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Great Camp of the Piekannes near Fort McKenzie
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000

The following Nizi Puh Wah Sin (Real Speak) Amskapi Pikuni Language
Lessons were compiled from the field notes presented as a gift to the Peigan Institute
by Jack Holterman. They were edited and prepared by the Piegan Institute staff
during the years 1994-1999. They represent one of the most comprehensive studies of
the Amskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet) Language. The study consists of sixty lessons and
ten supplemental sheets.
The lessons are based on a system of learning the language, and each lesson
must be mastered before going on to the next. The system will enable students to
understand the structure of the language, as well as learn how to utilize the
language in conversations.
The system works on the following rules:
At the beginning of each lesson is a list of words. It is important the list be
learned thoroughly before going on to the exercises.
Each word (verb stem) will have a dash (-) either in front or at the end of it.
The dash means either a prefix or a suffIX is needed for the word to have it's full
meaning. If there is no dash connected to the word it can stand alone.
It is of crucial importance the word lists at the beginning of each lesson be
mastered before going on. Take the time and the effort to learn each lesson.
Create as many examples of sentences asked for at the end of each lesson as
you possibly can before moving on to the next lesson.
This is the official curriculum and study guide of the Piegan Institute's Nizi
Pub Wah SiD (Real Speak) Schools. It is used by parents, students, and teachers to
learn to speak and write the language the correct and traditional way.
It is copyrighted by the Piegan Institute, but is offered as a gift to those who
wish to use it to fulfill their responsibility of learning more about their tribal
language. Please give credit when citing passages from the book.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Lesson I
Lesson II
Lesson III
Lesson IV
Lesson V
Lesson VI
Lesson VII
Lesson VIII
Lesson IX
Lesson X
Lesson XI
Lesson XII
Lesson XIII
Lesson XIV
Lesson XV
Lesson XVI
Lesson XVII
Lesson XVIII
Lesson XIX
Lesson XX
Lesson XXI
Lesson XXII
Lesson XXIII
Lesson XXIV
Lesson XXV
Lesson XXVI
Lesson XXVII
Lesson XXIX
Introduction: Sounds of Blackfeet; Alphabet
Verb Stems - Configuration I
-AKI and -KOAN; Prefixes AI- and AU
Singular Commands; Interrogatives and Negatives (Configuration I)
Plurals of Nouns; a Few Numerals
Configuration II of the Conjugation of Verbs
Interrogative and Negative of Configuration II; More on -KOAN; UYI
The Suffix -AKI; Past and Future; Combining Verbs
Initial M-, N- and P- Are Often Dropped. Conjugating a Noun!
The Construct Case; Declension of Nouns; Prepositions and postpoSitionsll
Verbs with Suffix -1-1; Color Verbs and Their Type; Plural Commands.
Review of Numerals; H- Stem Verbs
Pointers on NIZITAPI; Gender in Animals; Negative Commands; Y ~ N - and
its Type; Collectives I
More Verb Combinations; Pointers on KISTAP-
Using Intransitive Stem Transitively; Gender in Adjective-Verbs
Telling Time; More Adjective Verbs
New Names for Animals; Saying "old"; Expressing Age in Years
Nouns Formed from Verbs; Demonstratives ~
Review of Numerals
The Demonstrative ANA; Relative Pronouns ,

Counting Within the Decades; Kinship Terms; Possession; Pronominal

Pronominal Suffixes; INAN
How To Identify Relationships; Possession: Verbalized Nouns
Noun Incorporation
Numerals for Price (Buying and Selling)
The Erratic Verb IKI; the Handy Verb POKO; How To Say "Let's"
Relative Clauses; Asking "Why?"
Verbalized Nouns for Body Parts;
"To Make"; Transformative; Frequentative
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Lesson XXX Transitive Animate
Lesson XXXI Transitive Animate (Plural Objects); Negatives and Interrogatives
Lesson XXXII Transitive Animate: Configuration II; T-Stems; Trouble-Making Verbs
Lesson XXXIII Configuration II: Negative and Interrogative
Lesson XXXIV Passive; Reciprocals
Lesson XXXV Reflexives
Lesson XXXVI Centrifugal and Centripetal Verb Forms
Lesson XXXVII Centripetals Continued
Lesson XXXVIII Negative and Interrogative Centripetals
Lesson XXXIX Irregular T-Stems
Lesson XL Transitive Inanimate
Lesson XLI Transitive Inanimate: the Second Configuration
Lesson XLII Transitive Inanimate: Negative and Interrogative
Lesson XLIII Imperative Mood
Lesson XLIV Causative-Permissive
Lesson XLV Subjunctives; the Conjunctive Type
Lesson XLVI Transitive Subjunctive of This Type
Lesson XLVII Centrifugal and Centripetal Subjunctives of This Type
Lesson XLVIII Comparison of Adjectives
Lesson XLIX The Conditional Subjunctive: "If" Clauses
Lesson L The Conditional Subjunctive Continued
Lesson LI Numerals for Counting Days
Lesson LII The Potential Subjunctive
Lesson LIII The Potential Subjunctive: Negatives
Lesson LIV The Potential SUbjunctive: Centrifugal and Centripetal
Lesson LV Ordinal Numerals and Other Numeral Series
Lesson LVI Accommodative Forms
Appendix: The Moons of the Year
Blackfeet Courtesy
Blackfeet Syllabary
Given Names
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Verbs Other Words
-APO- = to go, come anom = here
-APOTAKI- = to work ami there, over there
-OMAHKA- = to run anohk now
-ITOMO- to lead, go first itom- = first, leading I
-OTO-ITO- = to come, go, arrive oki hello! come in!
-UPI- = to sit (down) ki and
-ITAUPI- = to live, dwell nitoxka one
sokapi, sokap- good
nit- I, me, real, one, Indian
Each lesson will have a word list or vocabulary, including verbs,
nouns and other kinds of words or stems. Often these "words" are only
stems and cannot be used by themselves. If the "word" has a hyphen in
front of it or behind it or both, it is a combining form and must have
something attached to have it make sense. How to make these combina
tions will be one of the main things to learn in the Blackfeet language. I
You must also learn to tell verbs from nouns., and for that reason they
will be listed separately. The verbs are so important in Blackfeet
that they will be given to you in capital letters and only as stems to
which you will have to link other terms. It may be a good idea if you
try to find the verb stem first of all and then consider all the particles
that come attached to it in front and behind:
Now let's start to use a few of these verb stems to make sense out of them:
singular plural
1st person nitAPOTAKI I work nitAPOTAKlhpinan we work
2nd person kitAPOTAKI = you work kitAPOTAKlhpuwaw you (pI.) work
Notice that to sa.y "r" you add ni-t- in front of the verb stem. The
-t- must be inserted in some words as a "go-between". Some people use
just the -t- and omit the ni-. To say "you" the prefix is ki-t- and
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000

must not be omitted. What do you add to end of the stem to say "we"?
To say "you pI." ("you guys")? We should note that this way to say
"we" is not the only way and is used only when "we" does not include

Take each one of the verb stems listed in the vocabulary and treat it
just the way APOTAKI is treated here.
singular plural
1st person
2nd person
It will be a good habit to use this table-like form to conjugate verbs
from now on. To conjugate means to "yoke up" and is a Latin word used
to describe what we do to verbs. With one of our verb stems, there is
a little trick to remember: O } ~ drops the final -A if nothing is
attached onto it, becoming -OMAHK' (note the use of the apostrophe.)
There is another trick to remember if you use 1TAUP1 or 1TOMO: The
"go-between" -.!.- of ni t- and kit- turns into ts in front of the i.
(I usually write Z in place of TS.) } ~ n y verbs act like OMAHKA, 1TAUP1
and 1TOMO. That will help keep us awake.
Now translate:
1. I live here. You live there. We live here. You (pl.) live there.
2. Now I am working. ("am working" is the same as just "work".)
3. (Make up your own.)

Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Verbs Nouns
-ANI- = to say, tell aki = woman
-SAMI- to hunt, seek akfkoan girl
-SAXI- to go out napikoan white man
-XlKAI- to walk Pikuni Piegan
-PUYI- to speak Sixika Blackfoot, Blackfeet
-OHKlMA- to wait Kaina = Blood(s)
-OKA- to sleep napi = old man
-PAPAUKA- & -PAPOKA- napi friend, partner! (in address
to dream mahkuyi = wolf
-ASAINI- = to cry, weep mistaki = mountain
-YIMI- & -IMI- to laugh iniw = buffalo
Other Words
nat-, natoka two
amoyauk, amoye here is.... (on handing things)
sa no
kika! wait!
go on!
AKI and KOAN: Algonquian languages usually do not distinguish male and
female. In some cases, however, Blackfeet uses these two terms as
suffixes in this manner: -AKI is frequently attached to feminine personaL
names and to tribal and ethnic terms; e.e. napiaki = white woman;
Pikuni-aki Piegan woman. -KOAN is sometimes attached to masculine
and ethnic terms: e.g. = Piegan man. For other functions of
-KOAN, see Lesson
Timeless Verbs: Blackfeet does not need to distinguish time or tense in
its verbs as English does, though it can make such distinctions if the
speaker wants to. In other words, a Blackfeet verb may refer to the past
or the present and be translated "I do . It or "I did . ", "I was doing"'
. Prefixes AI and. AU: Most verbs in Blackfeet require on.e or the other of
------'. - -_.
these two prefixes, usually accented. You just have to remember which c:
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000

these two goes with which verb. Some verbs. however, require neither
but may use one if the speaker wishes. The verbs given in Lesson I
and SAXI do not require such a prefix. Of the verbs given in this
lesson, ANI takes AU and so does ASAINI: auANI, auASAINI. The other
verbs in this lesson take AI: aiSAMI, aiXIKAI, aiPUYI, aiOHKIMA, aiOKA,
aiPAPAUKA, aiYIMI. Here is how it works:
nitauANI I am saying etc. nitauANIhpinan we are saying etc.
kitauANI you are saying etc. kitauANIhpuwaw you(pl.) are
saying etc.
These prefixes can be translated by the "progressive" forms in English:
e.g. "I am (was) doing". The pronunciation of AI varies from AY as in
English "day" to the Y in English "sky" and sometimes even to the U in
English "but".
From here on the prefix AI or AU will be given with each verb in the
vocabularies that requires such a prefix, or usually uses one.
Conjugate each one of the new verbs using the appropriate prefix if one
is needed. But be careful! aiSAMI and SAXI are like OMAHKA; they drop
their final vowel (I) when nothing follows it and put an apostrophe in
its place.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Verbs Nouns
auAMISO to go up, climb matapi person
aiINISO to go down, descend nizitapi Indian (real person)
aiSUMOSI to get water, go for sahkumapi boy
water (drops final I)
auAHKAII to go home poka = child
kokit! give me! (command only) imita dog
piit! ;; come in! (
) nitomitam my dog
istupit! = sit here (there)! kitomitam = your dog
(command form)
kos cup, dish
Other tvords
(n)api- white
sahk- short
niuoxka three
ami- up
in- down
amitohzi = up, upstream, west
inisohzi ;; down
suyi water, in the water
isu6hzi near the water, on the shore
Command Forms:
We have just a few of these, but you can see from them that to form a
command we add -T to the verb stem when only one person is addressed.
e.g. UPlt = sit down!
To ask a question with either of the singular forms we have had, simply
add the suffix -HPA to the verb stem. To ask a question using either
of the plural forms, add -A at the end of the word. For example:
singular plural
1st person nit-ANI-hpa nit-ANI-ihpinan-a
2nd person kit-ANI-hpa kit-ANI-puwaw-a
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
These words mean: "Am I telling. ?" , "Are you . ?" Some
people drop the final -A in accordance with the tendency in the
Blackfeet language to silence final vowels.
To form negatives with any verb in the forms we know, prefix MAT- to
the interrogative forms just given. But the -T- of nit- and kit
disappears in front of MAT-, and the accent falls back from AI or AU
to MAT-. For example:
1- ni-mat-ANI-hpa I do not say we do not say
2- ki-mat-ANI-hpa = you do not say ki-mat-ANI-hpuwaw-a = you do not say
These words can also be translated: "I am not telling" etc. If we use
the AU- with ANI we these forms:
1- ni-mat-auANI-hpa ni-mat-auANI-hpinan-a
2- ki-mat-auANI-hpa ki-mat-auANI-hpuwaw-a
Conj all the verbs we know in the interrogative and forms.
1- Come in and sit down here! 2- Givei.1me the cup! 3- Give me one
cup (two cups, three cups)! (You do not need plural forms with numerals.)
4- I am not laughing. Are you laughing? 5- Do you live near the shore?
6- No, I live here. Yes, I live there.
The pupils should ask each other questions for each possible verb:
"Are you ... ? and then reply "Yes, I am... or "No, I am not. .. "
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
= black
nisui (
= there, here
Plurals: To form plurals, we must first know the gender of the noun:
Is it "animate" or "inanimate"? In Algonquian languages it has become
customary to divide nouns into these two genders even though the terms
"animate" and "inanimate" do not seem adequate. Nouns for people and
animals are animate, of course, but some things, like stars are also
considered animate. Nouns for some trees are animate, some inanimate.
Some terms are animate with one meaning and inanimate in another: e.g.
kos(a) means "cup" if animate and "a pottery dish" if inanimate. The
plurals of animate nouns are formed by adding -IX. The plurals of
inanimate nouns are formed by adding -ISZ. If a noun ends in -N, the -N
is dropped before changing to the plural. It is not necessary to pluralize
nouns in Blackfeet, however, especially if they are accompanied by a
n,umeral or some other indication of plurality. Here are some examples:
imitaix = dogs; kosix = cups; kosisz = dishes; akikoaix = girls.
Numerals have several forms: counting forms, animate and inanimate forms
and on,e Qr more combining forms each. Here are some of the extra forms
for the numerals we already know by their counting forms:
aiSAPI = to look at, see kon snow
aiKOANI = to play konsko = snow (on
the ground)
UNOZI to be hungry
napayeni = bread (from
INAKI to be thirsty
French la farine)
aiKAKIAKI = to chop (wood),
aisixikimi = coffee
bat, hit (in baseball)
nietahta = river, stream
AMI = to be the one
kitan(i) = loaf of bread,
6hKOTAKI = to give
cooking; pl. -anisz
KITA = to bake, cook
-kimi = water
(ohK1TA: aihKIT')
ohki = water (in.)
POHSAPO = to come here
pokun(a) (an.) = ball;
MISTAPO to go away pl. pokuyix; n6hpokun =
my ball; mi6hpokun =
auZIMOTA = to run away,
baseball (the game &
the ball)
Other Words
-sko (collective
sik-, sixi
niso =..four;
puhs- =
mist- = away
-ikip- = funny,
.. ..
ik-, ix- = very
im- = true,
(at a point in
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
I - nitoxka ('toxka); nitoxkam; nitoxkai
2 - natoka; natokai.
3 - niuoxka; niu6xkam; niuQxkai.
4 - niso; nisufm;
A- Read and understand: Napikoaix; kosix; kosisz; mistakisz; akiix.
Nitupi anom; kizitupihpuwaw. Kitaiok' isoohzi. Kifaiyimi; Kitainiso.
". ".
Kitainisohpuwaw. Kika! Kitaiohkimahpuwaw. Piit! Oki, napi! Kokit kos!
Sokapin 1ksokapi. Amoyauk koso Otot! Mistapot! Puhsapot! Anohk
nitaipuyihpinan. Nitauamisohpinan amitohzi. Isoohzi nizitaupihpinan.
Amitohzi kizitupi. Isoohzi nitapotakihpinan. Isoohzi nizitapohpinan.
Anoma kizitotohpuwaw. Nizipikunikoan. Nitaiok'. Kimatapokihpuwawa.
Nimatapokihpinana. Nizitsam'. Nimazitsamihpa. Anom nitahkaii. Kitaikipa
verbs: You can make up new verbs by combining ANI (which drops
final -I of course) by prefixing im-, ikip-: e.g. kiz-im-AN' = you're
right, you tell the truth. Kiz-ik1p-ANI-hpa? = Are you joking?
B- Translate: You are speaking. We are speaking. I am a Piegan.
I am working. I'm not working now; are you working here? We are
running near the water. You (pl.) stay here; you (pl.) laugh and sleep.
We are sleeping. We laugh. I am waiting. You sit down over here and
I sit on shore. Are you joking. I'm not joking. I'm telling the truth.
Speak up! You live there. You are going down. I'm joking and you are
laughing. We live near the water. I sleep. I do not I am
hunting now. I'm not hunting now. Are you going home? Come here!
Go away!
Complete Exercise: In each group of three sentences, there is one
question, one affirmative answer and one negative answer. Fill in
whichever sentence is missing: Kit auANlhpa ? A, nitauANI. Sa, ni
Kizikipanihpa? Sa, ___
? A, nitomahk'. Sa,
Omi kizitapohpuwaw? A,
Sa, .
A, Sa, nimatahkaiihpinana.
? A, Sa, nimatauasainihpa.
Kitaixikaihpa amitohzi? Sa,

