There are two sets of interrogative pronouns, one based on ᐊᐧᐋᓐ awaan and ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan which refer to people or things, and another one based on ᑖᓐ taan which refers to places. They can also take inflection to create dubitative pronouns.
Use an interrogative pronoun to ask a question about:
- People or things
- Places or selections
|ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐆ᙮||awaan uu.||Who’s this?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐆ᙮||chaakwaan uu.||What’s this?|
The interrogative pronouns ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan and ᐊᐧᐋᓐ awaan can be used with a demonstrative pronoun, as in the above examples, or with a verb, or on their own.
|ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᓈᑎᐧᐋᔨᐦᑎᒥᓐ᙮||chaakwaan naatiwaayihtimin.||What do you want?||inanimate|
|ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᓈᑎᐧᐋᔨᒥᑦ᙮||awaan naatiwaayimit.||Who do you want?||animate|
|ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᒥᓐ᙮||chaakwaan wiyaapihtimin.||What do you see?|
|ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐱᔮᐱᔨᑦ᙮||awaan piyaapiyit.||Who is arriving (by vehicle)?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᓂᐦᐄ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᒥᓐ᙮||chaakwaanihii wiyaapihtimin.||What (things) do you see?|
|ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᒥᑦ᙮||awaan wiyaapimit.||Who do you see?|
|ᐊᐧᐋᓂᒌ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᒥᐧᑖᐤ᙮||awaanichii wiyaapimitwaau.||Who (plural) do you see?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᐦᒃ᙮||chaakwaayiu wiyaapihtihk.||What does s/he see?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤᐦ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᐦᑎᐦᒃ᙮||chaakwaayiuh wiyaapihtihk.||What (things) does he see?|
|ᐊᐧᐋᔨᐤᐦ ᐧᐃᔮᐱᒫᑦ᙮||awaayiuh wiyaapimaat.||Who does s/he see?|
|ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐆ᙮||awaan uu.||Who is this?|
|ᐊᐧᐋᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮||awaan an.||Who is that?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐆ᙮||chaakwaan uu.||What is this?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮||chaakwaan an.||What is this?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐊᓂᔮᔨᐤ᙮||chaakwaayiu aniyaayiu.||What (obviative) is it?|
|ᐊᐧᐋᔨᐤᐦ ᐊᓂᔮᐦ᙮||awaayiuh aniyaah.||Who (obviative) is it?’|
There is a corresponding uninflected particle ᒑᒄ chaakw for ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan.
|ᒑᒄ ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ ᐊᓐ.||chaakw awaashish an.||Who is that child?|
|ᒑᒄ ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ-ᐦ ᐊᓂᔮᐦ᙮||chaakw awaashish-h aniyaah.||Who is that child (obviative)?|
ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan is also found in questions about reasons or causes, often with the particle waahchi.
|ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐋᑯᐦ᙮||chaakwaan aakuh.||Why? / Why not? / How come? / What for?|
|ᒑᐧᑳᓐ ᐧᐋᐦᒋ ᒌ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᒥᓐ ᐊᓐ᙮||chaakwaan waahchi chii ihtuutimin an.||Why did you do that?|
|ᐃᔑ ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐧᐋᐦᒋ ᒌ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᐦᒃ ᐊᓂᔮ᙮||ishi chaakwaayiu waahchi chii ihtuutihk aniyaa.||I wonder why s/he did that.|
|ᓂᒋᔅᒑᔨᒫᐤ ᒑᐧᑳᔨᐤ ᐧᐋᐦᒋ ᒌ ᐃᐦᑑᑎᐦᒃ ᐊᓂᔮ᙮||nichischaayimaau chaakwaayiu waahchi chii ihtuutihk aniyaa.||I know why s/he did that.|
ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan and ᐊᐧᐋᓐ awaan are polysemic words, and can also be indefinite pronouns.