That Môniyâw Linguist teaches Cree Verbs

Reblogged from Jeffrey Muehlbauer’s blog,

Learning verb vocabulary in Cree

Posted on December 9, 2012

I did a talk to a Cree class recently, and I thought I would throw the slides from it up here, in case they are useful to anyone else! Here they are: cree-verbs

Long story short – I think we should be teaching students how to build simple verbs out of roots and finals, because it not only shows them an important part of the Cree system, but also because it will instantly give you a much larger vocabulary. In other words, why memorize sâminam, sâminêw, sâmisin, sâmiskam, sâmiskawêw, sâmamêw, sâmahtam, etc., as though they’re not related? They are. Instead, let’s start right out with the pieces.

  • sâm- ‘the concept of having skin contact with something’
  • -in- ‘do it with your hands’
  • -am-/-aht- ‘do it with some part of your face/mouth’
  • -iskaw/-isk ‘do it with some part of your body or with your foot’
  • -isin- ‘do it laying down’
  • etc.

Students need rules – especially adult learners. It’s hard enough to learn a language like Cree, coming from English, without also being terrified and discouraged by the lack of logic in the language. (Arden’s note: particularly when the language *is* logical, and it’s just the teaching that’s confusing!)

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