Transitivity

Observation
ᐧᐋᐱᐤ᙮ Click here to hear this word waapiu. She sees.
ᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ᙮ Click here to hear this word waapimaau. She sees him.

The verb ᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ waapimaau talks about two persons involved in two different roles: one who does the seeing (called “actor”) and one who is being seen (called “goal”). Such a verb with two roles is called a transitive verb. The verb ᐧᐋᐱᐤ waapiu, on the other hand, only talks about one person involved in one role: the one who does the seeing. Nothing is said about what the person sees. A verb with only one role is called an intransitive verb.

Where English uses the same verb form see, Cree uses different verb forms, depending on the number of roles played by the things and beings involved.

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