A sentence to ponder, from Alice Ahenakew

In the very beginning of Alice’s âcimowina, she drops this nice little grammatical bomb on the poor linguists:

niyânan ititwêwina isi-pîkiskwêwina ê-kî-kaskihtât nimosômipan.

Take a long good look at that, and give me your best explanation, all you wise people who inhabit the internet!

On a side-note: Sorry for the lack of posting recently. I’ve been doing other junk that I have to do right now. I’ll be putting most of my class materials up on here this fall, so hopefully people can find those useful as well. 

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About Mr. Môniyâw

Age: 37 Lives: All over the place. Education: PhD, linguistics, UBC.
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3 Responses to A sentence to ponder, from Alice Ahenakew

  1. Wayne says:

    I’m not sure what the context Alice is mentioning in this piece, but this is what I interpret it as, “my late grandfather used to have be able to speak 5 languages.”

  2. Wayne says:

    argh…”my late grandfather had to ability to speak 5 languages.”

  3. Yeah that’s pretty much it. What’s baffling about it is the use of IT-itwêwina and ISI-pîkiskwêwina. The only time you do that in Cree, usually, is with verbs. And the only time you do it on verbs is when you’re talking about how two events are correlated. “The way my father told me, that’s also the way this man told me.” pêyakwan kâ-isi-wîhtamawit nohtâwiy, êkosi isi ê-isi-wîhtamawit ana kisêyiniw.

    So, it’s like she’s correlating the two words, but they’re NOUNS. And understanding exactly what this means – it’s really tricky.

    So the problem is, how do you interpret ititwêwina and isipîkiskwêwina in that?

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