Nouns with Person Inflection

Dependent Nouns

ᓂᒧᔓᒻ   nimushum my grandfather
ᓂᔥᑎᐧᑳᓐ   nishtikwaan my head

Nouns like ᓂᒧᔓᒻ nimushum and ᓂᔥᑎᐧᑳᓐ nishtikwaan are called DEPENDENT nouns. They always appear with a prefix indicating a person.

ᒋᒧᔓᒻ   chimushum your grandfather
ᒋᔥᑎᐧᑳᓐ   chishtikwaan your head
ᐅᒧᔓᒻᐦ   umushumh his/her grandfather
ᐅᔥᑎᐧᑳᓐ   ushtikwaan his/her head

In the Cree dictionary, a noun like ᓂᒧᔓᒻ nimushum is indicated as nad (noun animate dependent ), while a noun like ᓂᔥᑎᐧᑳᓐ nishtikwaan is indicated as nid (noun inanimate dependent). Dependent nouns include the name of relatives (kinship), body parts, and personal belongings. For example:

ᓂᓃᒋᐦᐄᑯᒡ   niniichihiikuch nad my parents
ᐅᑐᔑᒥᔅᐧᑳᒥᒫᐤ   utushimiskwaamimaau nad a niece, step-daughter
ᐅᑐᔑᒥᔅᐧᑳᒻᐦ   utushimiskwaamh nad her/his niece, step-daughter
ᐅᐦᑐᐃ   uhtui nad her/his harpoon for sturgeon, whale
ᐅᔅᑯᓐ   uskun nid his/her liver
ᐧᐄᐧᐃᑦ   wiiwit nid her/his suitcase, luggage
ᒥᑐᐦᑎᓐ   mituhtin nid heel
Paradigm for Animate DEPENDENT NOUN
ᐅᒥᔅᐦ umis-h (nad) older sister
2 ᒋᒥᔅ   chimis your older sister
2 ᒋᒥᓯᒡ   chimisich your older sisters
1 ᓂᒥᔅ   nimis my older sister
1 ᓂᒥᓯᒡ   nimisich my older sisters
2p ᒋᒥᓯᐧᐋᐤ   chimisiwaau your older sister
2p ᒋᒥᓯᐙᐅᒡ   chimisiwaauch your older sisters
21p ᒋᒥᓯᓂᐤ   chimisiniu our older sister
21p ᒋᒥᓯᓂᐅᒡ   chimisiniuch our older sisters
1p ᓂᒥᓯᓈᓐ   nimisinaan our older sister
1p ᓂᒥᓯᓈᓂᒡ   nimisinaanich our older sisters
3 ᐅᒥᔅᐦ   umis-h his/her older sister(s)
3p ᐅᒥᓯᐧᐋᐤᐦ   umisiwaauh their older sister(s)
3′(p) ᐅᒥᓯᔨᐤᐦ   umisiyiuh his/her/their older sister(s)

The prefix mi-

Dependent nouns denoting body parts and personal belongings take the prefix mi- to indicate that there is no specific possessor.

ᓂᑖᔅ   nitaas my sock
ᐅᑖᔅᐦ   utaas-h his/her socks
ᒥᑖᔅ   mitaas a sock
ᓃᔓ ᒥᑖᔅᐦ   niishu mitaas-h two socks

ᐊᓐ ᐃᔅᐧᑳᐤ ᒌᐦ ᐧᐋᐱᐦᑎᒻ ᐋᐦ ᒥᐦᐧᑳᔨᒡᐦ ᒥᑖᔅᐦ᙮
an iskwaau chiih waapihtim aah mihkwaayichh mitaas-h.
That woman saw red socks.

ᓂᐦᑎᐧᐃᑮ   nihtiwikii my ear
ᒥᐦᑎᐧᐃᑮ   mihtiwikii an ear
ᓂᔥᑎᐧᑳᓐ   nishtikwaan my head
ᒥᔥᑎᐧᑳᓐ   mishtikwaan a head

The suffix -imaau

Nouns denoting relatives (also called kinship nouns) take the suffix, -imaau when there is no specific possessor. These nouns are all animate as they denote people.

ᐅᑳᐐᐦ   ukaawiih his/her mother
ᓂᑳᐐ   nikaawii my mother
ᐅᑳᐐᒫᐤ   ukaawiimaau a mother
ᐅᒧᔓᒻᐦ   umushumh his grand father
ᓂᒧᔓᒻ   nimushuum my grandfather
ᐅᒧᔓᒥᒫᐤ   umushumimaau a grand father
ᐐᒋᔖᓐᐦ   wiichishaanh his sibling
ᓃᒋᔖᓐ   niichishaan my sibling
ᐐᒋᔖᓂᒫᐤ   wiichishaanimaau a sibling
ᐅᑐᔑᒥᔅᐧᑳᒻᐦ   utushimiskwaamh her/his niece, step-daughter
ᐅᑐᔑᒥᔅᐧᑳᒥᒫᐤ   utushimiskwaamimaau a niece, step-daughter

The suffix -im

When dependent nouns use the suffix –im, it indicates that the relationship includes another (3rd) person.

ᐅᔥᑭᔒᐦ   ushkishiih his (own) nail(s)/claw(s)
ᐅᔥᑭᔒᒻᐦ   ushkishiimh his nail/claw (from an animal or somebody else)
ᓂᔥᑭᔒ   nishkishii my (own) nail
ᓅᔥᑭᔒᒻ   nuushkishiim my nail/ claw (from an animal or somebody else)

Notice the change in the prefix, ᓅᔥᑭᔒᒻ nuushikshiim literally means ni-u-shkishii-m my his-claw. To know more, read: Junker, Marie-Odile. 2003. East Cree Dependent Nouns and Disjoint Reference, Algonquian and Iroquian Linguistics 28(1): 11-13.