How to write East Cree sounds (in roman orthography)

This page provides some general guidelines about what to write when you hear an East Cree sound. A separate page describes the reasons behind the roman writing system (the alphabet).

Fricative sounds

Write S when you hear an [ s ] sound. This rule doesn’t always work due to dialectal variation.

Northern Southern
ᓯᓯᔅ Click here to hear this word sisis ᓴᑲᑆᓐ Click here to hear this word sakapwaan

Write SH when you hear an [ ʃ ] sound. This rule doesn’t always work due to dialectal variation.

Northern Southern
ᔒᔒᑉ Click here to hear this word shiishiip ᔒᐹ Click here to hear this word shiipaa

Write H when you hear an [ h ] sound.

Northern Southern
ᐃᔮᔫᐦᐊᐤ Click here to hear this word iyaayuuhau ᒥᓇᐦᐄᒄ Click here to hear this word minahiikw
  • See the H sounds page for more details on this sound.

Nasal sounds

Write M when you hear an [ m ] or [ m̩ ] sound

Northern Southern
ᒨᔅ Click here to hear this word muus ᒦᑐᔅ Click here to hear this word miitus
ᒥᐦᒌᐙᓯᐤ Click here to hear this word mihchiiwaasiu

Write N when you hear an [ n ] or [ n̩ ] sound.

Northern Southern
ᓈᐤ Click here to hear this word naau ᓇᒣᐲ Click here to hear this word namepii
ᓂᑐᒋᑭᓐ Click here to hear this word nituchikin ᓂᒋᒄ Click here to hear this word nichikw

Plosive sounds

Write P when you hear any of these sounds [ p, b, pʰ ].

Northern Southern
ᒦᐱᑎᓲᑉ Click here to hear this word miipitisuup ᐯᐹᐤ Click here to hear this word pepaau

Write T when you hear any of these sounds [ t, d, tʰ ].

Northern Southern
ᑖᐦᑎᐳᐎᓐ Click here to hear this word taahtipuwin ᑌᐦᑌᐤ Click here to hear this word tehteu

Write K when you hear any of these sounds [ k, g, kʰ ].

Northern Southern
ᑰᒃ Click here to hear this word kuuk ᐋᐦᑯᓰᐅᑲᒥᒄ Click here to hear this word aahkusiiukamikw

Affricate sounds

Write CH when you hear a [ dʒ ] sound.

Northern Southern
ᒑᑭᑦ Click here to hear this word chaakit ᒌᒌᔥ Click here to hear this word chiichiish

Write CH when you hear a [ tʃ ] sound.

Northern Southern
ᐊᓵᒥᒡ Click here to hear this word asaamich ᒋᐦᒋᐸᔫ Click here to hear this word chihchipayuu

Write CH when you hear a [ dz ] sound.

Northern Southern
ᑳᐦᑳᒋᐤ Click here to hear this word kaahkaachiu ᐊᐦᐄᐱᐦᒉᓲ Click here to hear this word ahiipihchesuu

Write CH when you hear a [ ts ] sound.

Northern Southern
ᒀᔅᒋᐱᐳᓐ Click here to hear this word kwaaschipipun ᐊᔅᒌᒥᓐᐦ Click here to hear this word aschiiminh

Glide sounds

Write Y when you hear a [ j ] sound.

Northern Southern
ᔫᔅᑳᔮᐤ Click here to hear this word yuuskaayaau ᔫᑎᓂᐸᔫ Click here to hear this word yuutinipayuu

The [ w ] and [ w̥ ] sounds are spelled two ways.

    • Sometimes a [ w ] or [ w̥ ] sound is written with the letter W.
Northern Southern
ᐐᐱᑦ Click here to hear this word wiipit ᐐᐹᐤ Click here to hear this word wiipaau
ᒥᓂᐦᐄᒄ Click here to hear this word minihiikw ᑏᐅᐊᔅᒋᐦᒄ Click here to hear this word tiiuaschihkw
    • Sometimes a [ w ] or [ w̥ ] sound is written with the letter U.
Northern Southern
ᐙᐦᐙᐤ Click here to hear this word waahwaau ᑌᐦᑌᐤ Click here to hear this word tehteu
ᓃᔓ Click here to hear this word niishu ᓃᔓ Click here to hear this word niishu

Some words are spelled with the letter W, even though they do not have a [ w ] sound. See the page on W-clusters and the page on diphthongs for more discussion of this complicated topic.

Vowel sounds

Tense vowels

  • Write UU or Û when you hear [ u ] or [ u: ]. See the vowel listening practicepage for examples.
    • Sometimes the [ u ] or [ u: ] sounds are spelled with a U. See the page on lax vowels for details.
  • Write AA or  when you hear [ a, a:, æ, æ:, ɛ ] or [ ɛː ]. See the vowel listening practice page for examples.
  • Southern only: write  E when you hear [ e, eː, ɛ ] or [ ɛː ]. See the vowel listening practice page for examples.
  • Write WAA or when you hear [ ɔ, ɔː, ɒ ] or [ ɒː ]. See the vowel listening practice page for examples.

Lax vowels

  • Write U when you hear [ ʊ ]. See the vowel listening practicepage for examples.
    • In some words, the [ ʊ ] sound is spelled with the letter I. See the page on lax vowels for details.
  • Write either A or I when you hear [ ɪ, ɛ, ɨ, ə ] or [ ʌ ]. See the vowel listening practice page for examples.

Sounds that are heard but not spelled

Some sounds that can be heard in speech are not spelled. The glottal stop sound is one of these sounds.

Letters that are spelled but not heard

Some letters in East Cree spelling are silent. This includes some instances of H and W, and silent vowels.

For more information

Click here to go back to Orthography Back to Orthography Click here to go to the top/ Top Click here to go to Rationale for the roman alphabet Next: Rationale for the roman alphabet