Sa, ____________________
A, nitaipapauk'.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Verbs Nouns
Other Words
APIXISTAKI = to throw notas = my horse. pet pi- = far
ohKITUPI to ride. sit on, kotas = your horse. kit-,ihkit- = on :::::'11
straddle pet
akai-, akau- = ma=y
aiSOTA to rain otas his/her horse.
oma = that, the
ohPOTA to snow
mazoap- =
otomitam = his/her dog
aiSOPU = to be windy, blow
nisito = five
ninaw = man, chief
aiPIUO = to be far off
nisizi (an.)
aiputaw = airplane
aiPUTA to fly
nisitol (in.)
pokun(a) = ball (a.)
NISIZliaw (an.), NISITOiaw
pokuyix (pl.)
(in.) = there are five.
The Rest the Conjugation of the Verb: The first portion of the
conjugation of a verb included the first and second persons. It did not
include the 1st person plural (that refers to "you" or the person spoken I
to), nor any third, fourth or fifth persons. These are all part of the
second configuration, made up mostly of suffixes. Fourth and fifth I
may seem strange to you because English does not have them. The fifth
person is now so rarely used that we shall skip it for the present.
Third Person: Third person forms are usually made with suffixes only.
Since there is no distinction for sex, we may translate it by either "he"
or "she" and occasionally by "it", for the singular, and by "they" for
the plural. (Note the verb NISIZI-. In another lesson we'll discuss a
distinction between the so-called "animate" and "inanimate".) The 3rd I
person singular is formed by suffixing -WA to the stem or root. Usually
the A of -WA is final and therefore silenced, and all we may hear is the I
W sounded like the W in English "few". Some people, especially south of
the border, do not even say that. There are also instances where a final II
-A or final -M is the 3rd person ending, but we can discuss those cases
when we come to them. The 3rd person plural ("they") is formed by adding
<-IAI;-J to the stem. If the stem ends in -I, the two I's blend into one,
so it will be optional whether you write them as one or two. Obviously,
some verbs will only be used in the 3rd person singular: e.g. ohPOTAw I
it is snowini"; the OR-is<drawled when initial, like English !lAW".)
Obviously too, when the verb stems end in 0 or U, an added -W does not
change the

Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
sound of the word and so may be optional in writing, though the
meaning will be clearer if it is written.
Many nouns add the 3rd person -W or -WA or even -A. This fact
shows that nouns too can become 3rd person and in fact are then really
verbs. Such nouns would be translated "it is a man", "it is an airplane",
and so on: nina-w; aiputa-w. Thus. other nouns we have had would be
written: 1mitaw, in1w. napiw, pokaw. nietahtaw, ponokaw.
Fourth Person: Algonquian languages sometimes have this feature of
Ilfourth person" that represents someone (or something) that would be
a subordinate 3rd person in an Indo-European language: e.g. "the boy's
horse ran away". (In this sentence in Algonquian the "boy" is 3rd
person" and "his horse" is 4th person.) The 4th person has only a
singular form and is made by suffixing -INAI to the stem. (The AI here
sounds like Y in "sky".)
Sample Conjugation of forms:
singular plural
.". .". .". .".
3rd person (au)ANI-w' (au)ANI-iaw
.". .". .".
4th person (au)ANI:-inai
Since the two I's blend in such forms, you can write them alU\Nlaw and
auANInai instead of the way I have used above.
First Person Inclusive: l.fuen "we" includes the person addressed, the
form is called "inclusive" and is made by suffixing -op to the stem:
e.g. auANlop. APOTAKlop etc.
The Full Conjugation: (We'll take SUMOSI as an example.)
singular plural
1st person nitaiSUMOS' nitaiSUMOSlhpinan (exclusive)
aiSu}10SIop (inclusive)
2nd person kitaiSUMOS' kitaiSUMOSlhpuwaw
3rd person aiSUMOSIw aiSUMOSlaw (aiSUMOSI-iaw)
4th person aiSUMOSlnai (aiSUMOSI:-inai)
s: The stem of the verb automatically becomes the noun agent. that
I =-'='-----
is, the noun that indicates the doer. The APOTAKI means not only "to
but (with the -W suffixed) means also "the worker". And ~ t i Y I M I
means "to laugh" while aiYIMI-w means "he laughs
or lithe laugher."
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
The Prefix -OH-: Many words with a root beginning in K (occasionally
another letter) prefix -OH-. If the then becomes initial, it
changes to IH-. Examples: ihKOTAKI, ihKITA; The singular conjugation
of ihKITUPI runs this way:
nitohKITUPI, kitohKITUPI, ihKITUPlw, ihKITUPlinai. The plural
is nitohKITUPlhpinan. ihKITUPlop, kitohKITUPlhpuwaw, ihKITUPliaw.
a - Apotakiw'; apotakiaw. Akikoan aunoziw' ki aiinakiw'. Sahkumapi ki
ninaw aunoziaw. Auamisow' ki aipiuow'. Nitaipiuo. Nitaiokahpinan. aio
kaop; kitaiok'. Omi kizitapotakihpuwaW. Itow. Izitotow.
B - The man is working there. They are running near the water. They are
running in the water. She is staying here; the woman is staying here.
The man is chopping wood. My horse ran away. Your horse ran away_
The boy's horse ran away. His/her horse ran away. The boy is playing in
the snow. The boy's dog is playing in the snow. Not I! (I'm not the
one.) That Piegan man is the leader. I'm hungry; I'm very hungry. You
are thirsty; You are very thirsty. The boys are very thirsty.
C - Let each student select a verb to conjugate inlall known forms.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Nouns Other Words
UYI = to eat pfxiw = bird (large) (i)pistohzi
aiSIMI to drink aazistaw = rabbit = in. inside
NAIiaw there are six (an.) sisziw bird (small) sawohzi = outside
NAWiaw there are six (in.) isk(a) kettle, aistohzi = near
bucket (a.)
AISTO = to approach, come near ikin- = soft,
nohk my kettle gentle
OXTAKI to count
kohk your kettle isok- = loud, heavy
aiIHZI to recline, be
located, lie ohk = his/her kettle taka = who?
maauyi = mouth za = what, how?
naauyi = my mouth zima = where?
nai (an.), naw (in.)
mot- = everywhere,
Interrogative of 3rd and 4th Persons: Add -WAZ to the singulars and -WEXAW
to the plural. Sometimes -A' or -WAZIX is used instead of -WAZ in the
singular. In 4th person -INAI is attached after the -WAZ.
singular plural
3rd person (au)ANI-waz (au)ANI-wexaw
4th person (au)ANI-waz-lnai
Negative of 3rd and 4th Persons: Prefix MAT- to the interrogative. To
say "never" use KUT- instead of MAT-. (Pronounce KUT- like English "cut";)
singular plural
3rd person mat-ANI-waz mat-ANI-wexaw
4th person mat-ANI-waz-fnai
Examples: anfwaz? = does he/she say? Za aniwaz? = what does he say?
what does he (it) mean? (the reply would be: auaniwa = it means, he/she
says .... kutaniwaz = does he/she never say? doesn't he/she ever say (mean)?
More on -KOAN: Sometimes -KOAN does not involve gender. It may also be
used as a diminutive, as in akkoan and imitaikoan (puppy). Its basic
function seems to be as a particularizing agent; that is, it narrows down
the noun to which it is attached in order to designate an individual
member of a set or a smaller member of a set.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
The Verb UYI: The verb "to eat" is somewhat eccentric, maybe because
it gets so much use. Y and W tend to be interchangeable in Blackfeet
"" ".
(Y<>W) . So some people will pronounce this verb UYI, so UWI and some
01, and some people assibilate (T'>'Z) the T, of the pronoun prefix.
To illustrate:
1- nitIYI nitUYlhpinan
2- kitUYI kitUYlhpuwaw
3- UYlw UYIiaw
.. -"
4- UYlinai
And we meet alternates like nizOI, kizOI, OIw, OIop etc.
Exercises: A - Let each student conjugate a verb of his/her choice in
the interrogative and negative of all four persons.
B - Apotakiw'; matapotakiwaz; apotakiwazix; kutapotakiwazix? Apotakiiaw;
matapotakiwexaw; apotakiwexaw? kutapotakiwexaw? Napikoan kutapotakiwaz,
mataikakiakiwz ki mataisumosiwaz. Zima kizitapohpa? Mistakisz nizitapo.
Nimatapohpa. (In translating add "anywhere".) Kitoihpa pixi? Sa,
nimatoihpa. Taka otasaz? Sahkumapi ki imitaikoan aunoziaw; mataunoziwexaw;
C - She is staying here. They are seated over there. He is sitting at the
shore. That Piegan is climbing on the mountain, on Chief Mountain. Where
are you (pl.) going? We are not going anywhere. Eat! Drink! What does
"Piegan" mean? It means "Pikuni". The chief goes away (went away),
The chief's horse went away.
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Nouns Other Words
auAZIMOIHKA = to pray nato-,
ihkizika = seven
AKOMITAKI = to love
holy, spirit(ual)
ihkizikam (an.)
APISTO(TAKI) = to create,
natosi = sun, holy one "'"
ihkizikai (in.)
make, fix, arrange
OTAKO (auTAKO) = to turn,
go around
Apistotoki = God
kisum = sun, moon
kakatosi star
ahs(i) = good
sotam-, s'tarn
now, soon
= to feel good about,
to, like to
= square as-, aso = trying
AHSI = to be good
APATO = to go behind, be
OXKASI to run
pita-w =
cat (wild)
spohzi = up, above,
in the sky
isohzi ahead, in
to write, draw
(an.), OTAKI (in.)
(m)otaki (in.) =
= my shadow,
apatahzi = behind,
in the North
is round, a circle, zero otaki his/hers. otak round,
nitakaw my friend circular
The suffix -AKI, -AKI: This suffix can be attached to various words for
the sake of emphasis: e.g. ! = hey partner! It often appears
~ . ; ; . . . . ; ; : ; ; ~ =
on the intransitive forms of verbs: e.g. APIXISTAKI, APISTOTAKI, AKOMITAKI.
How To Talk About the Past: The verb forms we already know are timeless
and may refer to the present or the past. But if we wish to clarify or
emphasize the past action, we simply switch the -T- of nit-, kit- to a
-K-: nik-, kik-, and in 3rd and 4th persons we ak- or ik-: e.g.
nikUrI (or nikUI), nikOTO (nikAUTO), akOTOw(akAUTOw), ikitAPOw. To add
more stress, we can use a reduplication: nikauk-, kikauk-, akauk-: nikaukUI,
How To Talk About the Future: This is even easier. Just prefix AK (ix-)
right in front of the verb root. This gives the meanings "shall, will,
going to, about to, intend to, want to" e.g. akSOTAw, nitakOTO, nitakit
OTO, nitakUYI (nitaxUYI).
Combining Verb Roots in the Same Manner: We often use two verbs together.
one dependent upon the other. Let's take some examples:
To say "can, be able to" we combine the two roots AK- and -OT- (from OTO?)
producing a new prefix AKOT- (AKOZ-): nitakozaiPUYI (nitakotaiPUYI). To
say "wish, want to, feel like, like toll we use the verb aiAHSI (aiAHS')
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~ t h some other verb root: nitaiAHS-UYI. kitaiAHS-SIM'. nitaiAHS-APOhpinan.
To say "go to do
use OTO in the same manner (though it may be cut
down to OT-) : nitak-OTO-aiSUMOS'.
To say "try to". combine AS- with AK- to form ASAK-: nitasakSAM'.
Sometimes AS- is used by itself with the same meaning: asANIT!
To say "must. have to". couple AK-with -S'TAM to get a more urgent form:
nitaks' tamitAPO.
Exercises: bmi nitakitoto. Nitakitotohpinan. Nizikitapo .. Akitapow.
Asohkokit! Sapit! Awakasix ihzikamiaw. Za kitauanihpa: Nimatakot
ihpa. Oma awakasi auzimotaw. Omi kitaiahsitapohpa? Oma napiwa
akazlmoihkaw. asakazimoihkaw. akotazimoihkaw, aiahsazimoihkaw, aks'tamazi
moihkaw. Za kitaiahsuthpa? Nimataiahsuihpa . Nikaiok'.
That star is not round. There are seven elk over there. Do you feel
like eating (something)? Where are you going? Where did you go? Where
will you go? You can pray; you try to pray; you will pray; you did pray;
you must pray.
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aiSAKO =: to hail
moyis = house,
". ".
". lodge (in.)
NIPUYI, aiPUYAw =: to rise,
moyisz (pI.)
up, stand up
ponokaumitaw horse
NINIHKI- =: to
anisin = word, meaning
MAKITA(KI) = to load, pack,
saddle nitoyis = tipi
(real lodge)
MAHKIZI- = to get to bed
isokinaki = doctor
MANISTAP- = to be of some sort
(a specifier)
NATOSIw(an.), NATOYlw (in.)
= to be holy, spiritual
aiSKO to go back
Other Words
naniso = eight
nanisufmi (an.)
nanisui (in.)
amiskapohzi south, in the south
omahk- = ,great
(k)inok- small, little
za anistap(i) = what is it? What do you want?
za kanistapaupfhpa = How
za anistap-anisin = what does (it) mean?
anistap-anisin = it means
INITIAL M-, ~ - and ~ - : When these sounds are initial to a root they often
are dropped to make room for a prefix. This happens to verbs, nouns,
adjectival particles, but more often with M- and N- than with P-. When
they are dropped, we get the combining form of the root and frequently
the vowel that follows them is weakened. Examples: mistaki turns into
the combining form napi- becomes a p ~ - (an ancient root for
"white!!), moyis becomes -oyis as in nitoyis (tipi or !!real lodge"), nato
(the basic root for "holy") becomes -ato-, becomes the combining
form -inok-, and so of course natosi becomes -atosi (as in kakatosi,
"just a sun or holy one"). But the P- ofpita-w is not dropped (maybe
it l S a relic of "white"). As examples of verbs, let's take the
following: ITOMO is a shortened form of MATOMO, and NINIHKI becomes
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-INIHKI-. Here is the sample conjugation of MAKITA- :
1- nitaiAKIT' nitaiAKITAhpinan
2- kitaiAKIT' kitaiAKITAhpuwaw
3- aiAKlTAw aiAKITAiaw
4- aiAKlTAinai
But notice that the M- reappears on the command: Makltat!.
Here is the conjugation of MAHK'ZI (MAHKIZI) (cf. IHZI, Lesson ):
1- nita:tAHKIZ ' nitaiAHKIZIhpinan
2- kitaiAHKIZ' kitaiAHKIZIhpuwaw
3- aiAHKIZIw' aiAHKIZIiaw
4- aiAHKIZIlnai
Now let's conjugate napikoan to make a verb out of it: "to be a
white man" (remember that the -T- of the prefix becomes -Z-, for
reasons unknown!):
1- nizAPIKOAN' niz4PIKOANIhpinan
2- kizAPIKOAN' kizAPIKOANIhpuwaw
But the verb NIPUYI presents some peculiarities and has to be
memorized separately. It derives from the root NIPU- (rising, standing).
When the N- is suppressed and the prefix AI- replaces it, this verb
becomes practically indistinguishable from aiPUYI (to speak). Perhaps
for that reason, the Y interchanges with Wand we get a new conjugation
that is now the more common one, meaning "to stand, to stand up, stop,
rise, get up":
1 nitaiPu\-JAU nitaiPUHAUhpinan
2 kitaJPUWAU kitai;PUWAUhpuwaw
3 aiPUWAUw aiPUWAUiaw
4 a i;pUWAuInai
But the command forms are
.. ..
nipuyit, in.tensified to nipupuyit and
alternating with nipuwaut!
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But notice that the M- reappears on the command: Makitat!.
Here is the conjugation of MAHK'ZI (MAHKIZI) (cf. IHZI, Lesson ):
" "
1- nitATOS' nitATOSIhpinan
2- kitATOS' kitATOSIhpuwaw
" '"
"" '"
4- NATOSIinai
The inanimate forms will be in the next lesson.
Exercises: Explain: Omahkastosi; nitoyis; nizitapi; isokinaki.
Conjugate all the verbs in this lesson.
Alternates for the question "i.Jhat does (it) mean" are Za aniwaz
11 tI ~ -: h d h h
and for the reply It means ,auanlwa. Using t ese an t e ot er
expressions composed of MANISTAP-, hold a question-answer conversation
about the meaning of Blackfeet terms.
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Nouns Other Words
auAWAHKA = to walk akaitapisko = town pihxo = nine
02IS1 = to smoke mazitapisko nobody pihxi (an.)
PIHXliaw(an.), PIHXOiaw ohkotoki = stone, rock pihxoi (in.)
(in.) there are nine
istoan = knife (an.) nistowa I, me
OMA = to marry (a husband)
sinaxin a writing kistowa you
ohKlMA = to marry (a wife) -"
spiksinaxin book ustoi he, she
aiPIKIAKI to mash, grind
aiskatopi = corn spik- thick
aiSIKSOPU to blow a
kOpi = soup, coffee mazoap- = beautiful,
handsome, fine
ixisako = meat (in.)
mazi- = beautiful,
noma = my husband
omi = her husband
namisz, nam- east
nitohk{man = my wife
nimisz, nim- west
otohk{man = his wife
mat- = again, also,
mostum(i) = body. self too
Construct Case: This paragraph could have just as well been labeled
"Obviative Case" or "Nouns in the 4th Person". A noun in the fourth
person replaces the suffix -W or -WA or -A by an -I. Some nouns,
however, do not distinguish 4th person from 3rd person. The 4th person
often serves as the combining form of a noun (e.g. imitai-koan = puppy)
and even as the verbal root of a noun conjugated in the 1st and 2nd
persons (e.g. niPITAI or niziPITAI 'm an eagle
, used in an old song).
(Note that 3rd person for "he's an eagle" is simply PITAw.) The personal
pronouns are based on the word or "someone's body", so that the
pronoun for "I, me" can really be considered a noun meaning "my body,
self", nistowa, while kisto,va similarly means "Your body, self". But
ustoi or "his/her body, self" must carry the U- prefix for 3rd person and
the -I suffix for the "body" as 4th person.
This "construct case" is also called non-particular, unindexed and
$ubordinate. Note that final -N or -S are usually dropped before adding
it, that the -I is used for both animate and inanimate, and that singular
and plural have the same form. It can be used as the object of ordinarily
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intransitive verbs, e.g. pokai, istoai, owai, ponokai, sinopai, pitai,
6hk:Li, otakai.
Declension of Nouns: Nouns have some or all of the following cases,
though only a few of them have all four cases. The basic case is
called "unindexed" for lack of a better name. Only a few nouns have
the 4th case or Vocative (e.g. = partner). It is only the singular
that these cases are distinguished, so the plural of them all is the
same. We shall take nina as an example, the plural of which is
in all four instances:
Unindexed: NINA
3rd Person: NfNAw
4th Person: NfNAi
Vocative: NINA
Examples of the Construct Case or 4th Person nouns: akii. akikoani.
otohkiman(i), nietahtai, nizINAI I am a man (initial N- dropped).
ions are often omitted, but adverbs in -OHZI (-OHZIM, -OHZ')
function as either prepositions or postpositions, that is, they may
follow or precede the noun at the speaker's option. Itapotakiw
~ _______ moyisi = he is working behind the house; ~ ? y { s i is 4th person,
of course, since the "he" (understood, not expressed) is the 3rd person.
But, Nizitupi moyis pist6hzi I am sitting in the house. (Can you
explain why moyis is only 3rd person here?). A few more samples:
{sohzi notas nietahtai aistohzi moy{s(i) aistohzi.
Nimatapohpa (add "anywhere" in the translation). Rikutaiitsapihpa
matapi (translate this last word as "anybodyll). Kitaisapihpa matapi?
Behind the tipi; in front of the I am in front of my horse. You
are in front of your horse. He is behind his horse. He is in front
of his house. They are living near the river.
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Nouns Other Words
KIPliaw (an.), KIPOiaw omahk{na old man k{po = ten
(in.) = there are ten. akoxkina chief k{pi (an.),
aiIPI = to enter kyaiyo = bear kipoi (in.)
aiKOPU = to fear, be afraid apohkyaiyo = grizzly mahk-, mahx- = red
AUZI (AZI) = to swim, bathe owa = egg, eggs otahkui- = yellow
SIXINA = to be black uniki = milk otahkuinazi an
MAHXINA = to be red s{nopa = (kit) fox
ozkui- = blue, green
OTAHKUINA = to be yellow pikiazis stone ax
kumonui- blue,
OZKUINA = to be blue, green pikiaxin mush
KUMONUINA = to be blue, purple isz{ = fire, coals
anat-, anatap- =
MAZIINA to be handsome omahx1kimi = lake pretty
ANAZINA to be pretty
ZANISZINA = what color is it?
Verbs With the Suffix -M: A few verbs use -M instead of -W or -WA in the
3rd and 4th persons, usually with reference to an animate subject. Color
verbs, as we shall soon see, do this consistently, and a few others that
follow this pattern are given in this and the next lesson: e.g. "to enter":
nitaiIPI but aiIPlm, aiIPIMiaw, aiIPlminai; "to fear": nitaiKOP' budiiKOPUm,
aiKOPUmiaw, aiKOPUmfnai; "to swim": niti\UZ' but AUZlm, 'i\UZlmiaw, AUZlminai
(the initial au- has evidently become absorbed into the root AZI to form
AUZI.) All such verbs are intransitive. The command forms for the three
just given are slightly irregular: Kbput!. pift! az{t!
Color Verbs and Their Type: Many of the verbs of this kind are listed
in the vocabulary for this lesson. Notice that their stems all end in
-NA (the A is short). The 3rd and 4th persons follow the rules given in
the paragraph above, with -M for animate subjects: e.g. nitSIXINA but SIXINAm
SIXINAmiaw, SIXINAminai. These verbs may be translated "It looks black
etc." Color verbs, however, and their type also have one inanimate form
for the third person singular, which terminates in -ZI + -W: e.g .
SIXINAziw. You may have noticed that numeral verbs have an -M in their
animate forms and so follow a similar pattern. We'll review them in the
next lesson.
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Plural Imperatives: We have learned to make the singular imperative
by adding -T to the verb root. To make the plural, used for addressing
more person than one, you put a -K in place of the -T. e.g. anik!,
nipupuyik!, sinakit! The plural imperatives for the verbs of this lesson
with slight eccentricities are these: kapuk!, piik!, azik!
Exercises: Conjugate all the new verbs of this lesson (remembering that
MAHXINA often uses the prefix au- without dropping the initial M-).
Count several dishes and both ask and reply about their colors.
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Verbs Nouns Other Words
NIZINA = to resemble, look xiszikum = thunder nizi- one
-xoko = friend, relative, -koputo = suffix
lKANA = to shine (ik- + ANA) for numerals
kinsman; nixoko = my f. &c. ,
within a decad
MOXINA = to be mean
oxokoi = his/her f. &c. ;
xasximok- = green
(ai)PUINA to suffer
nixokoai (obv.) , nixokowa
nitowa (a.),
XASXIMOKA to be green (voc. )
(as grass)
nitui (in.)= same
xasximoko = grass (new)
XIXINA = to be white nist-, nistok
mokakin pemmican
iiXISZIK6 = it is
xisziko (in.) = day, light
xik- = white
ANA = to be clear, bright;
koko (in.) = night, chocolate
(eni) = like
ANAm (an.), aiANANAZlw (in.)
kokumik1sum = moon as
aiKOKO = it is night.
Review of Numerals: Partly to review and partly to pickup more infor
mation, here is a survey of the numerals with their animate and inanimate
and verbals forms. We have to remember that the number One will have only
singular forms and all the rest of the numbers will have only plurals.
The animate forms end in vowels (-A for number One, -I for the others),
but usually these final vowels are suppressed and so are represented here .
by the apostrophe:
Counting Animate ]inanimate Combining
Form Adjective Verb Adjective Verb Form
1. [nitoxka nitoxkam' nit6xkam' nitoxkai n1toxkaw nit- nizi
"(alternates: 'toxka, nisia)
2. nitoka nitokam' nitokamiaw nito.kai

