This spelling issue only affects the Mamit (Lower North Shore) dialect.
|pashiku||s/he gets up||nikamu||s/he sings|
|nutim||all||atimapu||s/he sits with her/his back turned|
|nikaui||my mother||atimuteu||s/he walks away|
|atipish||fine babiche||shiputenamu||s/he closes the tent door|
Description of the Spelling Issue
In the Mamit dialect, there is a tendency to pronounce the short i as a before the consonants k, m and p: nikamu [nakamu] s/he sings, nutim [nutam] all, shiputenamu [shapute:nam], etc.
The decision was made to always write the historical vowel (that is, the vowel used in ancient Innu).
|It is difficult to know when to write a particular short vowel (here the short i) but to pronounce another ([a]), especially since short vowels occur in a large number of words, and verb endings.|
Caution: It is important not to assume that all short vowels followed by the consonants k, m, p are written with i:
- Sometimes a is followed by k, m or p: mishanakau it’s a big island, ashameu s/he feeds her/him, ushakai skin or fur (of an animal).
- Sometimes short u preceeds k, m or p: pitukamit inside, manukashu s/he sets up her/his tent
The Innu dictionary is an excellent tool for checking the spelling of words written with short, historical vowels.
Making lists of these words can help to learn their spelling, particularly for speakers of Mamit.
|ushpikai||her/his side; its rib cage||pitshenik||it’s just beginning|
|nanikapeshamu||s/he cuts something into strips||tshiniku||mixed with another liquid|
|nikuashkateu||s/he buries someone||nutimau||it is whole|
|uitimushu||s/he has a lover||nanimissuat||thunder, lightning|
|uatshishimu||the road curves||ishkueshtimu||female dog|
|nashipetimit||on the shore, bank||utitiman||her/his shoulder|
|atipish-amaku||snowshoe netting needle for fine babiche||natimit||upstream|