Mehkoštotinešit

Little_Red_Riding_Hood_pg_8
Weškac kî ihtâw iškwešiš kâ sâkihikot misiwe aweliwa kâ kanawâpamikot. Ohkoma mâka mâwac kî sâkihikow nešta môla kî ihtakwaniliw kekwâliw ekâ ke ohci-mîlikot. Peyakwâw kî mîlikow kâ mihkwâlik aštotiniliw. Ewakwânimeliw môšak kâ kikiškahk e ispihci-miloškahk. Ewako wehci kî išinihkâtikosît Mehkoštotinešit.

Peyakwâw kî itikow okâwiya, “štam Mehkoštotinešiyan! Mâtikôwa âlahkonâw nešta šôminâpow. Itohtatamaw ôhi kôhkom. Âhkosiw nešta lîlamisîw kôhkom. Kata miloškâkow ômeliw mîcimiliw. Kihtohte eškwa ekâ e kišâštek. Wewelat mâka pimohte nešta ekâwîla patoteskanawehte ekâ ke ohci-pîkohtitâyan ôma pîwâpiskolâkan. Pîkohtinilike mâka môla kata ayâw kekwâliw kôhkom. Pîhtokeyane mâka, ekâwîla wani-kiskisi kici atamiskawat kôhkom nešta ekâwîla pisiskelihta kekwân pwâmoši atamiskawate.

“Nika ayâkwâmisîn,” kî itew Mehkoštotinešit e ašotamawât okâwiya. Ohkoma ante nôhcimihk kî tašîhkeliwa, wayeš nikotwâso-tipahikan otenâhk ohci. Eko kâ ati kotâwâskohahk Mehkoštotinešit kî nakiškawew mahîhkana. Môla ohci-kiskelimew Mehkoštotinešit tâni espihci-mâlâtisilici anihi mahîhkana.

“Milo-kîšikâw nama, Mehkoštotinešiyan?” Kî itwew

“Tâpwe milo-kîšikâw, Mahîhkan.”

“Tânte etohteyan wîpac kekišep, Mehkoštotinešiyan?”

“Nôhkom wîkihk.”

“Kekwân eyâyan ante kîwatihk?”

“Âlahkonâw nešta šôminâpow. Kî âlahkonâhkâniwan otâkošihk. Kâ kitimâkisit nôhkom kata ayâw kekwâliw e milwâlik awasite ke milwâcihikot.”

“Tânte wâkit kôhkom, Mehkoštotinešiyan?”

“Awasite ante nôhcimihk, âpihtawi-tipahikan wayeš. Šîpâ ante mištikominâhtikohk ihtakwaniliw wîki. Pešoc ante kâ ihtâcik aniki pakânâhtikwak. Cikema ki kiskelihten ita e wîkit.” kî naškwewašihew Mehkoštotinešit.

Ana mahîhkan kî ititisow, “Wâ malôkewakinâkosit awa iškwešiš! Awasite wîhkitišîtoke ispiš anihi nôtokewa! Kîmôc nika ayihtihtay tâpiskôc wî mowakwâwe.” Pitamâ mâka kî wîcewew Mehkoštotinešilici. Eko kâ itât, “Ki wâpahten-nâ, Mehkoštotinešiyan, tâni espihci-milwâšihki wâpikwaniya? Kekwân wehci ekâ ayitâpiyan? Nit itelihten nešta ekâ pehtawacik pilešîšak e nikamocik. Ki macelihtamônâkosin e pimohteyan tâpiskôc e itohteyan ante kiskinohamâtôwikamikohk. Môcikelihtamwak mâka kotakiyak aweniki ôte nôhcimihk e ihtâcik.”