3. niuoxka niuoxkam' niuoxkamiaw niuoxkai niuoxkaiaw niuox-,ni
4. niso fnisuim' {nisu{miaw nisoi nisoiaw nisi-,nis
lnisoyim' nisoybm."taw
5. nisito {nisiz{ jhisiziiaw nisitoi nisitoiaw }llisit-,
Lnisitoyim1visitoyimiaw lnisizi
6. naw nai' naiiaw niw' nawiaw nai-,naw
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7. ihkiz{ka ihkiz{kam' ihkiz{kamiaw ihkiz{kai ihkizikaiiaw ihkizik
nanl-SO nanisolm' nanisolmiaw nanisoiaw nanisi
nanisoy{m' nanisoy{miaw nanisoyi nanisoyoiaw
9. p{hxo pihx{ pihx{iaw pihxoi pihxoiaw pihx{-,pihx
10. k{po k{pi kip:!iaw kipoi kipoiaw kip
-M Stem Verbs: The new verbs of this lesson, NIZINA, MOXINA and aiPUINA
are M-stems and so conjugated like aiKOPU and So too are ANA,
ikANA, XASXIMOKA, XiXINA, which are like the other color verbs and include
the 3rd person singular form for the inanimate: XASXIMOKAZIw and
Count ten dogs, ten eggs, ten birds, ten small birds, ten persons,
ten white men, ten Piegans, ten Indians etc.
Conjugate all the new verbs and make them into sentences using numerals
with their subjects.
Read: Oki, nixoko! P{it! Ahsikoko!
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Verbs Nouns Other Words
AKAIYIMiaw (an.), AKAUQ manikapi = young anat":', ana21-. :=; few,
(in.) = they are many, much man (unmarried) little (in amount)
ANATOHSIMlaw (a.), UNATOH- potazis (an.) = stove anauk- half ,
Siaw (in.) = they are few. fraction
potani (in.) =
ANAUKlw = there is half. (camp) fire ahsap- = kind,
aiPOTA to make a fire apinako = morning
makap-, mak- = bad
MANISlw'(an.), MANlw (in.) matapinakoi = the
itamap-, itami- =
to be new, young next morning
IK6MSlw (an.), IKOMlw (in.)
ximat- = happy
= is round
kom- = round
aiPAPIS (nitaiPAPIS, aiPA
PISAm) = to yell, shout'
ectives: Adjectives occur both as combining forms (always prefixes)
and as independent. The present no problem, and we have already
encountered a few of them: e.g. sixi- as in S!xi-Plta and napi- as
in napikoan. The independent forms may also be used as nouns or verbs
and should agree in gender, number and even person with the noun they
refer to. Most of the independent forms terminate in -API and have com
bining forms that end in -AP-. Thus, s o k a p ~ , which can stand alone as
adjective or adverb, meaning "good, fine, OK", or as a noun meaning Ita
good thing". Or it can be conjugated as a verb, either animate or
inanimate. To make it animate. we have to insert an -S- after the -AP-:
1. nitSOKAPS' nitSOKAPSIhpinan
2. kit SOKAPS, kitSOKAPSlhpuwaw
The inanimate forms, of course, can occur only in 3rd and 4th persons:
4 SOKAPI1nai
The animate -S- is not used for the prefix. Thus:
and its negative, mat-sokap-apikoan (a favorite expression!).
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Now, let's go back to NAT6sI, which as a noun is usually translated
as "sun" but which we can now see from the animate infix -S- primarily
must mean "holy one" or "holy person". We shall conjugate it as a verb
"to be holy":
1. nitATOS' nitATOSIhpinan
2. kitATOS' kitATOSIhpuwaw
3. NATdsIw NATdSIiaw
4. NATdSIinai
And the inanimate forms for 3rd and 4th persons:
3 NATOyfwa (or _WI) NATOYtiaw
4 NATOYI!nai
Here are a few more adjectives used also as adjective-verbs:
AHS- combining form; AHSSIw' an. verb; AHSIw' in. verb; AHSSix an. .,
AHSIsz in. pl.; nitAHSSI = U am good. MANI- combining form; MANISIw
an. verb; MANtw in. verb. Za ANISTAPSIwaz?
Uhlenbeck distinguishes traditional from modern usage: ahsisz
koisz (good meats); ponokawmitaix ahsix (good horses--note the reversed
order); n!naw sokapsiw' (the man is good); sokaps(i) n!naw (a good man);
sokapinaw (a good man). In the last two examples; the final one
is definitely the more traditional form, whereas the first one seems to
be a modern anlicization. The use of independent adjectives, unless they
are adjective-verbs, seems modern and more frequent among younger people.
Exercises: Conjugate all the new verbs and adjective verbs of this lesson.
Read: Oki, nitaka. Ahs-apinako.
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Verbs Nouns Other Words
AMAUPI = to be quiet, be aplnako = morning nitohzi on the right-
have well, be silent
ahkuiinima = pipe nawohzi on the left
IZINlKA = to relate,
sahklna = married man akap- = often
tell (stories), narrate
stamik = bull, steer pinap-, pinapohzi
auYOSI = to cook
downstream, east
skim, skini = cow, mare
AN!TAKI = to hurry
kanai-, kanau- = all
napim = male (pl.
AWAUPI = to swing
naplmix) aplnakosi = tomolrrow
NIZITAPI = to be alone
naplnyuan = sugar matoni = yesterday
KOKUT6 = to freeze (of
inaplnyuan = candy nohk- = please!
water etc.) (aiKOKUTO)
("long sugar")
IN!PIZI = to freeze (of
kokuito = ice, glacier
people and animals
Pointers on NIZITAPI: This word can be either a noun or a verb: "a lone
person" or "to be alone". Obviously it is compounded of NIT- + MATAPI.
To conjugate it, you do not have to drop the initial N-, but instead you
can say: niNtZITAPI = I am alone, I am one person. If you do drop the
initial N-, you will get the forms niztZITAPI, kiztZITAPI etc., which are
also acceptable but present a confusion with nizIZ1TAPI I am an Indian,
derived from nizltapi = real person. The confusion can be avoided by
adding -KOAN or -AKI to the noun to get nizltapikoan or nizltapiaki, and
its verbal forms. Another way to avoid the confusion would be to use
nistowa and the appropriate form of the noun without any verbal form.
Gender in Animals: In terms for animals (hoofed animals at least), -STKMIK
is often suffixed to indicate the male and -SKIM or -SKINI to designate the
female. Both terms should be added onto the construct case: e.g. ponokai
stamik, ponokai-skim.
Negative Imperatives: to say "don' tit do this or that, you simply prefix
PIN- or MIN- to the positive imperative (and it is evidently optional
whether you use PIN- or MIN-): e.g. pinUYlt!, pinUPlk!, pinOTOt!, miniKOKlt! ~ I
Row_ To Say "Please": Prefix NORK,.- to the ordinary imperative form. Some
irregularities do occur, and occasionally OR- is inserted between N6RK- and
the verb stem: e. g. nohkAPOTAKIt!, n6hxIPlit! (please come in), n6hkitUPIt!
nohkohK6KIt! (please give it to me), mini6kat! pini6kat!
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KANA1- KANAU- and Its Type: The adjectival prefix KAN-, "all, every",
usually adds either -AI or -iu to itself. Thus we get kanai-in!w = all
the buffalo; all the people; kanai-apikoaix = all the white
men; kanai-izitapi all the Indians; kanau-akiix = all the women; kanau
otasix; etc. KAN- can even be incorporated into compound
verbs; ai-kan-istAPOiaw they all went away. There is no rule known as
to when KAN- uses AI and when it uses AU, but AU does occur before an 0,
whereas AI is more A few other adjective-prefixes follow this
pattern: AK (AKAI-, AKAU-), NIT- (NITAI-, NITAU-: e.g. akaitapi (crowd,
throng), akaitapisko, (lone chief or lone man). KAN- often takes
the prefix OH-.
Exercises: Give the positive, , singular and plural imperatives
of all the verbs of this lesson. Then give the forms with "please".
Then do the same with UIY, UPI, OTO, SAPI, KOKI, APOTAKI, NIPUYI, aiPUYI,
Name the four world directions.
Conjugate "to be Indian" and "to be alone". What alternative expressions
can you use to avoid confusion?
Collectives: Collective nouns are often formed by the suffix -SKO: e.g.
akaitapisko (town), konsko, misz1sko (timber), ohkot6ksko (rocky place).
Others, usually referring to people or animals, are formed by prefixing
OT- etc. and suffixing -SINA, -SIN: e.g. otapisina (all the people),
otaxisina (all the women), opokasina (all the children), unnasina (all
the men-- U- = 3rd person as does OT-), onokasina the
onokamitasina (all the horses), 6tomitasina (all the dogs).
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Verbs Nouns Other Words
OMATO (auMATO) to begin, nistunan we, us kistap- (xistap-)
start (exl.), -nani(obv.) ready, finished
aiSIKO to stop, quit xistunan = we, us zaniszi when? (in past'
OHKOT can, be able
zaniszis when?(iri futur_
SIKUPI to rest
xistoaw = you (pl.)
(m)i = hard, strong
sikepit! stop!
ostoawai = they, them
miskap strong, muscula
aiKISTAPSI = to be ready
-atuyi = tail
siszik tired (of)
(M)IIw = is hard, strong,
awatuyi = deer
tough(in. ) aisikotuyi = mule deer
More Verb Combinations: This note is a continuation of Lesson VII.
Please refer back to that lesson for review. Here are more examples
of verbal stems that can be incorporated with the principal verbal stem
to make compound verbs:
-OHKOT- (IHKOT-) = can, be able. Very like AKOT-, but notice the common
prefix OH (IH) in front of K-: e.g. nitohkotOHKlMA: ihkotAUZlm; nitohkozOK'.
SISZIK- = to be tired (of): e.g. akaisiszixINIHKlw (he has already got
tired of singing).
SIKO, SIK- = to stop, quit: aisikAPOXKASlw (he quits running about);
OMATO, OMATAP-, auMATO = to begin, start: omatapOXKASlw; nitomatapAZ'.
KISTAP- = to finish: aikistapOXKASlw.
There are a good many other similar combinations, but from now on you
should be able to discover them for yourself. Notice, for instance, the
use of APO (AP-) meaning "around, about", with OXKASI: AP-OXKAAI. It may
be that APOTAKI is a combination of AP+OTAKI or AP+OT+AKI. So what about
APATO? And observe the root AWA which refers to a swaying or rythmical
motion. We have several words based on it. Can you name them? It may
even turn out that the common verbal prefix AU derives from this source
suggesting some sort of reversible motion. See SIKO (SIK-) in aisikotuyi
and in SIKUPI. Now take it from there on your own.....
POINTERS ON KISTAP-: This word can easily be used as an animate verb or
adjective-verb "to be ready": In an as sibilated form (that is,
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K as sibilated to X producing XIST- or XISTAP-, it may also be used to
indicate a past tense, often preced by AKAI- and perhaps also by IT-
or IZ-, "then, there". All three of these prefixes may occur separately
or together in past "tenses": e.g. iz-akai-xistap-aUYlw = he had already
finished eating. But in the present elementary introduction to the
Blackfeet language we shall not try to develop such complicated forms,
recalling rather that it is useful to the student to realize that they
do occur.
Exercises: Using nitAUZ' as a starter, supply the 1st person singular
forms for these variations:
CAN swim AM TIRED of swimming
SHALL swim FEEL LIKE swimming
SHALL BE ABLE to swim DO NOT WANT to swim
CANNOT swim HAVE to swim
TRY to swim HAVE to swim?
START to swim HAVE TO TRY to swim?
STOP swimming HAVE TO QUIT swimming?
Now do the same for 3rd person plural.
Conjugate the future and past of SIKUPI, APO.
Translate: Are you ready? Are you ready already? When will they be
ready? handsome young mam:good-looking woman; handsome person (or people);
pretty girl.
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INfpIZI = to feel cold
aistuYl = ice cream
(i)STuyr = to be cold (of
(i)stuniki = milkshake
weather & things), be winter
aixini = pig
aiSTUYISI = to be ashamed
aixinyosaki = bacon
XISTUSI to feel hot, warm
kinl = rose, tomato
XISTUYI to be hot (of
miszls = tree, log
weather & things)
(if an.); stick,
aiXlMAZfTAKI = to be glad, wood (if in.);
pleased (with, rejoice, an. pI. misZlx,
greet, thank in.pI. miszlsz
XINI = to grunt
sixi-, xi- = tree, wood
(M)IIK6w = it is hard, strong,
Other Words
(i)stuyi-, stu- = cold
xisto- (kristo-) = hot
itami-, itamap happy
itami-xisziko-w (it's) good weather.
makapi-xisziko-w = (it's) bad weather.
zanizlwa xisziko? = how's the weather?
Using Intransitive Stems Transitively: Luckily for us, we do not have to
wait until we get to the transitive verb stems in order to use objects
with verbs, though in fact that would be the normal thing to do. But it
is acceptable, sometimes, to use and intransitive verb with a noun object
expressed. This is often done with common verbs, like SAPI, SAMI, UYI,
SIMI: nitaiahsuyi lxisako; kitaiahs-sim' uniki; kitsapihpa matapi?
aisamiaw inl. Notice that in the last instance and whenever you use
a third person verb, the noun object will become fourth person.
Gender in Special Adjective Verbs: Some adjective-verbs have special forms,
not only for animate and inanimate, but also for persons, animals and
inanimate trees. The words for "to be big", "to be small", "to be hot",
"to be cold" all belong to this class. Here are the third person forms:
OMAHKSIm to be big, old of persons
OMAHKIMIw of animals
6MAHXIXIm of animate trees
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d'MAHXIXlw of inanimate trees
6MAHKO of inanimate things
INfxZlm to be small of persons
INlKIMlw of animals
INA'XIXlm of animate trees
INAxIXlw of inanimate trees
INlKOHZlw of inanimate things
Note the use of -XIXI- for trees (probably from the root SIXI or XI)
and the suffixing of -M for living things. In the adjective-verbs for
"hot" and "cold" there is a little difference:
STUSlm and STUSlw to be cold of animates
STUYlw of inanimates
sTuknnw of liquids (inanimate)
XISTUSlm and XISTUSlw to be hot. warm of animates
'" of inanimates XTSTUYlw
XISTUKd'Mlw of liquids (inanimate)
Note the use of SIm for persons and -KIM I (-KOMI) for liquids.
Exercises: Conjugate all the verbs of this being careful to
note those that are impersonal (have only third persons).
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LESSON XVI (Naikoputo)
ANAUKOw = it's a half. otakohsin =hour pok- = small
ANAUKATUm = it's half past ihtaixiszikumopi sahxz- light (not
(the hour) clock, watch heavy)
POKIMIw = is small (of ani aisaixisto = show, sahk- = short
mals); POKISIw = is small movie, theater,
spi- = high, tall
(of animate things) television
tazik- middle, in
(i)SOKSIm (of persons); (i) -stoki = ear
the middle
SOKIMIw (of animals); (i)
nohtokis = my ear
SOKOw (in.) = is heavy skohzi = back, behind
-ihkini = head, horn, (time)
(an.)SAHXZlw (SAH
top, hair (an.)
KOZfw) = is light (not za anistapaup1waz? =
heavy). stukimi cold water How is ... (3rd per

