Romanizing Cree

Cree (cre) is a macrolanguage or language family spoken in Canada and the US. As noted in the Wikipedia article, Cree is one of the most widely spoken languages in those countries, but has little institutional support.

Some of the dialects of Cree are traditionally written not with the Latin alphabet, but with the Canadian Aboriginal syllabics. A “syllabic” is a single character combining a consonant and a vowel, such as found in Cherokee (chr) and the Japanese hiragana.

The Canadian Aboriginal syllabics are of a writing type known as an abugida, where you write the consonant and then somehow modify it to indicate the vowel. For example, drawing a line to the right over an “n” character makes the “n” into ᓂ or “ni” and a line that goes to the left makes ᓀ or “ne.” See Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics on the ScriptsSource website for good examples of how this works.

Learning the writing system requires a major investment of time, however, and as some dialects are conventionally written with the Latin alphabet anyway, there is a movement to exclusively use the Latin alphabet. The Cree Literacy Network provides resources for Romanized Cree, including a list of Cree books written with the Latin alphabet.

For a Romanized Cree dictionary, see Online Cree Dictionary. Also, for a blog on Plains Cree, see That Môniyâw Linguist.

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One Response to “Romanizing Cree”

  1. Romanizing Cree – Ethnos Project Crisis Zone Says:

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