|ᓄᐧᐃᒡ ᐙᔥᑭᒡ ᑳ ᐋᐦᑯᓯᑦ᙮
||nuwich waashkich kaa aahkusit.
||S/he has been sick for a long time.
|ᑭᔨᐱᑆ ᑳ ᐧᐋᐸᒥᒃ᙮
||kiyipwaa kaa waapamik.
||Of course I saw him.
The wordsᐙᔥᑭᒡ waashkich
and ᑭᔨᑆ kiyipwaa
in the sentences above are called particles.
Particles are small words (ayimuwinisha
) that always stay the same (unlike nouns and verbs that take inflection, particles do not take inflection). They can have many different meanings, used to modify the meaning of the verb or the sentence. They work like what is called adverbs, conjunctions or interjections in English or French.
In the Cree dictionary, particles (p) were classified in the following sub-categories, based on their meaning types.
||words for saying ‘yes’ or expressing agreement
||used to join phrases and sentences, ‘and, or, but’
|dem, (focus,) location
||words used for pointing to a place (sometimes with focus)
||way over there
||no specific meaning but adds emphasis to other words
||words that give a judgement on a situation, ‘for sure, unnecessary’
||since at least, lucky that
||words that are often said as an exclamation, ‘listen!, look!, try!’ and politeness words, ‘hello, thank you’
||includes prepositions ‘below, on top’, adverbs ‘on one side, upwind’ and directions ‘east’
||in front, ahead
||adverbial words like ‘very, incorrectly, secretly’
||in many different ways
||words for saying ‘no, not’
||amounts like ‘four pounds, three times’ and adverbs like ‘a lot, all, some’
||words like ‘when’ and the yes-no question marker aa
||which, which one?
||includes prepositions ‘before’, adverbs ‘sometimes’ and time expressions ‘last summer’
||for an instant, for a little while
Warning: Some particles can be identical (homonymous) to corresponding preverb or initial.