nishu deux nishutipishkua during 2 nights
nanishu deux par deux nishuapiss two dollars
nishtu trois nisht us too (Mamit)
nanishtu three by three nishtupipuna over 3 years
kanishtu a three (in cards) nishtu-ńińikau something has 3 fingers
The identification of the labialized sh and t (phonetically [∫w], [tw]) is a bit more difficult than that of ku because, at the end of a word, we don’t really hear a different between shu and sh, or tu and t. However, when we add a suffix to these labialized consonants, we clearly hear the presence of the [u] or [w], like for ku.

Problem Description

The problem with shu and tu is not the same as that of other labialized consonants, because it only concerns two words and their derived forms: nishu and nishtu. Labialization is not generally pronounced at the end of a word (except for nishu which can be pronounced [ny∫] in the Mamit languages and of Sept-Îles-Schefferville). However, it reappears when these words enter into compounds with another word: nishupipuna two years, nishtupishimua three months.

Spelling Solutions

The spelling solution retained to write labialized consonants in Innu is to indicate the labialization with an exponent (or suspended) u: kuDIALECTOLOGY: Other Algonquian languages use the shw spelling instead. This solution was not retained in Innu because the letter w is not used. and tu. The adoption of this solution was done later in the elaboration of Innu spelling than for the labialized kThis explains why, in the Drapeau (1991) and Mailhot & Lescop (1977) dictionaries, on don’t yet mark mu. This consonant’s particular behaviour (vowel harmonization or suffixation) finally convinced the participants to the standardization of spelling that it was a good solution for all labialized consonants.
– Mailhot, J. et K. Lescop. 1977. Lexique montagnais-français du dialecte de Schefferville, Sept-Îles et Maliotenam. Québec : Ministère des Affaires culturelles. Direction du Patrimoine.
– Drapeau, L. 1991. Dictionnaire montagnais français. Presses de l’Université du Québec.
, at the same time as the adoption of the solution for mu.


The online dictionary is a good tool to find words ending in shu and tu because we can search by the ends of words. The printed dictionary is useful for verifying the spelling of particular words.


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