School Terminology

A recent conversation with a Cree teacher made me realize how helpful (and long overdue) a little School terminology might be. Of course, it might look more useful to other teachers once they’ve had a month or so to recover from the current school year. 😉 It will keep, here at the Cree Literacy Network, until then. Almost all of these examples are drawn from the online itwêwina dictionary, supplemented by Solomon Ratt.

CreeSyllabicsEnglish
aciyaw aywêpiwinᐊᒋᔭᐤ ᐊᔰᐱᐏᐣit is recess time
anohc pôni-kiskinwahamâkosiwinᐊᓄᐦᐨ ᐴᓂ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᐏᐣschool is over for the day
âpihtâ-kîsikâwᐋᐱᐦᑖ ᑮᓯᑳᐤnoon, midday, lunch time
ascikêwikamikᐊᐢᒋᑫᐏᑲᒥᐠstorage room, storage building or shed
âwatawâsiswâkan(ak)ᐋᐘᑕᐚᓯᔃᑲᐣ(ᐊᐠ)School bus
ayamihcikêwikamikᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑫᐏᑲᒥᐠreading room, library
itakisowinᐃᑕᑭᓱᐏᐣgrade
kîci-kiskinwahamawâkan(ak)ᑮᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᑲᐣ(ᐊᐠ)your (singular) school mate(s)
kîci-kiskinwahamawâkaninaw(ak)ᑮᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᑲᓂᓇᐤ(ᐊᐠ)your and our school mate(s)
kîci-kiskinwahamawâkaniwâw(ak)ᑮᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᑲᓂᐚᐤ(ᐊᐠ)(all) your school mate(s)
kiskinowâtasinahikanᑭᐢᑭᓄᐚᑕᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣteaching material, textbook
kiskinwahamâkêwikamikᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑫᐏᑲᒥᐠschool building 
kiskinwahamâkêwikamikosᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑫᐏᑲᒥᑯᐢclassroom
kiskinwahamâkêwinᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑫᐏᐣteaching lesson, instruction
kiskinwahamâkosiwinᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᐏᐣschool work, homework, Education
kiskinwahamâtowi-maskimotᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏ ᒪᐢᑭᒧᐟschool bag
kiskinwahamawâkan(ak)ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᑲᐣ(ᐊᐠ)Student
manitôwi-kîsikâw aywêpiwinaᒪᓂᑑᐏ ᑮᓯᑳᐤ ᐊᔰᐱᐏᓇChristmas holidays
masinahikêwi-cikâstêpayihcikanisᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏ ᒋᑳᐢᑌᐸᔨᐦᒋᑲᓂᐢcomputer
masinahikêwinâhtikᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏᓈᐦᑎᐠdesk, writing table
maskihkîwiskwêwᒪᐢᑭᐦᑮᐏᐢᑵᐤnurse
mêtawêwikamikᒣᑕᐍᐏᑲᒥᐠgymnasium, theatre, playhouse
nahapiwikamikᓇᐦᐊᐱᐏᑲᒥᐠtoilet, bathroom (lit., sitting room)
namôya pihtwâniwiw ôtaᓇᒨᔭ ᐱᐦᑤᓂᐏᐤ ᐆᑕno smoking allowed
nêhiyawi-kiskinwahamâtowikamikᓀᐦᐃᔭᐏ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᑲᒥᐠCree immersion school
nîci-kiskinwahamawâkanᓃᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᑲᐣmy fellow student, my schoolmate
nîci-kiskinwahamawâkaninân(ak)ᓃᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᑲᓂᓈᐣ(ᐊᐠ)your (plural) but not our school mate(s)
nîmâwinᓃᒫᐏᐣlunch, packed lunch
nîmâwinisᓃᒫᐏᓂᐢsnack
nîpin aywêpiwinaᓃᐱᐣ ᐊᔰᐱᐏᓇsummer holidays
okakêskimâwasowᐅᑲᑫᐢᑭᒫᐘᓱᐤcounsellor
okanâcihcikêwᐅᑲᓈᒋᐦᒋᑫᐤcleaner, janitor, custodian
okanawêyimâwasowᐅᑲᓇᐍᔨᒫᐘᓱᐤbabysitter, daycare worker
okiskinwahamâkêw(ak)ᐅᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑫᐤ(ᐊᐠ)teacher(s) 
okiskinwahamâkosiwᐅᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᐤstudent, pupil, one who attends school
omasinahikêsîsiwiwᐅᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᓰᓯᐏᐤclerk, office worker, secretary
owîcihtâsowᐅᐑᒋᐦᑖᓱᐤhelper, welfare or social worker
pêyak itakisowinᐯᔭᐠ ᐃᑕᑭᓱᐏᐣgrade one (nîso itakisowin, etc.)
pîhtokamikᐲᐦᑐᑲᒥᐠinside, indoors
sêwêyâkan sêwêwᓭᐍᔮᑲᐣ ᓭᐍᐤthe bell is ringing
wayawîstamâsowikamikᐘᔭᐑᐢᑕᒫᓱᐏᑲᒥᐠbathroom
wayawîtimihkᐘᔭᐑᑎᒥᕽoutside, outdoors
wîci-kiskinwahamawâkanisaᐑᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᑲᓂᓴhis/her school mate(s)

This point-and-click image from Lac La Ronge Indian Band is also helpful: https://learncree.ca/classroom-objects (Thank you, LLRIB friends!) 

Another really useful resource for schools is Pocket Plains Cree for Kids and Adults by Trevor Greyeyes and Maeengan Linklater, translated into y-dialect by Solomon Ratt. 

Photo: Muskeg Lake’s kihîw waciston School, borrowed from the MLCN website, which reminds me to add the word wêpinâson: “flag”! 

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