Eko kâ tastasâpit Mehkoštotinešit. Ispi mâka kâ wâpahtahk animeliw pîsimweyâpîliw e išinâkwanilik e nîmîmakanilik nešta anihi wâpikwaniya kâ nihtâwikiniliki ante misiweskamik, kî ititisow, “Mâmôškinamawake wâpikwaniya nôhkom, tâpwe kika milwelihtamôpan. Keyâpac nika kesiskawâw nôhkom wesa wîpac nikî kihtohtân.” Eko kâ patoteskanawepahtât e nânatawâpikwanet. Tahtwâw mâka kâ manipitahk wâpikwanîliw mîna kotakîliw kî wâpahtam awasite e moštenahk. Keka mâka kâ lâwinâkosit ante ohci meskanâhk.

Eko mâka wîla mahîhkan kâ ispahtâwât wîkilîhk anihi ohkomimâwa. Eko kâ pâhpawahiket.

“Awena kîla?”

“Mehkoštotinešit,” kî naškwewašihew anihi ana mahîhkan. “Ki petamâkw šôminâpôliw nešta âlahkonâwa; Peci-âpahamaw iškwâhtemiliw.”

“Ohpâpiskina âtâpiskahikan,” kî tepwew e kišîwet ana ohkomimâw, “Wesâ ni lîlamisîn. Môla mâka nikî pasikôn.”

Ispi kâ ohpâpiskinahk aniheliw âtâpiskahikaniliw ana mahîhkan, kî âpahikâteliw iškwâhtemiliw. Eko kîšâc kâ nâtamwât onipewiniliw anihi ohkomimâwa kici mowât. Eko kâ poštiškamwât onipew-ayâniliw nešta ot aštotiniliw. Eko kâ wawelišihk ante nipewinihk nešta kâ âkawekipiciket.

Wîla mâka Mehkoštotinešit eškwa kî papâmipahtâw e mâmôškinahk wâpikwaniya. Ispi mâka ekâ kâ tepinahk wesâ mihcetw e kî mâmôškinahk, kî kiskisitotawew ohkoma. Eko mâka mîna kâ kihtohtet.

Kî koškwelihtam e wâpahtahk iškwâhtemiliw e âpahaštelik. Kâ pîhtoket mâka kî ititisow e amatisot, “Kišâštaw! Môšak ni milwelihtamwân e wâpamak nôhkom. Kekwâliw mâka wehci ekâ šâpelimak anohc?” Kî tepwew e kišwewet, “Kwey!” Piko mâka môla ohci-naškwewašihâkaniwiw. Eko kâ pîhtoket ante nipewikamikohk nešta kâ pâskekipiciket.

Ekota kâ pimišinilici anihi mahîhkana e akwanâhkwešinilici, nawac e mâmaskâsinâkosilici.

“Wesâ nôhkom!” Kî itew, “Tâpwe ki mâmahkihtawaken!”

“Awasite ke nahihtâtân nôsisim,” kî naškwewašihikow.

“Mâka nôhkom, tâpwe ki mâmahkacâpin!” kî itew.

“Awasite ke nahâpamitân nôsisim!”

“Mâka nôhkom, tâpwe ki mâmahkicihcen!”

“Awasite ke milo-wewakikwenitân!”

“Kišâštaw! Nôhkom, tâpwe ki mâmahkâpiten!”

“Awasite ke milo-môtân!”

Eko ketahtawel kâ wâniškâpahtât ana mahîhkan kici mowât Mehkoštotinešilici.

