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John Cialini

on 4 April 2014

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Transcript of Blackfoot

John Cialini Blackfoot Language As separate bands, both before and after being assigned reserves, these groups have developed slightly different dialects of the Blackfoot language.
These differences are few, and almost never cause communication issues.
The dialects are known well enough that speakers from one reserve can usually identify the dialect of a speaker from another reserve. Dialectal Differences Unlike English, many if not most Blackfoot sentences consist of just a single word. Grammar Blackfoot has a free word order,
in that it has numerous orders of
constituents that are grammatically

However, Subject-Verb is the most
prevalent word order. Word Order Blackfoot is made up of 10 consonants, and 3 vowels. However, as in English, they are sometimes pronounced differently depending on the sounds preceding or following them. Speech Sounds The Blackfoot alphabet is technically not an alphabet, but a syllabary. Each symbol represents a syllable, not solely a consonant or vowel. Written Language Bortolin, Leah and Sean McLennan. 1995. “A Phonetic Analysis of Blackfoot.”
Frantz, Donald G. 2009. "The Blackfoot Language."
Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.). 2005. "Blackfoot." Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th edition. Dallas: SIL International Sources Review: Blackfoot is an Algonquin Language, spoken primarily in Montana and Alberta, Canada.
There are currently around five to six-thousand speakers (2005), but it is an endangered language, as it is no longer common for children to learn.
There are four separate dialects, as well as a generational difference in speech. Southern Piegan Blood Northern Piegan Siksika Differences which distinguish dialects can be divided into three categories:
Lexical The most prevalent difference between dialects is Lexical, i.e. uses of different words for the same referent, or have different meanings assigned to the same word.
Many of these involve words for items which were not part of the native culture, so it's not surprising that each region came up with its own word.

Ice cream, for example, is called sstónniki (lit: 'cold milk') in Blood, and áísstoyi (lit: 'that which is cold') in Siksika.

Another example, samákinn means 'lance/spear' on the Siksiká reserve, but 'large knife' on the Blood reserve. Grammatical The grammars of the different dialects may
assign the same noun to different grammatical genders
(Animate / Inanimate)

For example, iitáísapahtsimao'p 'ashtray' is of
animate gender on the Blood reserve, but of inanimate
gender on the Piegan reserves. The Siksiká reserve dialect in particular has developed a unique way of forming past tense on verbs. (In addition to the means used on the other reserves)

They prefix a syllable na-, but only if no person prefix is called for. Phonological A phonological difference between the Siksika and Blood regions involves replacement of long vowels with a vowel plus a glottal stop (') by the latter. Compare the following words: aakiiwa - a'kiiwa (Woman)

nitsináána - nitsiná'na (It's mine)

áyaapiiwa - áya'piiwa (he sees) Things like who is performing an action, what they're doing it with, when they did it, and many other aspects can be conveyed with affixes alone. Blackfoot has not only first, second, and third person, but fourth and fifth person as well. The 4th person (obviative) nouns act similarly to 3rd person (proximate) nouns, but are less important to the conversation. For example, take the sentences "The man chased the fox" and "The fox was chased by the man."

The first sentence would have "man" as the proximate and "fox" as the obviate. In the second however, "fox" is the proximate, because we are more concerned with the actions of the fox than the man.

5th person is subobviative, which is only used for possessions of the obviative. (Small number of sentences with overt subjects and objects rules out drawing any
conclusions from those figures, though SVO is technically the most frequent.) Blackfoot clauses by
major constituent order:

SV - 76%
VS - 24%
VO - 51%
OV - 49% Consonants Letter IPA Example

h X ich (German)
k k skid
m m moon
n n nap
p p spit
s s sit
t t stick
w w water
y j yellow
' ? uh-oh Notice that the examples for the letters p, t, and k show these sounds after an s, not at the beginning of a word.

Blackfoot consonants are always non-aspirated, which is simulated by placing them after "s" in English. Vowels Letter IPA Example

a a Father
i i machine
o o no (Spanish) In some situations, short i sounds more like the i in “bit” (IPA:I) rather than the i in “machine” (IPA: i). This occurs when i comes before two or more consonants. Some vowel combinations sound different than they would alone in sequence. "ao" makes a sound like caught, and "ai" sounds like the Italian è. (Symbols are written left to right.) The syllabary had never become popular enough to have standardized spelling, so words can often be spelled in a variety of ways.

For example, Siksika can be spelled either SI+KSI+KA or SIK+SI+KA
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