auZISKATOw it's half-past xistokomi = hot water
ino- (inoi-) = long
(the hour)
Time: Time (by the clock) is indicated by using the verb itOTOw

in 3rd person singular; thus, Za-itotowaz? = What time is it? Or for
variety, you may say Za-itotowazix? and you may add ihtai xiszikumiopi.
In reply, simply use the inanimate form of the appropriate numeral (which
will also be its obviate or 4th person form), and then, if you wish, you
may repeat the verb in either the present (itotow) or the past (akaiitotow).
Thus, for example, Natokai itotow. To indicate the half hour or just that

the hour is well substitute the verb ANAUKATUm for itOTOw. More
precise indications of time are not normally used. There are, however,
words for the major fractions of an hour anaukotakohsin (half hour);
inakanaukotakohsin (quarter of an hour). E.g. nitoxkai auziskatow.
More Adjective-Verbs: Several new adjective-verbs appear in this vocabulary.
The verb meaning high, tall" seems too involved for the vocabulary list
so is given here: SPITAw (of persons); SPIMIw (of animals); SPIXfm (of
animate trees); SPIXlw (of inanimate trees); SPlw (inanimate generally).
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SAHKIMIw is short (of animals); SAHXIXIM (for animate trees and wooden
objects); SAHXIXIw (of inanimate trees and wooden objects); SAHXIw (of
animate generally); and SAHKlw (of inanimate generally).
INOIMIw (INOYIMIw) = is long (of animals); INOXIM (of animate trees and
wooden objects); INOXlw (of inanimate trees and wooden objects); INOSIm
(of animate generally); and INOYlw (of inanimate generally).
Cheer up! There's not much more to come.
Exercises: Translate: What time is it? It's four- thirty (2 ways).
The day is long, the night is short. The day is short, the night is
long. The stick is short. The tree is tall. The mountain is high.
See the high mountain! The trees are tall. The mountains are high.
It's seven o'clock. The shadows are short at twelve o'clock. LongKnife.
They are Long Knives.
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ONISTAw is holy, spiritual onistan = a spirit onista- = holy,

IZZIw there is, are (i)stuim(i) (stuwimi

& stuYlmi) (an.)
lKAPI to be funny
winter, year iksap- = funny
STUyfMI = to pass the winter
nipa = summer nipusi & !1ipusi
NIPUMI = to pass the summer in the summer+
mota (in.) spring
aiPUw it is summer. motusi & autusi
moka (in.) autumn
in the spring +
auTOw it is spring.
-oh-xisi- = nose, beak
mokusi & aukusi
auKOw it is autumn.
nohxisls = my nose in the autumn +
mazIZZfhp(a) = there isn't any;
aikatosi spirit, God (i)stuYls(i) in
all gone.
slkimi-w black horse the winter +
xikihklni = bald eagle stuim- (an.), stuyi
(in.) = winter adj
za aniszi-stuyimiw =_
how old is he/she?
Notes on the Vocabulary: The forms marked + are really subjunctives: e.g.
"when it is summer", etc.
The verb NIPUMI drops initial N-, thus: nitaiIPUMI or niziPUMI. The verb
STuyfMI, which is used to count age, is conjugated nltSTUyfMI etc.
What would this mean? Za kitaniszi-stulmihpa?
Notice that to say "It is winter", you use the verb "to be cold" (i) STUYlw.
New Names forAnimals: From the roots given in this lesson you can form a
number of animal names: omahkstoki = mule; inohxisi = elephant; omahkatayo
= mountain lion, puma, cougar, tiger; nlpumaki = chicadee (summerlady);
mQtolsiszi = junco (spring bird), miomita (tough horse or dog); mexikazl-w
= duck (red or pink feet); lmahkihklna-w = sheep, goat, bighorn (IMAHK = OMAHK)
= mountain goat.
Saying "old": To say "is old" (3rd person), use dMAHKSlm (c5MAHXlm) for

