Interrogative Pronouns

Use an interrogative pronoun to ask a question about:

Interrogative pronouns on people or things

Observation
ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᓀᑕᐧᐁᔨᐦᑕᒪᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan netaweyihtaman. What do you want?
ᐊᐧᐁᓐ ᓀᑕᐧᐁᔨᒪᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awen netaweyimat. Whom do you want?

When the words ᐊᐧᐁᓐ awen and ᒉᒡᐧᑳᓐ chekwaan are used for asking questions, they are called “interrogative pronouns”. They can also be used as indefinite pronouns or quantifiers.  ᐊᐧᐁᓐ awen is used for animate beings or things, and ᒉᐧᑳᓐ chekwaan for inanimate ones. They can be used alone:

ᐊᐧᐁᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word awen Who?
ᒉᐧᑳᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan What?

Or they can be found in a full sentence:

ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐃᔮᐸᐦᑕᒪᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan wiyaapahtaman? What do you see?
ᐊᐧᐁᓐ ᐱᔮᐸᔨᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awen piyaapayit? Who is arriving?

They always take inflectional endings, for example plural inflection:

ᒉᐧᑳᔫᐦ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaayuuh? What things?
ᒉᐧᑳᔫᐦ ᐧᐃᔮᐸᐦᑕᒪᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaayuuh wiyaapahtaman? What (things) do you see?

Interrogative pronouns

Proximate Obviative
singular plural singular plural
Animate Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐁᓐ Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐁᓀᒌ Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐁᔫᐦ Click here to hear this word ᐊᐧᐁᔫᐦ
‘Who?’ awen awenichii aweyuuh aweyuuh
Inanimate Click here to hear this word ᒉᐧᑳᓐ Click here to hear this word ᒉᐧᑳᔫᐦ Click here to hear this word ᒉᐧᑳᔫ Click here to hear this word ᒉᐧᑳᔫᐦ
‘What?’ chekwaan chekwaayuuh chekwaayuu chekwaayuuh

Examples:

ᐊᐧᐁᓐ ᐧᐃᔮᐸᒪᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word awen wiyaapamat. Who do you see?
ᐊᐧᐁᓂᒌ ᐧᐃᔮᐸᒪᐧᑖᐤ᙮ Click here to hear this word awenichii wiyaapamatwaau. Who (plural) do you see?
ᒉᐧᑳᔫ ᐧᐃᔮᐸᐦᑕᐦᒃ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaayuu wiyaapahtahk. What does he see?
ᒉᐧᑳᔫᐦ ᐧᐃᔮᐸᐦᑕᐦᒃ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaayuuh wiyaapahtahk. What (things) does he see?
ᐊᐧᐁᔫᐦ ᐧᐃᔮᐸᒫᑦ᙮ Click here to hear this word aweyuuh wiyaapamaat. Who does he see?
Observation
ᐊᐧᐁᓐ ᐆ᙮ Click here to hear this word awen uu. Who is this? (When you see the person)
ᐊᐧᐁᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word awen an. Who is that? (When you do not see the person)
ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᐆ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan uu. What is this? (When you see the thing)
ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan an. What is that? (When you do not see the thing)

The interrogative pronouns ᐊᐧᐁᓐ awen and ᒉᐧᑳᓐ chekwaan can also be used with the demonstrative pronouns uu and ᐊᓐ an. They both take inflection:

ᒉᐧᑳᔫ ᐊᓂᔫ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaayuu aniyuu. What (obviative) is it (that he is holding)?
ᐊᐧᐁᔫᐦ ᐊᓂᔫᐦ᙮ Click here to hear this word aweyuuh aniyuuh. Who (obviative) is it (that he wants to meet)?

ᐊᐧᐁᓐ awen and ᒉᐧᑳᓐ chekwaan can take the dubitative inflection (see Dubitative pronouns). ᒉᒄ chekw is a shorter, uninflected form of ᒉᐧᑳᓐ chekwan, ‘what kind?’. It cannot be used alone. (see Interrogative particles)

Observation
ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᒫᒃ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan maak. Why not?’, ‘How come?’, ‘What for?

ᒉᐧᑳᓐ chekwaan is also found in questions about reasons or causes. It usually appears with the particle ᐧᐁᐦᒋ wehchi. ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐁᐦᒋ chekwaan wehchi means ‘Why?’ [see the particle wehchi]:

ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᒫᒃ ᐧᐁᐦᒋ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan maak wehchi. But why?
ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐁᐦᒋ ᒌ ᐃᐦᑑᑕᒪᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chekwaan wehchi chii ihtuutaman an. Why did you do that?

Like other pronouns, it takes inflection:

ᐁ ᐄᔑ ᒉᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐁᐦᒋ ᐃᐦᑑᑕᒪᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word e ishi chekwaan wehchi ihtuutaman an? I wonder why you did that.
ᓂᒋᔅᒉᔨᒫᐤ ᒉᐧᑳᔫ ᐧᐁᐦᒋ ᐃᐦᑑᑕᐦᒃ ᐊᓂᔫ᙮ Click here to hear this word nichischeyimaau chekwaayuu wehchi ihtuutahk aniyuu. I know why he did that.
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