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.
Particle Type Meaning Example
affirmative words for saying ‘yes’ or expressing agreement ᐄᐦᐄ iihii yes
conjunction used to join phrases and sentences, ‘and, or, but’ ᑭᔮᐦ kiyaah also
dem, (focus,) location words used for pointing to a place (sometimes with focus) ᓈᑖᐦ naataah way over there
emphasis no specific meaning but adds emphasis to other words ᒦᔮᓂᒄ miiyaanikw
evaluative words that give a judgement on a situation, ‘for sure, unnecessary’ ᒑᔑᐙᑦ chaashiwaat since at least, lucky that
interjection words that are often said as an exclamation, ‘listen!, look!, try!’ and politeness words, ‘hello, thank you’ ᔮᒀᐦ yaakwaah watch out!
location includes prepositions ‘below, on top’, adverbs ‘on one side, upwind’ and directions ‘east’ ᓃᑳᓐ niikaan in front, ahead
manner adverbial words like ‘very, incorrectly, secretly’ ᒫᒫᐦᒡ maamaahch in many different ways
negative words for saying ‘no, not’ ᓂᒥ nimi not, unless
number numbers ᑯᐧᑖᔑᔖᑉ kutwaashishaap sixteen
quantity amounts like ‘four pounds, three times’ and adverbs like ‘a lot, all, some’ ᐋᐱᐦᑎᐤ aapihtiu half
question words like ‘when’ and the yes-no question marker aa ᒑᒃ chaakw which, which one?
time includes prepositions ‘before’, adverbs ‘sometimes’ and time expressions ‘last summer’ ᒥᑯᒌ mikuchii for an instant, for a little while
Warning: Some particles can be identical (homonymous) to corresponding preverb or initial.