A Ducky Cree Tongue-twister from Mary Cardinal Collins

Blue-winged teal drake standing on rock. ©Ducks Unlimited Canada.

Thanks to Mary Cardinal Collins for letting me share this great Cree tongue-twister remembered from childhood (as if most Cree words aren’t tongue-twisting enough for beginners!)

apiscisipisak otapiscisicisiwâwa
ᐊᐱᐢᒋᓯᐱᓴᐠ ᐅᑕᐱᐢᒋᓯᒋᓯᐚᐘ

In English, it means, “The little feet of teals (literally, “little ducks”)”
apiscisipis ᐊᐱᐢᒋᓯᐱᐢ  “teal” literally, “little duck” (a type of duck or water bird)
apiscisicisᐊᐱᐢᒋᓯᒋᐢ   “little foot” or “maybe even little toes” 

From links at Ducks Unlimited, Canada, we learn that teals are literally little ducks, roughly half the size of a mallard, and the green ones are even smaller than the blue ones

Thanks also to:

  • Arok Wolvengrey for SRO help
  • Solomon Ratt for audio (while we’re 
  • Barry Ahenakew for confirming that the term refers to either Blue-winged or Green-winged Teals
  • Leigh Patterson of Ducks Unlimited Canada for finding me photos of Teals that give us a good look at the little feet of those little ducks! 

Green-winged teal drake standing at marsh edge. ©Ducks Unlimited Canada.

And finally, direct from YouTube – a video of blue-winged teals diving for food – keep an eye out for those little teal toes! 

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, launched in 2010 with the goal of creating Cree language literacy materials suitable for use by learners of all ages.
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