Personal Pronouns

Personal Prefixes

Observation
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᐦᑖᓐ ᐋ ᒋᒨᐦᑯᒫᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chiwaapihtaan aa chimuuhkumaan. Do you see your knife?

This is another set of personal pronouns, but they are called “prefixes”. This means that they always attach to the beginning of another word, like chi– in the examples above. They are found on verbs and on nouns. The 3rd person prefix u- only appears on nouns, not on verbs.

Personal prefixes
for verbs   for nouns
chi- Click here to hear this word chi-
ni- Click here to hear this word ni-
Click here to hear this word u-

Compare the prefixes on the verbs in the right columns and on the nouns in the left columns. Notice that the suffix, also in bold, works together with the prefix to indicate the person. See also Emphatic Pronouns.

ᐧᐋᐱᐦᑖᓐ waapihtaan (VTI) to see it   ᐋᐱᒫᐤ waapimaau (VTA) to see him/her
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᐦᑖᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapihtaan   ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimaau
ᓂᐧᐋᐱᐦᑖᓐ Click here to hear this word niwaapihtaan   ᓂᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word niwaapimaau
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᐦᑖᓈᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapihtaanaawaau   ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒫᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimaawaau
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᐦᑖᓈᓂᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapihtaanaaniu   ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒫᓂᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimaaniu
ᓂᐧᐋᐱᐦᑖᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word niwaapihtaanaan   ᓂᐧᐋᐱᒫᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word niwaapimaanaan
ᐧᐋᐱᐦᑎᒻ Click here to hear this word waapihtim   ᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word waapimaau
ᐧᐋᐱᐦᑎᒧᒡ Click here to hear this word waapihtimuch   ᐧᐋᐱᒫᐧᐃᒡ Click here to hear this word waapimaawich
ᐧᐋᐱᐦᑎᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word waapihtimwaau   ᐧᐋᐱᒫᔨᐤᐦ Click here to hear this word waapimaayiuh
ᒨᐦᑯᒫᓐ muuhkumaan (nI) knife   ᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓐ taapishkaakin (nA) scarf
ᒋᒨᐦᑯᒫᓐ Click here to hear this word chimuuhkumaan   ᒋᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓐ Click here to hear this word chitaapishkaakin
ᓂᒨᐦᑯᒫᓐ Click here to hear this word nimuuhkumaan   ᓂᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓐ Click here to hear this word nitaapishkaakin
ᒋᒨᐦᑯᒫᓂᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chimuuhkumaaniwaau   ᒋᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓂᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chitaapishkaakiniwaau
ᒋᒨᐦᑯᒫᓂᓂᐤ Click here to hear this word chimuuhkumaaniniu   ᒋᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓂᓂᐤ Click here to hear this word chitaapishkaakininiu
ᓂᒨᐦᑯᒫᓂᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word nimuuhkumaaninaan   ᓂᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓂᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word nitaapishkaakininaan
ᐅᒨᐦᑯᒫᓐ Click here to hear this word umuuhkumaan   ᐅᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓐᐦ Click here to hear this word utaapishkaakinh
ᐅᒨᐦᑯᒫᓂᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word umuuhkumaaniwaau   ᐅᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓂᐧᐋᐤᐦ Click here to hear this word utaapishkaakiniwaauh
ᐅᒨᐦᑯᒫᓂᔨᐤ Click here to hear this word umuuhkumaaniyiu   ᐅᑖᐱᔥᑳᑭᓂᔨᐤᐦ Click here to hear this word utaapishkaakiniyiuh

In the plural, notice the difference between ᓂ–ᐃᓈᓐ ni–inaan, “we, but not you”, ᒋ–ᐃᓂᐤ chi–iniu , “we, including you”, and ᒋ–ᐃᐧᐋᐤᐦ chi–iwaauh, “you, but not me”. This difference is not made in English.

Personal prefixes added to a stem beginning with a vowel

When a word begins with a vowel, a -t- is inserted between the prefix and the word. This is called an epenthetic -t-.

