Neal McLeod: Cree Word Study 6.19.2013

Stolen — with thanks — from Neal’s Facebook Feed.
Word forms derived from Arok Wolvengrey, nêhiyawêwin: itwêwina. (all mistakes are mine)

[Photo: Neal’s grandmother (and Freda Ahenakew’s late mentor): Ida McLeod.

atim-: stem morpheme (away from something; ahead of something- denotes spatial relationship)

Usually when people think of the word, atim, they think of ‘dog’. An exploration of the meaning of this word is important. There is an older meaning which means ‘away from something; ahead of something’). Through this layering of meaning, an everyday word and its original meaning have largely been concealed and forgotten (e.g. atim). As we understand it today, atim denotes that the being (e.g. dog) is ahead of us. Tyrone Tootoosis once posted on my Facebook wall that the original term for dog was derived from ayatimipahta [ay-: reduplication marker + atim-: ahead in spatial relation + –pahta: to run] which implies that the being (e.g. dog) is running ahead of us.

I. compounding with older stem meaning
atimi: backwards from something/ someone; in front of something/someone:

atimapi: to sit with one’s back facing others
atimikitohcikê: paying guitar with one’s back facing the crowd
atimitâkwan: a sound moving away from one
atimikâpawi: to stand facing away from others
atimipahta (cf. above: description of dog’s activities)
atimipihcikê: to do something that places something in front of something/ someone else
atimipwêkito: to fart in the opposite direction from someone
atimâstê; to place things in a backwards fashion; to place things ahead of something (there is ambiguity in the stem morpheme)
atimiyihta: to think in opposition (e.g. backwards to something); to think ahead of something. Essentially, this is a way of poetically describing a critical form of consciousness; e.g. to draw upon a form of consciousness that is ahead or “facing away from” that of others. This is the essence of critical consciousness to discern “narrative holes”- between your standpoint and what you see; a “narrative difference”: pitosâcimoyihta: would be one way to describe: “to discern a narrative difference”; pitosâcimopihcikê: to generate a narrative difference

II. compounding with more contemporary stem morpheme
atim– as ‘dog’

atimo-kisêyiniw: dog of an old man
atimo-nôtôkwêw: dog of an old woman
atimospikay: Dog Rib (Richard Van Camp’s people)
atimotâpânask: dog sled
atimo-mîcisowin: dog food
atimi-iyiniw: a dog person (someone who likes dogs)
atiminâhk: dog park

Please add any compounds that you can think of.

One Response

  1. Thank you for this entry/posting. I was looking up certain words, but knew I was missing different forms of words meanings with slight differences. A friend who was more knowledgable with the slight variations and more indepth meanings of cree words gave me full explainations compared to what younger cree persons understood and could explain. We have not been in contact for years but in looking up cree words I missed the full meanings she could give me. I finally found them here in this article and am very please to have them again. Thanks you very much.

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