Spelling East Cree (Northern) – Dialect Differences

The syllabic chart

The full syllabic chart shows all the symbols that are used in writing Eastern James Bay Cree. Some symbols are used only in the Southern dialect, not in the Northern – as explained below.

North – South differences

Speakers from Wemindji, Chisasibi, Whapmagoostui, and sometimes Eastmain use ᐋ, ᐹ, ᑖ, ᒑ, ᒫ, ᓈ, ᓵ, ᔖ instead of ᐁ, ᐯ, ᑌ, ᒉ, ᒣ, ᓀ, ᓭ, ᔐ.

Southern Northern
ᒥᐦᒀᓐ ᒥᐦᒀᓐ
ᔭᒄ ᔨᒄ
ᐌᐦᐄᑲᓐ ᐙᐦᐄᑭᓐ
ᓇᐙᐸᒫᑦ ᓂᐙᐱᒫᑦ
ᒀᓐ ᒀᓐ
ᒣᐱᓱᓐ ᒫᐱᓱᓐ
ᐙᐤ ᐙᐤ
ᒋᓲ ᒋᓯᐤ
ᔐᔔ ᔖᔑᐤ
ᑳᐤ ᑳᐤ

The Northern speakers do not use ᐸ, ᑕ, ᑲ, ᒐ, ᒪ, ᓇ, ᓴ, ᔕ, ᔭ but instead use ᐱ, ᑎ, ᑭ, ᒋ, ᒥ, ᓂ, ᓯ, ᔑ, ᔨ.

Southern Northern
ᑯᓀᔮᐤ ᑯᓈᔮᐤ
ᐦᑳᔮᐤ ᐦᑳᔮᐤ
ᐸᑦ ᐱᑦ
ᐦᑳᐯᔥ ᐦᑳᐹᔥ
ᓯᓇᐦᐄᑲᓐ ᓯᓂᐦᐄᑭᓐ
ᒣᔅ ᒫᔅ
ᑳᐤ ᑳᐤ
ᐌᔨᒣᐤ ᐙᔨᒫᐤ
ᐦᒋᓇᒻ ᐦᒋᓂᒻ

However, is used in both Northern and Southern dialects at the beginning of a word, and after in VTI verbs.

Southern Northern
ᑎᐦᒄ ᑎᐦᒄ
ᒥᔅᒄ ᒥᔅᒄ
ᒥᐦᒄ ᒥᐦᒄ
ᐅᑖᒪᐦ ᐅᑖᒥᐦ

Eastmain speakers

In Eastmain, speakers use both Southern and Northern pronunciations since the community is on the boundary of the two dialect areas. These pronunciations are evident in a single word and show up in the written form using both dialects.

ᓭ, ᓯ, ᓱ, ᓴ, ᔅ and ᔐ, ᔑ, ᔓ, ᔕ, ᔥ

Both these sets are used in writing East Cree words. In some communities speakers do not pronounce the ᔐ, ᔑ, ᔓ, ᔕ, ᔥ the same way as other communities and may want to check their spelling with the dictionary.

ᓭ ᓯ ᓱ ᓴ ᔅ ᔐ ᔑ ᔓ ᔕ ᔥ
ᔅᑭᐦᐅᓐ ᑳᒄ
ᐅᑏᔅ ᔒᑯᓐ
ᐦᒋᓰᐤ ᐎᔨᑎᒻ

See also: Spelling East Cree – Southern Dialect – Dialect Differences