persons; akaiapiw (of male human and of animals but not of women). This
latter form derives from "already" and NAPI. For either animate and
inanimate things, except animals, you may use akaislw.
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To ~ ~ ___ Age in Years: Here are the 3rd person singular forms of the
verbs expressing age from one to seventeen: (1) aiitSTUyfMlw, (2) ai
stokiSTUyfMlw, (3) aioxkaSTUyfMlw, (4) aisoSTUyfMlw, (5) aisitoSTuyfMlw,
(6) auaiSTUyfMlw, (7) aukizlkiSTUYlMlw, (8) auanistoSTUYfMlw, (9) aipihxo
STUyfMlw, (10) aiipoSTUYfMlw, (11) aizikoputoSTUYfMIw, (12) aiszikoputo
aiikoputoSTUYfMlw, (13) aisekoputoSTUYfMlw, (14) aisizekoputoSTUYfMlw,
aiaikoputoSTUyfMlw, (17) aukizlkikoputoSTUyfMlw. This list looks pretty
scary, but if you have memorized the combining forms of the numerals and
remove the initial N-'s, you should not have too much trouble with them.
Exercises: Each student should ask another about his or her age, and
each in turn should reply. Since we know only the numbers up to seventeen,
fictional ages will fortunately be in order.
Conjugate the new verbs of this lesson in any possible or practical forms.
Analyze each of the verbal expression for expressing age in years and
extract from it the particle that stands for the number. Make a list of
these. Can we say these things in some other way?
Explain: Nitokan nitayikinaw (my guardian spirit speaks to me),
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aiSIXTAKI = to bite
omaiyauk = there hel
omakauk = here hel
she comes!
SAHPsrw (an.), SAHPIw
(in.) = to be weak
. to be 18 years old
isapiazis (in.) = mirror
itaisapiopi theater
nosazix my glasses
itauyopi = cafe
sopazis = chair
anakimazis (in.)
lamp, candle
pataki potato
saam(i) = medicine,
drup, war bonnet
amo (an. & in.) = this
oma (an.), omi (in.) =
unat- = few, little bit
itunazi less, minus
inakohzi = a little bit
anaukohzi = half, half
sahp- = weak
Nouns Formed from Verbs: We have already seen that the simple root of the
verb can be used as the noun agent. Other types of nouns can also be de
rived from verbs, as isshown in this vocabulary and in others: 1) Attach
-SIN or -SINI to the verb stem to produce both abstract and concrete nouns
like sinak-sin and pikiak-sin. (Note that the final -I was dropped from
both SINAKI and PIKIAKI. 2) If the verb stem ends in -W, the suffix is
simply -N or -NI, e.g. potani, ayikfnan. 3) Instrumental nouns can be
formed by suffixing -ZIS: potazis. pikfazis, or 4) by prefixing IHT- and
suffixing OPI (from -op of the 1st person plural inclusive): ihtaixiszikumiopi,
or 5) by prefixing IT- and suffixing -OPI to form place nouns: itaisapiopi.
These forms are not always regular--or have you noticed? Their plurals
are sometimes erratic so will have to looked up in the dictionary.
This and That; the Demonstratives: AMO (this, this one) is declined this way:
(no fixed accent) singular plural
3rd person an. AMO
4th person an. AMOI
OMA (that, that one, the) is declined (no fixed accent):
3rd person an. OMA
4th person an. OMI fMIXI
all in. OMI OMISZI
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Exercises: Can you guess the meaning of the following nouns derived from
verbs you already know?
okan(i), papokan(i) or papaukan(i) , isapiazis, potani,
potazis. Look up their plurals.
Conjugate the new verbs.
Translate: these boys, these horses, those dogs, those trees (an. & in.),
that man, that , this woman.
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aipihxikoputoSTUY:lMI to be apls = rope zanizlm(i) = how much?
19 years old
ipuahsin == word, lan zanizima (an.) ,z&niZe)\'L
sapit & sazit! = look! guage, speech (in.) = how many?
mlstAPOtot! == take (it) away! -ski == face zanizl-tapi(wa) == how
subtract many? (of people)
-apini eye(s)
mazit! = take it! ahsa = what?
makski == ugly
aiAPI == to see za kaniszlhpa? = how
namaw (an.) gun
are you?
== how far is it?
namai (in.) bow
zanizlwa(z) == how is i
-KdPUZIiaw (an.), -KdPUTOiaw
upsi (in.) == arrow
(in.) (verbal forms of -kopuzi (an.), -koputor
-koputo) nohpsi == my arrow, (in.) (forms of
ohpsl == his/her arrow
mam! = fish
Review of Numbers: This lesson will be devoted to a review of numbers,
which could become very confusing if not well memorized. First let's
count with a typical animate object, recalling that it is not necessary
to use plurals with numerals:
nitoxkam I pita
natokam pita
niuoxkam pita
nisoyim pita
naw pita
pihxim pita
kipuyim pita etc. (continue with nizikopuzi
Or you can use combining forms: nazi-pita two
Now let's count with a typical inanimate object:
nitoxkai ohkotok(i)
natokai ohkotok
niuoxkai ohkotok
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naw(!) Ohkotok
ihkiz!kai Ohkotok
nanisoi Ohkotok
pihxoi Ohkotok
kipoi Ohkotok (continue with nizikoputoi Ohkotok .... )
Now for the numeral verbs:
Mnimate Inanimate
nitoxkam nioxkaw
natokamiaw natokaiaw
niuoxkamiaw niu6xkaiaw
nisu!m:ilaw nis6iaw
nisiz!iaw nisitoiaw
naiiaw nawiaw
ihkiz!kamiaw ihkizfkaiiaw
naniso!milaw nanisoiaw
pihx!aw pihx6iaw
nizikopuziaw etc. etc.
Now for the verbs to count ages (and this time. instead of capitalizing
the verb stem. I shall capitalize the numerical components):
aiITstuYlmi aiZIKOPUTOstuY1mi
aiSTOKIstuyfmi aiSZIKOPUTOstuyfmi
aiOXKAstuyfmi aiIKOPUTOstuy1mi
aiSOstuyimi aiSIKOPUTOstuy1mi
aiSITOstuyimi aiSIZIKOPUTOstuy1mi
auAIstuyimi aiAIKOPUTOstuy1mi
auA:NISOstuyfmi auA:NIS1KOPUTOstuy!mi
aiPIHXOstuyfmi aiPIHX1KOPUTOstuy!mi
aiIPOstuyfmi l1iSZIPOstuy!mi
In the last column. it is yQ1Jr job to isolate the two parts of the
numerical component of the teens.
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Exercises: Tell the time around the clock for hours and
ages 1 to 19.
Count animate objects 1 to 19.
Count inanimate objects 1 to 19.
Conjugate the numeral verbs 1 to 19.
Do this simple arithmetic. using the examples as your guide:
. '"
2 + 2
== 4 natokai ki natokai n1.So.
S 2 3. nisito itunazi (or mistaputot) natokai niuoxkai.
3 + 4 = 7.
8 2 6.
10 7 = 3.
5 + 4 9.
5 + 1 6.
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aiKIPAN1sZI ::: to be in a hurry akoxkina = chief nazl.po, nl.zl.po :::
twenty; nazipi (an.:
aiSZIPOSTUY1MI to be twenty kipitaki = old woman
nazipoyi (in.);
years old
nlnihkasim (in.) = a iszipo, iszipi (an.:
NAZIPIiaw there (they) are 20. name; niZlnihkasim -iszipoyi (in.)
my name (combining forms)
UKI (aiUKIAKI) = to close. shut
ninihkiazis = musical ana that right therE
instrument. music that one. he, she
to open
box. phonograph;
ani, eni like, as
aiOHZnH = to hear. understand pl. -asisz
kyene (ki + eni) =
nlnihkisini music.
that's all. the
song; pI. -sisz
end (to finish a
ihtainihkiopi violin speech or story)
kizlm(i) = door. gate, ana = where?
(of house or tipi) (in.)
The ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ A N A : This is a demonstrative'that is often used as a
pronoun. Like AMO and OMA, it has no fixed accent, but in common speech
it often drops its initial A- to become simply INA. which can mean "he".
"she" and even "where?" Here is its declension:
singular plural
3rd person animate ANA. 'NA
4th person animate ANI. 'NI ANIXI
all inanimates ANI ANISZI
Relative Pronouns: An especially important function of ANA is its use to
form relative pronouns. meaning "who". "which". "that". To do this, s
add -HK to the singulars and -SK to the plurals.
singular plural
animate ANAHK (who, that) ANIXISK
inanimate ANIHK (which, that) ANISZISK
These forms can be verbalized by adding -AYE: anahkAYE. anixiskAYE. anihkAYE,
and anisziskAYE. ANIHKAYE also means "that's why, because".
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Congruence: These same relative suffixes (-HK ans -SK) are added to other
words in the relative "clause" or complex, but particularly to the verb:
anahk Pikanikoanahk (he) who (is) a Piegan; anahk omahkawahk = (he) who
is running. With a little practice, this custom should be easy enough
to pick up since it serves to bind the whole relative complex together.
Exercises: 'Na notas? 'Na kitohk!man? Omakauk ninawahk amiwahk. Anahk
nitohkitupihk aiistapoxkasiw. Anihk kitaisapihk spixinaxinihk
The books that I read are big (ones). Where are those books? That old
man is the chief. Where is the war-bonnet? Where are my glasses? I
can't see.
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(I)SZISO = to go
nin'na = my father
oma = all winter
in, go into town
nohkowa == my son, nohkoi
or the woods
(voc. ) (i)szisohzi == in the woods,
IKI == to whistle,
in town
nixlsta = my mother
blow (on a wind
instrument) nlsa = my elder brother
(aiIKI) niskuna = my younger brother
ikip-zis (in.) = whistle, flute
nislsa == my etc.
nlnista my elder sister, etc.
slk-isziso = moose
azoasko = forest (in.)
naahsa = my grandparent
moapspi my eye (an.)
Naahsinan(a) = the government ("our grandpa")
Kokona = little girl; pl. kokoax; voc. kokoa!
Count Within the Decades: To form the numerals between the decades, we
first name the number of the decade (in this case "twentyll nazipo), then
the number used for the IIteen
(in this case "eleven
or nizikoputo). Both
animate and inanimate forms exist for both, as we already know, and must
be used together according as the object enumerated is animate or inanimate;
e . g. 56 = nisizlpo naikoputo (neutral), nisizlpi mHkopuzi (an.),
nisiz:fpoyi naikoputoyi (in.).
Kinship Terms: Kinship is reckoned differently in different cultures. In
the Blackfeet system nixlsta means "my aunt
as well as "my mother"; niskun(a)
means "my younger brother, sister, cousin, nephew, niece but of a male speaker
only, and its plural is niskaix. Nislsa has all these same meanings but
refers back to a female speaker only, and its plural is nislsix. Nlsa has
only -S- for its root but may include a glottal stop (n1+sa) and means
"my elder brother, cousin, uncle, son-in-law" of a male speaker, and its
plural is nisix. Nlnista (commonly cut to nln'sta or n:fn+sta) means limy
elder sister, cousin, etc. of a female speaker. Its root is NIST and its
plural niniszix or nin'szix. And finally naahsa refers to a grandparent of
either sex or to a parent-in-law. None of these kinship terms is ever used
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without a personal possessive prefix and sometimes with a suffix as well.
It is important to realize that in Blackfeet, as in other American Indian
languages and world-views and in some also of eastern Asia, exists
apart from its relationships. (Quite unlike English!) This reminds us
also of "field theory" in modern subatomic physics and relativity. So the
"old ones" were not behind the times after all.
Possession: To indicate these relationships, we show "possession", as the
notion is rather sloppily called in English (can anyone "possess" or "own"
his relatives?) The basic rule of "possession" to remember is this: If
the possessor is 3rd person, the possessed is 4th. If the possessor is
4th person, the possessed is 5th. 1st and 2nd persons, of course, can
possess either of the others.
Pronominal Prefixes: Verbs Verbs and Nouns Nouns
1st person NIT- NI- NO- &N
2nd person KIT- KI- KO- &K
3rd person (OT-) 0- 0- &M- ("someone's
"for M-)
4th person OT- 0
OT- is rare in 3rd person. Otherwise we are already well acquainted with
the first column. The prefixes M- and MO- mean "someone's" or non-specified
relationship. This may have something to do with the dropping of initial
M- so frequent in Blackfeet. Perhaps we are dropping the unspecified
relationship in order to put another prefix in its place which will denote
a more specific relationship. Notice that the horizontal series for 2nd
person across the board is also used for 1st person inclusive. The
suffixes will appear in the next lesson.
Caution! You must notice that nouns possessed really involve two persons, an,
not the fictitious unilateral relations imagined in English. The two persons,
of course, are the owner and the thing owned. 1st or 2nd person may possess
3rd or 4th, but 3rd possesses 4th. Thus, nllin'na (root N'N or N+N) carries
NI- for the 1st person possessor, but the father himself must therefore be
3rd person which is shown by the ending -A. (On other words the 3rd person
ending would be -W, WA or -M.) But his/her father has to be on'ni, the 0
for the 3rd person possessor and the -I to make the father 4th person or
obviative. A vocative form for "fatherl! (Le. used in address) is nin 'nii.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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So we have altogether these singular forms: my father = n{n'na; your father
Ina; his/her father = un 'ni. My mother = nix{sta; your mother = kix{sua;
his/her mother ox{szi (T>2 before I). If all this seems complicated, that
is the price we must pay to have a language that is logical instead of
Exercises: Form the singular possessives of the kinship forms we now know.
Notice that none of them can ever stand alone. without any affix showing
relationship. Some other nouns are like that too. So give the singular
possessives of notas, nokos, moapspi, nohpsi.
The follmving diagram may prove helpful. Perhaps you can make up others
like it:
of a male SKAN
of a female SIS
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auTAKOw= it is evening. mam::l fish anohk(a)-xiszikoi = today
aiPAPUm = it's lightning. aohsin = berry soup kanai-xiszikoisx = every
day, daily
AMOZA (auMOZAKI) = to apani butterfly
conquer, defeat
ANISZI = to do, make, a Canadian
obey, mind
ap::ls rope
MIZIHTA = to think, endure
inan = possession,
(aiIZIHT(A)) thing
MIHKA to fish (auMIHTA) m::Cni (in.) = berry,
fruit; pI. m:!nisz.
NIZtw to be the same.
inaks::lni = raisin;
MINANI = to have, own,
possess (sik)6mahx:!ni = prune
Pronominal Suffixes: These occur only on nouns to show possession or
some similar relationship:
exclusive -NAN (-INAN,-INANA)
1st person
inclusive -NUN (-INUN,-INUNA)
2nd person -OWAW (-OWAWA)
3rd person -OWAWAI etc.
In addition to these, there is a common Algonquian suffix to indicate
alienable possession: -M or -MI. It is not often used on body parts
or kinship terms.
Sample Paradigms: "father" -N'N
my nfn'na our (exc1.) nfn'nan
our (incl.) k::Cn'nun
your kfn'na your (pI.) kin 'nmvaw
his/her un'ni their un'nowawai
"mother" XIST or KRIST (The vocative is ha+a)
nix!sta nixfstanan
kix::lsta kix:!stowaw
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The plural paradigm for "child" -KOS-, will demonstrate how the plural
suffix is attached after the possessive suffix. This the singular is
nokos, kokos, okos, nokosinan, kokosinun, kokosiwaw, The
Plural is:
kokosix kokosiwawaix
okosix okosiwawaix
The paradigm for "chief", NINA, illustrates the use of the alienable
possessive suffix -M, -1M:
.. ., ...
(excl. ) nlZlnalmlnan
(incl. ) kizlnaiminun
kizlnaim kizlnaimowaw
.. .
OZlnalm oznaimowawai
The paradigm for "old man", NAPI, is a bit peculiar:
(excl. ) ninapiminan
(incl. ) kinapiminun
kinapim kinapimowaw
onapim onapimowawai
More irregular is the paradigm for "aRROW", UPSI, because of the
insertion of OH-:
(excl. ) nohpsinan
(incl. ) kohpsinun
kohpsi kohpsowaw
ohpsi ohpsowawai
The plural of which will serve as an exemplar of plural animates:
