Interrogative Pronouns

There are two sets of interrogative pronouns, one based on ᐊᐧᐋᓐ awaan and ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan which refer to people or things, and another one based on ᑖᓐ taan which refers to places. They can also take inflection to create dubitative pronouns.

Use an interrogative pronoun to ask a question about:

Interrogative pronouns for people or things

Observation
ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐆ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaan uu. Who’s this?
ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐆ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan uu. What’s this?

The interrogative pronouns ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan and ᐊᐧᐋᓐ awaan can be used with a demonstrative pronoun, as in the above examples, or with a verb, or on their own.

ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᓈᑎᐧᐋᔨᐦᑎᒥᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan naatiwaayihtimin. What do you want? inanimate
ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᓈᑎᐧᐋᔨᒥᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaan naatiwaayimit. Who do you want? animate
ᐊᐧᐋᓐ Click here to hear this word awaan. Who?
ᒑᐧᑳᓐ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan. What?
Proximate Obviative
singular plural singular plural
Animate Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐋᓐ Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐋᓂᒌ Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐋᔨᐤᐦ Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐋᔨᐤᐦ
awaan awaanichii awaayiuh awaayiuh
Inanimate Click here to hear this word ᒑᐧᑳᓐ Click here to hear this word ᒑᐧᑳᓂᐦᐄ Click here to hear this word ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ Click here to hear this word ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤᐦ
chaakwaan chaakwaanihii chaakwaayiu chaakwaayiuh

Other examples:

ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᒥᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan wiyaapihtimin. What do you see?
ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐱᔮᐱᔨᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaan piyaapiyit. Who is arriving (by vehicle)?
ᒑᐧᑳᓂᐦᐄ Click here to hear this word chaakwaanihii. What things?
ᒑᐧᑳᓂᐦᐄ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᒥᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaanihii wiyaapihtimin. What (things) do you see?
ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᒥᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaan wiyaapimit. Who do you see?
ᐊᐧᐋᓂᒌ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᒥᐧᑖᐤ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaanichii wiyaapimitwaau. Who (plural) do you see?
ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᐦᒃ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaayiu wiyaapihtihk. What does s/he see?
ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤᐦ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᐦᒃ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaayiuh wiyaapihtihk. What (things) does he see?
ᐊᐧᐋᔨᐤᐦ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᒫᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaayiuh wiyaapimaat. Who does s/he see?
ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐆ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaan uu. Who is this?
ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaan an. Who is that?
ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐆ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan uu. What is this?
ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan an. What is this?
ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐊᓂᔮᔨᐤ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaayiu aniyaayiu. What (obviative) is it?
ᐊᐧᐋᔨᐤᐦ ᐊᓂᔮᐦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awaayiuh aniyaah. Who (obviative) is it?’

There is a corresponding uninflected particle ᒑᒄ chaakw for ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan.

ᒑᒄ ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ ᐊᓐ. Click here to hear this word chaakw awaashish an. Who is that child?
ᒑᒄ ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ-ᐦ ᐊᓂᔮᐦ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakw awaashish-h aniyaah. Who is that child (obviative)?

ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan is also found in questions about reasons or causes, often with the particle waahchi.

ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐋᑯᐦ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan aakuh. Why? / Why not? / How come? / What for?
ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐋᐦᒋ ᒌ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᒥᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chaakwaan waahchi chii ihtuutimin an. Why did you do that?
ᐃᔑ ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐧᐋᐦᒋ ᒌ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᐦᒃ ᐊᓂᔮ᙮ Click here to hear this word ishi chaakwaayiu waahchi chii ihtuutihk aniyaa. I wonder why s/he did that.
ᓂᒋᔅᒑᔨᒫᐤ ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐧᐋᐦᒋ ᒌ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᐦᒃ ᐊᓂᔮ᙮ Click here to hear this word nichischaayimaau chaakwaayiu waahchi chii ihtuutihk aniyaa. I know why s/he did that.

ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan and ᐊᐧᐋᓐ awaan are polysemic words, and can also be indefinite pronouns.

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