw
A manikin/dummy = iyinihkán
The ‘kán’ suffix
represents a likeness of an object of that root noun
preceding the suffix.
There are other suffixes that are added on to the
preceding suffix in describing other nouns:
instrument = kitocikan
Musical instrument cord = kitocikaniyapiy
tie it up= takopita) a
string/or something used to tie with = takopicikan
A cord or an extended string = takopicikaniyapiy
The suffix ‘yapiy’ is used to mean ‘lengthening’
of a preceding noun:
Intestines (the whole or all of the intestines) =
The plural of more than one intestine in Cree = mitakisiyapiya
The above nouns shows how suffixes change verbs to
nouns and nouns to other nouns.
Diminutives are a miniature or smaller form of the
root word meaning or a younger version; man – boy,
cat- kitten, woman – girl, chair – a smaller chair.
The suffix ‘sis’ is a common diminutive form:
Puppy = acimosis
A duckling = sísípisis
Kitten = minosis
The ‘w’ is absent when ‘sis’ is added on:
Boy = napísis
Girl = iskwésis
With a ‘k’ ending word, add ‘os’ suffix:
The ‘t’ turns to ‘c’ (ch) for most diminutives:
Chair = téhtapiwin
A smaller chair = céhcapiwinis
A smaller bag = maskimwacis
A smaller hat = ascocinis
= oyakan (ni)
A smaller dish = oyakanis
= mistatim (na)
Pony = miscacimosis
Possession or person indicators are marked by a prefixes
and suffixes. The prefix indicates the number of persons;
the suffix indicates plurality of the noun and person.
Below is an example of possession prefixes and suffixes
of the inanimate noun ‘astotin’ hat/cap.
hat = ni-tastoti-n
Your hat = ki-tastoti-n
His/her hat/bonnet = o-tatotin
My caps/hats = ni-tastoti-na
Your caps/hats = ki-tastoti-na
Her/his caps/hats = o-tastoti-na
The ‘t’ is inserted between the person indicator
and the root noun; the ‘t’ is placed there between
the two vowels for a proper conjunction. The voicing
of two vowels together seldom occur in Cree, if at
Animate Noun Possession
dog = nitím
Your dog = kitím
His/her dog = o-tím-a
His/her’s _ _ _ _ dog = o-tímiyiwa
Plural of possession animate/inanimate nouns
socks = ni-t-asika-n-ak (na)
Your socks = ki-t-asika-n-ak (na)
dogs = ni-tím-ak (na)
Your dogs = ki-tím-ak
shoes = ni-maskisin-a (ni)
Your shoes = ki-maskisin –a ( ni)
eyes = ni-skísikw-a
Your eyes = ki-skísikw-a
For third person possession as seen above, an ‘o’
is added in front of the noun to show, hear, and verbalise
a third person and third person obviative indicator.
The plural and singular ending for animate and inanimate
nouns both end with the obviative ‘a’ ending.
socks = o-tasika-n-a (na)
His/her _ _ _ _ socks = o-tasikan-iyiw-a (na)
His/her dogs = o-tím-a
His/her _ _ _ _ dogs = o-tím-iyiw-a
shoes = o-maskisin-a (ni)
His/her _ _ _ _ shoes = o-maskisin-iyiw-a
eyes = o-skísik-w-a
His/her _ _ _ _ eyes = o-skísik-wiyi-w-a
A pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or
a noun phrase, such as ``I,''``you,''``them,''``it,''``ours,''``who,''``which,''``myself,''
In Cree there are pronouns.
These pronouns can be demonstrative, interrogative
or personal pronouns.
and Personal Pronouns
Unrestrained in showing love and affection toward
2. Serving to show proof of truth
3. Referring to a particular person or thing, for
example, ``this,'' ``that,'' ``these,'' and ``those''
-A demonstrative word or phrase, for example,
``this,'' ``that,'' ``these,'' or ``those''
or seeming to question somebody or something
2. Consisting of or used in asking a question
a word or particle that is used to form a question,
for example, ``who,'' ``what,'' or ``where''
2. the form of a sentence that is used to ask a
pronouns are person indicators which are independent:
= we/us (excluding you)
kiya = you
= we/us (inuding you)
= you /your (pl.)
wiya = her/him
wiyawáw = them
wiyawa = her/his _ _ _
wiyawáwa = their
_ _ _
of pronouns are inclusive to the speaker and all who
are included within the given sentence, as is spoken.
= me too/also
= us too/also
kista = you too/also
kistanaw = us
= you (pl) too/also
wísta = him/her
= them too/also
demonstrative pronouns in Cree are pointing words in
determining location, where these pronouns will indicate
distance of an object and that of a noun or the speaker.
Like most speech form in Cree, there is the animate
and inanimate gender and also the singular and plural
form in an agreement with the object, subject and verb
within a sentence.
some examples of demonstrative pronouns in a sentence
sísíp = this duck
awa sísíp wápiskisiw
= this duck is white
= these duck
wápiskisiwak = these ducks are white
címan = this boat
óma címan wápiskaw
= this boat is white
címana = these boats
óhi címana wápiskawa
= these boats are white
Cree we can put two demonstrative pronouns side by
side for a more clear location of an object.
níki sísípak = these
óki níki sísípak
ka-pimatákacik = these ducks there,
the ones going by on the water
níhi címana = these canoes/boats
Óhi níhi címana
ka-pimapotíkihk = these canoes there,
going by (with the current of the water) on the water
are question indicators, asking questions using pronouns
such as who = awína,
what = kikway, when =
= tániti, why =
are in the singular and plural form.
What = kikway
What = kikwaya
and Inanimate Form
question indicators are most commonly used in asking
questions for inquiring information. The tán
questions are called such, because these question
indictors begin with ‘tán’.
The tán question
indicators are equivalent to the English of why, where,
= how (is it/you)?
tánispihk = when?
tánihki = why?
tánikohk = how
tánitahto = how
= how many times?
tánitowah = what
ki-símis = where is your younger sibling?
ki-símisak = where are your younger
ana ki-tím = which is your (pet) dog?
Tániki aniki ki-tímak
= which are your dogs?
anima masinahikan = where is that book? (ni)
masinahikana = where are those books?
anima kimaskisin = which is your shoe? (ni)
Tánihi anihi kimasikisina
= which are your shoes?