(excl. ) nohpslnanisz
(incl. ) kohpsinunisz
kohpsisz kohpsowaisz
ohpsisz ohpsowawaisz
Some other peculiar forms are: APTS follows the pattern nitopim (my
rope) etc. KIPITAKI (old woman) becomes nipitam etc. (with the implica
tion of "my wife" etc.!) MISZIS becomes nizlszim (my stick) etc. AKI
possessed means "sister" and takes the pattern nfa kim etc., used by
males. MAMI follows the schema nitomlmetc. IMITA (of which the root
becomes OMITA when prefixes are attached) becomes nitomitam etc.
IxISAKO takes the forms nitoxisakom etc.
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An especially useful--and regular-- word is INAN. Coupled with the
possessive affixes it comes to mean "mine, yours, his" etc. Its singular
pardigm runs this way:
kizinan kizinanowaw
ozinan ozinanoaiaw
Its plural paradigm:
kizinanisz kizinanoawaisz
ozinanisz ozinanoawaisz
Examples: Kizinanaz? A, nizinan(aiye): Is it yours? Yes, it is mine.
Amo spixinaxin kizinan. A, nizinan niuoxkai splxinaxin. = This book is
yours. Yes, I have three books (or Three books are mine.) The nizinan
can come at the beginning or the end of the sentence. As your may have
noticed, INAN can be verbalized and so can be regarded as a noun or a
verb "to have, own, possess". Thus it becomes a part of the verb MINAUI
which loses its initial M- when a prefix is used, and also drops the final
-I if nothing follows. It is another example of an "intransitive" verb
used transitively: nizINAN' or nitaiINAN' etc.
Exercises: Conjugate the verb MINANI.
Translate: That horse is mine. No, it's not mine. Is it his? Does he
own that house? We have many horses. My father has many horses. They have
five dogs. How many arrows do you have?
Give the possessive paradigms singular and plural of NAMAAw, NAMAII,
Translate: Zanizi-tapi(waz) kisix? Nisix ihkizlkamiaw. Zanizf-tapi
kiskawawix? Niskunanix niuoxkamiaw. Taka otuniwaz? Taka otasaz? Here
is a group of old idioms recorded by Lanning at Fort Benton long ago.
(nizfw is the verbal form for nitowa, nitoi): Nizfw nitanisin; nizlw
otanlsin; nitoxkaw nizipoahsin; nitoxkaw ozfpoahsin; natokaw kizfpoahsin.
Za kizlnihkasim? Nizlnihkasim Sixi-Pita. Ahsaz? 'Na ninamaw. Nizlh
puahsin Sixikai-ipuahsin? Za (Ahsa) kitaiapihpa? Nimataiapihpa. Takaz?
Nimataiapihpinana matapi. Zaniz1m ihkizlka ki nis6? NizikDputo.
Zanizima kotasix? Naiiaw. Zanizltapi kin'sszix? PihxLaw. Zanizowa
kohpsisz? Nawiaw.
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OKOSI = to give birth pahtoki = pine (an.) as- = young, small
PUKA = to wake up ( ~ i - aSlzixim = aspen, cotton saki- still
PUKAKI) wood (a.)
plxini- skinny, thin, lean
ptXINI = to be lean, -slxlm (an.), -sixiw
istohk- = thin, skinny
skinny (aiPfXINI) (in.) = tree, stick
APOHSI = to be fat, slkoklni = birch (in.)
stout (auApdHSI)
slkokinisz (pl.)
ISTdHKSlw (an.), IS
oxipls = willow
TOHKfw (in.) = to
be thin, skinny asaitahta = creek
OPI = to have arrow(s) itun'niopi = agency, Browning
aiPlw = he has a. -oko- = lodge, home, tipi;
nokowa = my 1.; okoai = his/
her lodge
How to Identify Relationships: To claim kinship and identify intimate
possession is a simple process. The common way to say, for example, "Red
Eagle is my father", "She is my mother", "I am his father", "You are my
brother", etc. is to use the appropriate nouns and pronouns without any
copula: Mahxi-Pita nin'naw; oma nixlsta; nistowa un'ni; kistowa niskan'.
But the negatives of such expressions present more of a problem. "He is
not my father" must derive from a hypothetical positive for nitun'na and
so turns out to be "(oma) nimatun'naz." Can you pick out the element that
shows this to mean "He is not my father" rather than "I am not his father"?
Here are a few more illustrations:
kimatun'naz he is not your father.
nimatoxistaz she is not my mother (1<0)
kimatoxistaz she is not your mother.
kimatakawaz he is not your friend.
amo nimatohk this is not my bucket.
kin'naz is he your father?
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Possession: Verbalized Nouns: Though Blackfeet does have verbs for
"to be" and "to have", as we have seen, it often prefers to do without
them. Here is an example of this preference, used especially (but not
exclusively) with kinship terms: If you want to make up a sentence about
"to have (a certain relation)", take the 3rd person singular form of the
possessed kinship term and conjugate it as a verbal root. To illustrate,
we'll conjugate "to have a father". First we must find the 3rd person
possessed: I nin'na
2 kin'na
3 un'ni (So /3 is the form we find.)
1st person nitUN'NI nitlrn' Nlhpinan
2nd person kitUN'NI kitUN'Nlhpuwaw
3rd person(to 4th) UN'Nlw IJN'NIiaw
4th person)to 5th) IJN'Nlinai
You may have noticed that it is from this source that we get the term
for "agency", which really means "where we have our father". Ironically,
the Indian agent is called "our father": nln'nan or kln'nun.
Now you should be able to go through this process with some other word.
Let's try notas(i). Then see if you can do the same with nixlsta, nohkowa,
niskan(i), nokowa, nizlnihkasim, nizlnaim (my chief), ninapim (myoId man-
though the 3rd person is unapim) and nitapim (my animal, pet).
There are precautions to observe. Notice the difference between the
"I am a ...
and "I have A... ". E.g. "I have a son" must be notohkoi,
based on the stem OHKdI or OHKdYI, whereas the ordinary stem of this word
is OHKO. In OKOS (child) the initial 0- tends to combine with the
verbal prefix au- to give AUKOSlw (she has a child, she is pregnant).
To make it clear that the child has already been born, simply use the
past "tense": akaukosiw. To make it clear that the child is still unborn,
use the future: akosiw. OKO (lodge) is easily confused with OKOS, and in
fact in OKO too the initial 0- tends to become AU-. Thus "his lodge" is
okoai (3rd to 4th person), whereas "he has a lodge" is aukoyiw. The
common expression for asking where a person lives means "where do you have
your lodge, home?": zima kizl.tOKOYlhpa? Notice these other examples:
niz-ik-ak-otas = I have very many horses; kitakohkimi = you have lots of
wives; nitakoko we have lots of children; omahkdPlw = he has
big arrows.
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Exercises: Review INAN and MINANI: kizinan; kizinanisz; kizinannun;
kizinanunnisz; kizinanowaw; ozinanowawaisz; inaniwaz?
Conjugate OKOSI in the present, past and future aspects.
Make up sentences using "my old man" and "my old woman".
List all the vocative forms we know.
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auAKIMA = to hunt, chase Asina = Cree, n{tap- = real
aiIKIAKI = to trap mokakiap- = \vise
nizapikoan =
NITUMAZINAm (an.), NITUMA- xistap- = false, useless
ZINAZIw (in.) = to match,
nam-, naml = just, only
go well suyapikoan =
MOKAKI = to be wise
British man
MOKAKIAFSIw = is wise(an.)
mokakiapi = a
MOKAKIANI = to warn wise man, person
xistapiapikoan =
German, Dutchman
apatohsapikoan =
Canadian (white)
Noun Incorporation: This is an ancient manner of talking which has
survived in certain expressions, often related to hunting and hending
and speaking languages. It has an exact equivalent in English terms
like "He went deer hunting". Here are some examples:
nizlnokauAKIMA I chase elk.
nitotasIKIAKI = I trap horses, corral horses.
awatuyiauAKIMAw ?
autapiAUYIw = he she is a man-eater, eats people, is a cannibal.
Very much like these are expressions that tell about speaking languages:
nitaiizitapiIPUYI I speak Indian.
nizipikaniIPUYI = I speak Piegan.
kitaixistapiapiIPUYI = you speak German, Dutch.
kitaiapiIPUYI = you speak English (white man talk).
nitaizapikoaIPUYI = I speak French.
You will notice that the roots -TAFI and -KOAN may be included as an
option for clarity. Also to avoid ambiguity, -APIKOA- may be inserted
wherever it applies (NAPIKOAN with both N's dropped). But if simplicity
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is to clarity, we can cut some of these expressions:
niz:fIPUYI I talk Indian and = he talks Indian.
The longer and clearer equivalents would be niz!tapiIPUYI and
IPUYlw. The root for "Indian" used here is NIZr- with the initial
N- lost. Since the same root occurs in the word for Frenchman
, it
is best to insert -APIKOA- also. It should be noted that there may
be pejorative implications in ethnic expressions that should be
minimized in polite conversation.
Exercises: Form the feminine counterparts to the ethnic terms of
this lesson.
Translate: Kizaiapiaki ki kimatakotaizapikoaipuyihpa.
pinan nisoi ipuahsisz: nizitap!puahsin. nap!puahsin. nizapikoaipuahsin
ki xistapipikoaipuahsin. xistapiapikoaipuahsin. Niziponoka(au)
akima (nizinokauakima). Niziponokaumitauakima. Kizin!auakima. In!
auakimaw. Nitstamikauakima. Kizip!tauakima. Kikutaiohzimihpa
Invent five hunting or sentences.
Ask someone how to say ten vocabulary words in Blackfeet. (Za kitaka
nihpa . Sixikaipuahsin?)
Ask someone if he or she speaks each of the languages you can name
and require full
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-HZAw (an.), -HTOhp sopox(i) (an.) = sopok- = whole
(in.) = (it) costs a dollar
sziki = other. another,
ANAZZAw .. . ) )\!ANAZ
anauz(i) = half a next, more
TOhp (in.) = (it) is dollar
cheap, costs little.
omahkanaux(i) =
IEatEzf.1d a thE',!:'
AKAIHZAw (an.), AKAIH half a dollar
TOhp (in.) = it is dear, TIk2t-, mazi- again;
lnakanaux(i) = a
costs a lot. also, another. next
quarter of a dollar
za -aniszlHZAwaz (an.) matohzi afterwards
= one cent
za-anizOHTOhpaz (in.) mazzik? = who's
nisitanaux(i) = five
what does (it) cost? cents, a nickel
kimilzzika(z)? = are
APIHTA = to sell. give away kipanaux(i) = ten
you next
cents, a dime
I'm next.
ohPUMA = to buy
nimiapi trash, junk
SOP(jKSlw (an.).
SOP(jPlw (in.) = is whole
Numerals for Price: As we have noticed. noun incorporation is used with
numerals expressing age. So also, it is used often with numerals for
prices. This time the incorporated noun is SOPOX(I). though it is an
optional insertion:
animate inanimate
(It) costs $1: nitsopoxiHZAw nitsopoxOHTOhp
costs $2: natokisopoxihzaw natokisopoxOHTOhp
costs $3: niuoxkaisopoxlHZAw niuoxkaisopoxOHTOhp
costs $4: nisoisopoxlHZAw nisoisopoxOHTOhp
costs $5: nisitoisopoxlHZAw nisitoisopoxOHTOhp
costs $6: naisopoxlHZAw
costs $7: ihkizlkiHZAw ihkizlkyOHTOhp
costs $8: nanisisopoxlHZAw nanisisopoxOHTOhp
costs $9: pihxoisopoxlHZAw pihxoisopoxOHTOhp
costs $10: kipoisopoxiHZAw kipoisopox6HTOhp
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(It) costs $11: nizikoputoisopoxfHZAw nizikoputoisopox6HTOhp
costs $20: nazipoisopoxfHZAw nazipoisopoxdHTOhp
costs $21: nazipoisopxfHZAw nazipoisopoxdHTOhp
. nizikopuzi nizikoputoYi
Exercises: Make up conversations for buying and selling, using ex
pressions like nitakohpum'. nitaiahsohpum', kitakapihtaki, za
anisfhzaw kotas? etc. Ask the and have someone reply.
Have the seller ask "Who's next?" and the buyers answer "I'm next. I!
or "Black Eagle, you're next." etc. Buy and sell groceries, a house,
livestock, junk.
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IKI = to be the matter (with), motokan(i) = head, iniehkui downhill
to want, do, care hair, scalp
kin zip i- spotted,
AHPIZI (aiAHPIZI) to be sad, notokan = my painted
lonesome head etc.
k:!hz:!pimi (of
AIAKI (auAIAKI) = to hit, ozkina = horn (an.) animals -- optiona
strike, smash form)
apozkina = cow, bull
IKAKSIw (an.), IKAKIw (in.) (domestic) ikak- = low
to be low (not tall)
apozkina-sahkumapi maz{- (-izi-) = sweet
IKAKIANI = to speak low cowboy (to taste)
INI (aiINI) to die ohk:!n(i) = bone.
necklace; pI.
akaiINIw = is dead.
INIKI = to kill
pistahkan = tobacco
P6K6 = to taste (like)
aipistahkaipoko =
iszip6k6 = it tastes pepper
bitter (like fire).
iszix:!poko = salt
The Erratic Verb IKI: This may well be the most irregular verb in the
language because of its occasional incorporation of the prefix AI-. It
is also one of the most awkward to translate. When it incorporates AI-,
its stem becomes -IKAII- or just -KAII-, but otherwise it is regular .
Some examples will demonstrate: nizIKI (1st . )n kitaikihpa = what
are you doing?; kizikihpa = what's the matter with you?; kitaxikihpa =
what are you going to do?; za kitaikihpuwaw? what are you (pl.) doing?
where are you going? what do you want? (can be used as a
ahsa kiwa(z) = what's the matter?; kaiiwa(z) what's the matter with
him/her?; nimazikihpa = there's nothing the matter with me. IKI may be
used with or without a word for "what" (za, ahsa).
Handy VerbPOKO: You have already noticed how this verb incorporates
a noun or adjectival particle. It often uses IK- (very) in front:
= it tastes very good; ikiziP6K6w = it's very sweet.
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How To Say "Let's": The imperative forms for "let's do this or that"
are made by prefixing AHKUN- to the 1st person plural inclusive: e.g.
ahkunitapoop = let's go there; ahkuniz1puyoP = let's talk Indian.
Exercises: Kiaiahpizi. Kizik1hpa? Nimazikihpa. Ikiwaz? Mazik1waz.
Axikiwaz? Mataxikiwaz. Nitaiiki, kitaiikihpa? 'Ka1waz? (aiik1waz?);
aiik1wexaw? kitaiikihpuwaw. Nimataxikihpinana.
Any of these questions may be used as they are or with either ZA or AHSA:
Kin'naz? kixistaz? kisisaz? kisaz? kokosaz? taka otasaz?
Make up ten questions using IKI, past present and future, and then
answer them all negatively.
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MOHTO: niMOHTO & nitOHTO(MOHTOw, spaiyikoan = Spaniard, spaiyi- = Spanish,
Mexican, Hispanic Mexican, H i s p a n i c ~
IHTOw) = to go along, come from
omahxika = Russian moht-, -oht-, -iht-
n!mohtOTO I come by (there).
= on account of,
a Chinese
to braid with (used in fronj
apaz!pistani a braid of verb stems)
aiAMIHZINIMA to braid one's
own hair. sixapikoan = a Black ahsa moht... = why'
MAIIPI (auAIIPI) to bind aiihkin!psi = an Arab ozit- where, when
(as relatives)
AHWAPSIw = is handsome (an.) !psazis (in.) = belt.
sash ahwap- = handsome
nomohtahsitaki = thank you,
you're welcome, I'm pleased moskizipahpi = heart Ahsi-Stomahkatoixi
about it. sziko (in.) =
saiya = goose
Merry Christmas!
pusaipoka-w = kitten
mauk- = why?
Relative Clauses: to change a finite verb into the verb of a relative
clause (and in many cases into the relative clause itself). suffix -PI or
-HPI to the verb. Sometimes plural verb endings are attached after the
-(H)PI. Uhlenbeck recommends the translation "what" for this type of
relative clause. but other relatives in English may be used: "which, that".
otanihp kin'na. kipaipuyitl = What you father says, say it
Relative clauses indicating "where" or "when" are formed by using the
prefix IT- (there, then) and adding the -(H)PI at the end. Frequently
IT- is rei:mforced by OZ- to make the prefix OZIT-. This is often used
in place names or the names of time periods like months:
Mahxi-P!taw ozitamisowhpi, omi nizitoto. Where Red Eagle crosses
(i.e. Red Eagle Pass). there I went (go).
saiyaix ozitautohpi = when the geese arrive (approximately the month
of March).
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Relative clauses indicating "how" use a similar construction: Begin the
clause with (M)ANIST- and conclude it with -(H)PI.