ᐋᒨ aamuu (na) bee
chi + t + aamuu + m = ᒋᑖᒨᒻ Click here to hear this word chitaamuum your bee
ni + t + aamuu + m = ᓂᑖᒨᒻ Click here to hear this word nitaamuum my bee
u + t + aamuu + m + h = ᐅᑖᒨᒻᐦ Click here to hear this word utaamuumh his bee

Other examples:

ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ Click here to hear this word awaashish a child > ᒋᑎᐧᐋᔑᔒᒻ Click here to hear this word chitiwaashishiim. your child
ᐆᑦ Click here to hear this word uut a canoe > ᒋᑑᑦ Click here to hear this word chituut your canoe
ᐄᔨᔨᐤ Click here to hear this word iiyiyiu person > ᓂᑎᔨᔨᒻ Click here to hear this word nitiyiyim one of my people

There are some exceptions to this rule.

ᐊᐳᐃ Click here to hear this word apui paddle > ᓂᐳᐃ Click here to hear this word nipui
ᐊᐱᔓᐃ Click here to hear this word apishui tipi pole > ᓂᐱᔓᐃ Click here to hear this word nipishui
ᐊᑭᔅᒄ   akiskw arrow > ᓂᑭᔅᒄ   nikiskw
ᓂᑭᔅᒀᐦᑎᒄ   nikiskwaahtikw arrow shaft > ᓂᑭᔅᒀᐦᑎᒄ   nikiskwaahtikw
ᐅᐧᐋᑎᓂᑯᐦᑉ Click here to hear this word uwaatinikuhp wedding dress > ᓂᐧᐋᑎᓂᑯᐦᑉ Click here to hear this word niwaatinikuhp
ᐅᔥᑳᒋᐦᒄ   ushkaachihkw awl > ᓅᔥᑳᒋᐦᑯᒻ   nuushkaachihkum
ᐊᔑᐧᐃᔥᑖᑭᓐ   ashiwishtaakin old axe for breaking up beaver lodge > ᓂᔑᐧᐃᔥᑖᑭᓐ   nishiwishtaakin
ᐅᔥᑳᒑᐅᐎᑦ   ushkaachaauwit bag made from the legs of the caribou > ᓅᔥᑳᒑᐅᐧᐃᑦ   nuushkaachaauwit
ᐅᐦᐱᓯᑭᓐ Click here to hear this word uhpisikin baking powder, yeast > ᓅᐦᐱᓯᑭᓂᒻ Click here to hear this word nuuhpisikinim
ᐅᐱᔅᑯᑏ   upiskutii stomach of a bear, beaver, caribou, moose > ᓅᐱᔅᑯᑖᒻ   nuupiskutaam

When the word begins with ᐅ u- or ᐆ uu-, the -i of the prefix becomes -u. For ᒋ+ᐅchi+u, the older form kuu- is preferred.

For the third person, people disagree, some think there is no prefix, some add a u- prefix. Some even write those words with two short u.

ᐅᑖᐹᓈᔅᒄ Click here to hear this word utaapaanaaskw a sled > ᒎᑖᐹᓈᔅᒄ Click here to hear this word chuutaapaanaaskw your sled
          ᑰᑖᐹᓈᔅᒄ Click here to hear this word kuutaapaanaaskw your sled
          ᐅᑖᐹᓈᔅᒄᐦ Click here to hear this word utaapaanaaskwh his/her sled
          ᐆᑖᐹᓈᔅᒄᐦ Click here to hear this word uutaapaanaaskwh his/her sled
          ᐅ ᐅᑖᐹᓈᔅᒄᐦ Click here to hear this word u-utaapaanaaskwh his/her sled

Words beginning with w do not have a special behavior, they just take the regular prefixes: ni-, chi- and u-. 

ᐧᐋᑎᓂᑯᐦᑉ Click here to hear this word waatinikuhp a wedding dress > ᓂᐧᐋᑎᓂᑯᐦᑉ Click here to hear this word niwaatinikuhp my wedding dress
        > ᒋᐧᐋᑎᓂᑯᐦᑉ chiwaatinikuhp your wedding dress
        > ᐅᐧᐋᑎᓂᑯᐦᑉ Click here to hear this word uwaatinikuhp her wedding dress
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