A Snowy “Minimal Pair” (all dialects)

Fresh as new snow from Solomon Ratt (with apologies for his “cool” pun):

Here’s a cool exercise with ‘maci-‘ And ‘mâci-‘

If you don’t like it snowing:
maci-mispon  “bad/evil snow”  ᒪᒋ ᒥᐢᐳᐣ

If you do like it snowing:
mâci-mispon!  “It begins to snow!”  ᒫᒋ ᒥᐢᐳᐣ

If you don’t like that it’s starting to snow:
maci-mâci-mispon!  “Here comes that darned snow!”  ᒪᒋ ᒫᒋ ᒥᐢᐳᐣ

While I prefer to give recordings of actual speakers to illustrate these things, Sol made me record the audio myself this time (to show that anyone can learn to read SRO):

When the meaning of a word is changed by a single different sound  (in this case, a and â) linguists call it a “minimal pair.” This is one of the reasons it is so important to write long vowels in Cree with macrons or circumflexes.

Here’s is another cool collection of minimal pairs (pun intended this time) to think about and play with (complete with audio):


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.
This entry was posted in How Cree Works, Solomon Ratt. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *