Cree is a group of closely related languages of the Algonquian group , common in Canada from Alberta to Labrador . About 117 thousand people speak Cree.
|Self name||ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ Nēhiyawēwin, Nīhithawīwin, Nēhinawēwin|
|Official status||Northwest Territories ( Canada )|
|Total number of speakers||117 410 people [one]|
|Category||North American Languages|
|Writing||Cree syllable letter (a type of Canadian syllable letter ), Latin|
cre - (main code)
The dialectal continuum of the Cree languages can be divided into languages according to several criteria. In the dialects common in northern Ontario and on the northwest coast of Quebec , the sounds of / ʃ / and / s / differ. These sounds do not differ both in western (pronounced as / s /) and in eastern dialects (both pronounced as / ʃ / or / h /). In several dialects, including the northern lowland Cree and the Forest Cree, the long vowel / eː / and / iː / merged into one vowel / iː /. In some Quebec communities, the long vowel / eː / merged with / aː /.
However, the most obvious difference between Cree dialects is manifested in the pronunciation of Proto-Algonquin * l in modern dialects, as shown in the table:
|* kīla ' |
|Plain cree||SK , AB , BC , NT||y||iyiniw||kiya|
|Forest Cree||MB , SK||ð / th||iðiniw / ithiniw||kīða / kītha|
|Marsh Cree||ON , MB , SK||n||ininiw||kīna|
|North East Crees||QC||y||īyiyū||čiy ᒌ|
|South East Crees||QC||y||iynū||čiy ᒌ|
|East innu||QC , NL||n||innū||čin|
Plain yri-speaking Cree call their language nēhi y awēwin , forest Crees pronounce nīhi th awīwin , and swamp Crees call nēhi n awēwin . Similar alternation occurs in the Sioux languages: Dakota (tongue) , nakot and lakota .
Another important phonetic difference between Cree dialects is the palatalization of protoalgonkinsky * k . East of the border between Ontario and Quebec (except Atikamek ), protoalgonkinsky * k in front of front vowels moved to / tʃ / or / ts / (see the table in the column * kīla ).
Very often, the Cree dialectal continuum is divided into two languages: Cree and Montagna . The Cree includes all the dialects in which the transition * k → / tʃ / did not occur (provinces from British Columbia to Québec ), and the Montagna covers the territory where this alternation occurred (provinces from Quebec to Newfoundland and Labrador ). Such a division is convenient from a linguistic point of view, but it is confusing, since the Eastern Cree is included in the montagna. For practical purposes, Cree usually includes dialects using Canadian syllable writing (including Atikamek , but excluding Naskapi ), and montagny refers to languages that use Latin (with the exception of Atikamek and Naskapi ). The term naskapi refers generally to the y- dialect ( Quebec ) and the n- dialect ( Newfoundland and Labrador ).
Within the framework of the Algonquian languages, the Cree form a separate branch, also called the Cree-Montagnae .
- Cree-Montagna branch:
- Cree Group: Central Cree, Western Cree , Atikamek
- Monkanye-Naskapi group: Eastern Crete , Montagne-Naskapi , Naskapi
Cree dialects are broadly divided into nine groups. From west to east:
- plain cree ( y- dialect, English. Plains Cree )
- forest (rocky) Cree ( th- dialect, eng. Woods / Rocky Cree )
- swamp cree ( n- dialect, eng. swampy cree )
- Swamp Cree is divided in turn into eastern and western, which differ in the use of phoneme ʃ. In the western dialect, ʃ merges with s.
- mus kri ( l- dialect, eng. moose cree )
- Eastern Cree ( y- dialect, sometimes called the Cree James Bay) - Eng. James Bay Cree ).
- James Bay Cree splits into northern and eastern dialects, which differ in the number of vowels . The long vowels ē and ā in the northern dialect merge, but differ in the southern dialect. In addition, the southern dialect lost the distinction between s and ʃ. In this, the southern dialect falls into a series of languages of the Montañe , in which both phonemes have passed into ʃ. Despite the differences, people from these groups easily understand each other.
- Atikamek ( r- dialect, English Atikamekw )
- Western Montagna ( l- dialect, eng. Western Montagnais )
- Eastern Montagne, n- dialect, sometimes called Innu-aimun , Eng. Eastern Montagnais )
- naskapi ( y- dialect, eng. Naskapi )
Like many indigenous languages of America, the Cree is characterized by complex polysynthetic morphology and syntax . A Cree word can be very long and express a concept that requires the use of many words in European languages. For example, in lowland Cree, the word “school” would be kiskinohamātowikamik , but to say “he always dances like that,” the word ki-isi-nanīmihitow is enough .
Cree dialects, other than those common in eastern Quebec and Labrador , are traditionally written in syllable alphabet (a variant of Canadian syllable writing ), but they can also use the Latin alphabet . The most eastern dialects use only Latin.
|Alphabet of Eastern Cree|
|Beginning of syllable||Vowels||End of syllable|
|y||ᔦ||ᔨ||ᔪ||ᔭ||ᔩ||ᔫ||ᔮ||ᔾ ( ᐤ )|
|ABC West Cree|
|Beginning of syllable||Vowels||End of syllable|
There is a Wikipedia section in the Cree language (“ Wikipedia in the Cree language ”), the first revision was made in 2004  . As of 2:19 pm ( UTC ) on August 2, 2019, the section contains 103 articles (total number of pages - 2023); 11 180 participants are registered in it, two of them have the status of administrator; 16 participants have taken any actions in the past 30 days; the total number of edits during the life of the section is 33,938  .
Cree Creole Languages
The Cree served as the basis for two unique mixed languages of western Canada :
- Michafe combines Crees and French ,
- Bangui - Cree and Scottish Gaelic .
Both languages were spoken by mestizos-rangers and settlers in western Canada.
In addition, many Cree words entered into the vocabulary of the Chinook jargon , a commercial language that had been used for some time in contacts with Europeans.
The social and legal status of the Cree is different in different regions of Canada . Cree is one of the seven official languages of the Northwest Territories , but there are only a small number of speakers in Fort Smith .
In many areas, the Cree is the living language of the community, which is spoken by the majority of the population, and which is taught in schools. In other areas, its use is seriously reduced.
Compared to other indigenous languages of the Americas, the Cree is not seriously endangered, but due to lack of support this situation may change for the worse.
- Cree (people)
- Canada Statistics Canada: 2006 Census: Various Languages Spoken Archived October 16, 2013.
- Cree Wikipedia: first edit
- Cree Wikipedia: statistics page