Atikamekw language

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Atikamekw is a language spoken by the Aboriginal nation of the same name in Quebec, Canada. The language status is "developing" with approximately 6,000 speakers. Second language in the Atikamekw communities is French, but Atikamekw is the mother tongue of 95% of the Atikamekw people. Some people, mostly elders, are monolingual Atikamekw. It is one of the most vibrant of the Native American languages in Canada today. The average age of Atikamekw speakers is 21 years old, the lowest in Canada. However French is used for the education starting at the second cycle of elementary school. French is also used for "modern activities" such as television and Internet. Many Atikamekw speakers use French at work and some also speak English. There is an "Institut linguistique atikamekw" (ILA) that is responsible to standardize and promote the language.[1]

Atikamekw is a language part of the macrolanguage Cree, but is different from other Cree languages and dialects in that it has a lot of borrowed words from Ojibwe. Another important difference is that Atikamekw is the only Alonguian language to use the letter "r" of the latin alphabet.

Since 2014, there is a project to create a Wikipedia in Atikamekw.

Technical info[edit | edit source]

  • Language family: Algic languages/Algonquian languages/Cree languages
  • Regions: Quebec, Canada
  • Number of speakers: approx. 5,900
  • Script(s): Latin alphabet (LTR)
  • Majority language(s): French

Writing systems[edit | edit source]

Although Atikemekw is part of the Cree language family, it doesn't use the Canadian Unified Syllabics. It uses the Latin alphabet. Atikamekw has 11 consonants and 4 vowels.

Atikamekw alphabet
Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA Letter IPA
c [ʃ] h [h] k [k] m [m] n [n] p [p] r [r] s [s] t [t] w [w] tc [tʃ]
a [a] â [a:] ê [e:] i [i] î [iː] o [o] ô [o:]

Vowels with an accent represents the long vowels. However in the written language accents are usually not used in Atikamekw. Vowels a, i, o can be either short or long while the vowel e is always long.

Some words in Atikamekw[edit | edit source]

Atikamekw English
mikwam house
nipi water
atimw dog
atikw horse
amiskw beaver
mahikan wolf
maskwa black bear
mikisiw eagle
mos moose
kiskinohamatokamokw school
takapikenikan phone
kinokepitcikan computer
pa mikicikwe pitcikan Internet
otapanaskw sled
ickote otapan train
ka mactatanawkiparik car
ka miremakak plane

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Institut linguistique atikamekw

External resources[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]