WAYK Cree: Session 1

Our first WAYK: Cree session took place on Tuesday, August 19th, with 5 participants (Dereck Robertson, Lorna Whitford, Diana Emes, Rob Jarvis, and me, Caylie Gnyra) present. We ran through some of the basics of Where Are Your Keys? (“This is a game, and games have rules. Our rules are called ‘techniques…'”) and some of the beginner techniques:

We ran through “What is that?” (adapted to “What is this?” for reasons I’ll explain in a later session) “Make me say yes,” and “Make me say no.” The objects I chose for this session were salt and a mirror. One of the reasons I chose these are because they are fairly easy for new speakers to pronounce (“see-wee-tah-gan” and “wa-pa-mon”), as they don’t have many syllables (or at least not as many as SOME Cree words!) and have sounds that are familiar to English speakers. I also chose these because they are both inanimate nouns – animate nouns have a different set of rules, so I am going to try out doing a few sessions with just inanimate nouns before we get into the animate rules. Finally, I chose these words for the mileage we could get out of them: “salt” will become something we’ll be able to talk about in conversation soon (“Do you want salt in your soup? Do you like lots of salt?”), and the word “mirror” “does a thing” (that’s a phrase you’ll hear a lot around WAYKers) that I want our group to learn fairly soon. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what that is!

I forgot to run plus/deltas, so I hope I remember to do this in the future!

Below is the gist of our session:

What is this?


wâpamon ôma.


sîwihtâkan ôma.

Make me say yes

wâpamon cî ôma?

eha, wâpamon ôma.

sîwihtâkan cî ôma?

eha, sîwihtâkan ôma.

Make me say no

sîwihtâkan cî ôma?

namôya, namôya ôma sîwihtâkan, wâpamon ôma.

wâpamon cî ôma?

namôya, namôya ôma wâpamon, sîwihtâkan ôma.