Cree verb classes

Observation
ᒥᓯᓂᐦᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word misinihwaau She writes him (his name) down
ᒥᓯᓂᐦᐊᒻ Click here to hear this word misiniham She is writing it
ᒥᓯᓈᓲ Click here to hear this word misinaasuu She (her name) is written down
ᒥᓯᓈᑖᐤ Click here to hear this word misinaataau It is written

Where English uses the same verb to write, Cree makes a difference depending on two factors: transitivity and gender.

Based on the number of roles that a verb has and the gender (animate, inanimate) of these roles, four main classes of verbs stems can be established.

Animate Inanimate
One Role (Intransitive) Animate Intransitive (VAI) Inanimate Intransitive (VII)
ᒥᓯᓈᓲ᙮ Click here to hear this word misinaasuu ᒥᓯᓈᑖᐤ᙮ Click here to hear this word misinaataau
Two Roles (Transitive) Transitive Animate (VTA) Transitive Inanimate (VTI)
ᒥᓯᓂᐦᐧᐋᐤ᙮ Click here to hear this word misinihwaau ᒥᓯᓂᐦᐊᒻ᙮ Click here to hear this word misiniham

Most verbs will have specific forms for each of these classes: VII, VTI, VTA or VAI, identified by different endings and different stems [see verb stems, verb inflection].

The following Cree definitions are suggested for these four classes:

Verb ᐃᐦᑐᐧᐃᓐ ihtuwin
VII (Inanimate Intransitive) ᐋ ᐃᔅᐱᔨᒡ/ᐋ ᐃᔑᓈᑯᐦᒡ ᒑᐧᑳᓐ Click here to hear this word aa ispiyich/aa ishinaakuhch chaakwaan
VAI (Animate Intransitive) ᐋ ᐃᐦᑎᒃ ᐊᐧᐋᓐ Click here to hear this word aa ihtik awaan
VTI (Transitive Inanimate) ᐋ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᐦᒃ ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ Click here to hear this word aa ihtuutihk chaakwaayiu
VTA (Transitive Animate) ᐋ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᐧᐋᑦ ᐊᐧᐋᔨᐤᐦ Click here to hear this word aa ihtuutiwaat awaayiuh

All verbs in the Cree dictionary are classified according to those classes, plus an additional one called VAI+O: Verb Animate Intransitive plus Object.

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