Eko kâ kîšpot ana mahîhkan, kî kawišimow. Kâ kawihkwašit mâka, kî ati matwehkwâmiw. Mekwâc kâ nipâlici, kî miyâškam aniheliw wâskâhikaniliw nâpew kâ natawahot. Kî ititisow ana nâpew, “Eko wesâ kišwewe-matwehkwâmiw ana nôtokew! Nika kakwecimâhtay natawelihtamokwe kekwâliw.” Eko kâ pîhtoket, kâ pešwâpahtahk animeliw nipewiniliw, kî wâpamew anihi mahîhkana kâ pimišinilici. “Ôte-nâ ki miskâtin omacihtwâw!” kî itwew. “šay weškac ki nânatawâpamitin!” Eko mwehc kâ wî pâskiswât anihi mahîhkana, kî itelihtam mâškoc eškwa e ililîwilici anihi ohkomimâwa. Kâ wî pimâcihât mâka anihi, môla ohci-pâskisikew. Kî tahkonam tahkohkomâniliw, eko kâ tâtošamwât watâliw anihi mahîhkana. Apišîš piko kâ mâtišiket, kî wâpahtam kâ mihkwâlik aštotiniliw. Apišîš mîn kâ mâtišiket, eko kâ walawî-kwâškohtilici anihi iškwešiša e mâtolici e itwelici, “Wesâ nikî sekisin e wani-tipiskâlik ante pîhcilaw.” Eko nâkešîš ana ohkomimâw weštawîla kâ peci-walawît e lehlepalit. Mehkoštotinešit mâka kî nâtew asiniya e kosikotilici ke âpacihât kici sâkaškinatâwât watâliw anihi mahîhkana. Ispi mâka kâ waniškât ana mahîhkan kî nipahišin e kakwe-kihcipahtât.

Eko kâ milwelihtahkik kâ ništicik. Ana kâ natawahot kî pahkonew anihi mahîhkana, eko kâ kîwehtahât anihi mahîhkaniwayâna. Ana ohkomimâw kî milwâcihikow e mowât anihi âlahkonâwa nešta e minihkwet aniheliw šôminâpôliw kâ petamâkot Mehkoštotinešilici. Ana mâka iškwešis kî ititisow, “Môla wîskâc nika ohci-patoteskanawehtân e peyakoyân ante nôhcimihk.”

Advertisements

Publication of a Grammar of the Cree Language

 

imageLast week marked the publication of the Grammaire de la langue innue, the first ever modern and comprehensive grammar of the Cree language. So while I usually lay my head down around eleven o’clock, for the past few days my eyes have remained open long after the time of my nightly reclination as I diligently read through each of its 602 pages.

For those unversed in the study of the Cree language or its various appellations, what is here referred to as the Innu language is a group of Cree dialects spoken by around 11,000 people along the north shore of what is now generally known as the St-Lawrence River in Québec. Yet, despite the title of the book, there is no such thing as a homogeneous Innu language. Instead, the book introduces us to a variety of dialects who, for historical and political reasons, have come to be grouped under that term.

Differences aside, the speakers of these dialects have managed, over time, to agree on a single standard spelling system – no simple task considering the glaring phonological discrepancies among the dialects in question. But this move towards orthographic unity, encouraged by their conspicuous cultural and ethnic unity, has been of utmost importance for the development of literacy and the promotion and preservation of the Cree language in those communities. Without such a standard orthography, the present grammar would have most likely failed at being so dialectally inclusive and at successfully targeting the actual speakers of the language who, more often than not, are not trained linguists and might not manage to read an orthography based on conventions used in linguistics.

The author of this grammar, Lynn Drapeau, is a well-known linguist in the field of Algic languages. Having done research since the 1970’s on the particular dialect spoken in Pessamit, she is one of a handful of linguists who has spent a considerable amount of time in our communities to eventually become a speaker of our language. This investment of hers would also result in her 1991 publication of what was then the most extensive dictionary of the any Cree dialect, her Dictionnaire montagnais-français. But her crowning achievement will unquestionably be her Grammaire de la langue innue, which she managed to perfect by dedicating her post-retirement time to parsing countless hours of recordings of elderly monolingual speakers and holding discussions on various points of grammar with her academic and communal research groups.

I have had the pleasure of having the author supervise my work as a graduate student in linguistics, where I focused my interests on the history of the Cree language. It was then that I came to understand how what appears to be a wide and disparate variety of Cree dialects is in fact a language that remains incredibly similar, lexically and grammatically, regardless of its regional innovations. This grammar will therefore undoubtedly prove useful to speakers of other Cree dialects until modern and comprehensive grammars of their dialects are published as well.