nitaisap' nit6mitam manistauyihpi. = I see how my dog eats.
Often the prefix MOHT- is used with -(H)PI in this type of sentence, meaning
"on account of what", "why", "along or by which" etc. To ask the question
"Why?", begin with Ahsa, then incorporate (m)oht- in front of the verb
stem: Ahsa kitohtapohpa? Another example of the use of MOHT-:
nimoht(aw)auAIAKI miszis = I hit-with a stick. MOHT- = with, so the verb
becomes "hit-with". And another: Pin-oht-sa-ahsitakit = Don't be
displeased on that account (a polite expression).
Exercises: Look how the children play! When it snows, I am happy.
Explain: Nimisz Omahkatosi Apistotoki ihkanai-iht-aihziw.
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1KOHPtw = is swollen -kinaki = leg (an.) apuyi- = blond, brown
ai1SZ1 (ASZ-) = to hurt, ache -kinisz(i) = arm, hand apuyihkini = blondish-
aiSASKINA to cough = head, hair, top pahs-, pax- = naked,
AX1-AK1 = to bend okuyi = a hair, fur
y6ki- = curly
APUY1NAm (an.), APUYt- okuyihkini = hair
kak-, kax- = just, onl:
NAZ1w (in.) = to be blond, -ohzlminan(i) = arm(s)
brown, bay
-spini = cheek, jaw
nitohPUI-SKI = I paint (my)
-okin(i) = chest, breast
plkin(i),-lkin(i) =
nizrSZ1SOKOAN(i) = I have a
tooth, teeth
stomach ache.
nohplkin = my tooth
6koan (in.) = (hts)
stomach, belly;
nokoan = my s.
mokoanisz (pl.) = manifold, Belly River
mokaklni = the back, backbone
kizi = finger, toe, claw
noklzis = my f.; (an.);
pI. mokzix
mozls = hand, arm; nozls
my hand, arm
m1stoan, = beard,
moustache; nizlstoan = my b.
Verbalized Nouns for Parts: There are many constructions in which nouns
representing parts of the body are turned into verbs. They are often
descriptive and indicate possession, pain, etc. The verb for "to hurt, pain,
ache" (ISZI) must be a variation of the word for "fire, coals", In these
constructions the term for the body part is placed at the end of the complex
(except for the possible pronominal endings). The examples will make all
this clear:
sikapiniw = he/she has black eyes, is black-eyed.
okapiniw = he/she has .blue eyes, is blue-eyed
. anaukapiniw = he/she has one eye, is half-eyed.
kaxistomiw = he/she has just a body (is nude!),
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nitomahxika = I have big feet.
niZlnok(a) = I have long feet.
nizlnokinaki = I have long legs.
sahxikinakim = he has short legs. (Note that -KINAKI uses the suffix
-M for 3rd person singular.)
nizipahsikinaki I have bare legs; my legs are bare.
nizlnokinisz = I have long arms; my arms are long.
nitsahxiklnisz I have short arms; my arms are short.
sikihklniw & slkokuylhkiniw = he/she has black hair, is black-haired.
yokihkiniw. - he/she has curly hair, is curly-haired.
pahsokaziiaw = they are barefooted.
nizlnospi I have long hair.
akohplkiniw he/she has a lot of teeth.
To show , insert ISZI (ASZ-):
nitaszapini = my eye(s) hurt(s).
aszapiniw his/her eye(s) hurt(s).
nitaszlka I am lame; my foot hurts.
niziszlkinaki my leg hurts.
nizlszikinisz = my hand (arm) hurts.
ni t:3.sz1kini I have a toothache; my tooth aches.
nizlszisokoan(i) = I have a stomach ache.
nizlszispi & nitaszispi = I have a headache; my head aches.
nitaszokini = I have pain in my chest.
Many more examples could be listed, but these illustrate the versatility
of this type of Algonquian structure. Many personal nicknames are formed
in this way: ApuYlhkini (Blondy); Inospi (Long Top: Custer); Ino-lkini
(Buck Teeth: Fr. De Smet); Manokin & manaukin (New Breast: a young wolf).
Many animal terms use this base too: ap-spini (Xanada goose); xikihkini,
awatuyi, etc.
Free Forms: It must not be overlooked that besides the combining forms for
body parts, there are many free or independent forms, e.g. mostumi, moapspi,
ozklna. Such forms are usually listed in the vocabularies with the independent
prefix M- or MO- (someone's), which of course can be replaced by the other
pronominal prefixes. These free forms are less handy than the combining
forms but may seem easier to English speakers. Here are samples: {kohplaw
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kokfzis = your fingers are swollen; nazls inolw = my hand is
long; iXlsziwa noapspi my eye hurts a lot. (The word order in these
expressions is reversible.)
! Few Extra Pointers: If you want to stress these expressions, you may
insert -IK-: e.g. nittXIlszapini and tXlsziwa noapspi :::: my eye hurts a
lot. Contrarily, if you want to minimize these expressions, just insert
IKAK-: e.g. nizINAXiszapini or noapspi ~ i s z l w a inakohzi :::: my eye hurts a
little bit.
If you are talking about quantity, you may use some agglutinative expressions:
e.g. nitakohpikin(i) :::: I have lots of teeth; nisl-oapspiw - he/she has four
eyes. However, a method that is probably easier in the long run is to
state the number plus the item: e.g. kipoi nohplkisz = I have ten teeth or
ten are my teeth. The word for "only" may also be inserted: nam:! kipoi
The verb AXI ..AKI (to bend) offers a special case. It splits into two
parts and the body part that is being bent is inserted between them:
nitauAXIkaAKI = I bend my foot or leg; nitauAXIkiniszAKI = I bend my arm.
Exercises: Describe yourself to the class. Describe a friend (imaginary
if you prefer), Ask descriptive questions about a friend or friends.
OMa ninaw sahkskiw ki makskiw. Matazlinamaz. Nitsahxikinisz; nitsahxiklnaki;
nizlnoklnaki; lnokinakim. Oma ninaw Omahxikaapikoanaz? Sa, nizapikoan.
Nistowa, nitomahxikaapikoan. Nohkazi aizlw. Sixi-Plta aiiszisokoaniw ki
ik-sahk-xisiw (This last expression implies that he is quick-tempered).
Explain this name, reported to be a Blackfeet name for McDonald Creek
in Glacier Part (a questionable assertion but a wonderful name):
Kyaiyo awaw-atuyi-apixi-w.
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ISTAWASI to grow
-okazi = foot (measure) nohk:!zi- =
different, other,
OKdYISKA = to build, make (ih)z:!skani = sweatlodge
another, foreign
house (s) pI. ihziskanisz
(may drop N-)
ihKISKA = to make a sweat lodge mazikln (in.) = moccasin
nitaihZI = I take a sweatbath. nazik:!n = my moccasin; differently
pI. maziklsz
aiIZIKIHKA to make moccasins
naipiszi "" blanket (an.)
auAIPISZIMISKA = to make
wool (in.)
auaipiszimiska-w = a blan
aiNAMAHKA = to count coup,
ket-maker, Indian of the
take weapons
-WASI , -ASI = to become,
nohklzitapi = foreigner(s)
turn into, turn out to be
(aiy)imaipizi = monkey
NOHKtZI (aiAKIZI) = to be
OKOYI (auKOYI) = to have a home
SAIYAIPIZI = to lie, tell lies
aiPISZITAKI = to weave, bend,
"To Make": The suffix -KA means "to make" and is added to noun stems that
are therefore verbalized. It is risky to try doing this on your own and
safer to use the prefabricated forms. Sometimes and S- is inserted before
the KA-, and sometimes the prefix OH- (IH-). Do not confuse this KA- with
the suffix -KA that means "foot, feet". The vocabulary offers several
samples of these words.
-WASI (-ASI) is a transformative suffix added to verbal
and other roots. If the root to which it is added ends in a vowel, it
takes the form -WASI. If the root to which it is added ends in a consonant,
it takes the form -ASI. Examples: ohklwasi-w = it turns to water;
nitaiISTAWASI = I am growing; aklkoanasi-w = she turns Qutto be a girl;
niZlnawasi =1 nfi1milasi-w = he becomes chief.
Frequentative: To show that one does something "always"or of ten, add -AIPIZI
and attach the pronominal endings -W, lAW after it. This term is
derrogatory. E.g. aipuyaipizi-w = is a talking-machine; asainiaipizi-w =
is a cry-baby.
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Exercises: Nitainahk', ainamahkaw, ainamahkaiaw. Aukoyiiaw;
ok6yiskaiaw; nitok6yisk'. Kokona asainiaipiziw. Sayaipiziw.
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nfipo thirty; nfipi (an.). nfipoyi (in.)
NTIPiaw (an.). NTIPOiaw (in.)
= there are thirty.
aiIPOSTUYTMIw = is 30 years old.
sopoxdliTOhp (in.) = to cost $30.
NANO (NINO): aiINOAw, aiINIhp to see.
KOTA-: -ohK6TAKI, ihK6TAw. ihK6zIhp to give.
SAMI: (ai)SAMI. (ai)SAMATAw. to hunt
OHKIMA: aiOHKOAw, aiOHKIhp to wait (for)
""" "" UYI: UYI. auATAw, auATOhp = to eat
SIMI: aiSIMI, aiSIMATAw, aiSIMATOhp = to drink
APIXI: auAPIXISTAKI, auAPIXISTAw, auAPIXIhp = to throw, push.
OHZIMI: aiOHZIMI. aiOHTOAw. aiOHZIhp to hear, understand.
Transitive Verbs: We have come to a sort of half-way point and will have to
shift into a new gear. You will notice that the vocabulary is no longer
organized into three columns and also that we have b.o repeat a number of
verbs you have already had in the intransitive stem. Many verbs also have
one or two transitive stems which express the (pronoun) object in the stem
itself and therefore do not require any other pronoun object. The transitive
stems are animate and inanimate in reference to the object. Some verbs have
only an intransitive stem. some have all three stems and some have only two.
In listing these stems as the "principal parts" of the verb, the preferred
prefix, if any. is indicated (ai-. au-, Oh- etc.). The first stem is the
one to look for in the vocabulary or dictionary and has no specific meaning
in itself. It is just a key. The next for is the intransitive stem, the
one we have been studying to date. It has no meaning as it is until a
pronominal affix is attached to it. The next form is the transitive animate
stem given in the third person for (with the -W or WA) already attached. Its
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meaning will be explained presently. It always ends in -A- or keeps the
-A- between the stem itself and the pronominal suffix. which in the transitive
forms represents the object. The last form is the transitive inanimate stem.
which usually ends in -1- or -0-. kept between the main stem and the suffix
When we studied the intransitive stems. we learned about it under two configu
rations or structures: the first configuration included the 1st and 2nd persons.
and the second. the 3rd and 4th persons (along with 1st person plural inclusive)
But in the transitive stems we shall include all four persons in the first con
figuration and then use the second configuration for a different use of the
3rd and 4th persons. You must remember that in the intransitive verbs we
included only the subject as part of the verb itself (nit-. kit- etc.).
whereas in the transitive verbs we must include the object as well as the
subject in the verb itself. Therefore. if the object is singular (him/her)
there will be one signal. But if the object is plural (them). there will have
to be a different signal. This portion of our work. I must warn you. will be
somewhat revolutionary from the point of view of the English language. because
it will turn upside-down some of the English-speaker'snotions of active and
passive verbs. This distinction is not always preserved in Blackfeet. which
suggests there is always a little of the passive in the active and a little of
the active in the passive (very much like the Chinese Tao concept of Yin-Yang).
Now if all this is not clear (and I'm sure it is not). we may get it into our
heads better by some examples. Here is how you must translate the verbs in
the first configuration:
sigular subject & object plural subject. sing. object
1st person I .... him/her/it (excl.) we .... him/her/it
(incl.) we .... him/her/it
2nd person you ....him/her/it ./ you(pl.) ..him/her/it
3rd person he/she/it is ... they are (passive)
4th person he/she/it is . (passive) they are ... (passive)
Note that the form (not the translation) of the 3rd person singular is the
same as the form of the 1st person plural inclusive. E.g. "to love":
(excl.) nitAKOMIMMAnan lOVE
1st person nitAKOMIMMAw I love him/her.
(incl.) . AKOMIMMAw =
2nd person kitAKOMIMMAw you love kitAKOMIMMAwaw = you (pl.\
I love him/hE
3rd person AKOMIMMAw = he/she is
4th person AKOMIMMAinai he/she is loved
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--_...__._-_.. _......__.. __....._---- _ ....._--_...
Notice that the plural subject pronoun endings are now simply -NAN and -W
and WAW. But what you did not guess is that there must also be forms for
"I. .... him/her" 4th person: nitAKOMIMMAinai and "you... him/her 4th person:
I gave you the verb AKOMI because it is relatively simple. A much more
complex verb is NANO lito see" and very common. It is not irregular, however,
the problem is just that you have an option to choose between different forms,
and also that the initial N-(as usual) is dropped leaving the A exposed to
new pressure so that it turns into an I. Then you may conjugate it either
nitaiINOAw or nizlNOAw etc.
1st person nita iINOAw (& nitaiINOAinai) nitaiINOAnan
2nd person kitaiINOAw (& kitaiINOAinai)
3rd person aiINOAw
4th person aiINOAinai
Note: the two I's together will blend in pronunciation. I have written them
both to make the conjugation clear. This problem will not occur if you choose
to use forms nizlNOAw etc. or those that retain the N- of NANO (NINO).
However, the forms retaining the N- (NANO. NINO) appear to be more popular
for the second configuration that we have not come to yet. See Lesson LVII.
Exercises: Conjugate NANO in the forms using nizlNOAw. Then do all the
other verbs with transitive animate stems given in this lesson.
Translate: NitaiINOaw nitomitam. NitaiINOAnan oma sahkumapi.
KitauAPIXISTAwaw pokun.
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, ,
dXTAKI: dXTAKI, OXAw, OXTOhp = to count
auxtaxin = numbers, counting; -ixi- = in a row.
AZIMOIHKA: auQZIMOIHKA, to pray (to).
auazimoihkan(i) (in.) = prayer, religion
MAKITA: (M)AKITAKI, (M)AKIZAw, to pack, load, saddle
{itan (in.) = a saddle; niz1itan my saddle.
OMI: OMI, OMATAw, = to marry or have a husband
noma = my husband, omi her husband
K1MI: ihK1MI, ihK1MATAw, to marry or have a wife.
nitohk1man = my wife, otohklman his wife
YOSI: auYOSI, auYOSATAw, auYOSATOhp = to cook.
auyosiw = a cook.
itauyosopi = kitchen
XlMAZ1TAKI: aiXlMAZ1TAKI. aiXlMAZIZlhp = to be glad, pleased (with},
rejoice, greet, thank, shake hands (with), thank (for).
UKI: , aiUKIAKI, UKIAw, UKlhp = to shut, close.
PATA: ihPATAKI, ihPATAw, ihPATOhp = to carry, bring.
pataki (in.) = potato
Transitive Animate Plural Objects: Instead of adding -Was in the singular,
add -lAW, in the manner following (Configuration I):
. nitAKOMIMMAnaniaw
1st person
nltfi law AKOMIMMAiaw
2nd person kitM<OMIMMAiaw . 1
3rd person
4th person AKOMIMMA
Negative - Singular Objects
1st person nimatAKOMIMMAwaz nimatAKOMIMMAnanaz
2nd person kimatAKOMIMMAwaz kimaTAKOMIMMAwawaz
3rd person matAKOMIMMA
4th person matAKOMIMMA
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Negative - Plural Objects
1st person nirnatAKOMIMMAwexaw nimatAKOMIMMAnanexaw
2nd person kimatAKOMIMMAwexaw kimatAKOMIMMAwawexaw
3rd person matAKOMIMMA
4th person matAKOMIMMA
Note that some of these forms are not well known, perhaps because they
are not much used.
Interrogatives: To form the interrogatives use the suffixes of these
paradigms just given but not the -MAT-. The suffixes, of course, are
-(W)AZ for singular objects and -(W)EXAW for plural objects. E.g.
KitAKOMIMMAwexaw? = Do you love them?
Exercises: Conjugate all the transitive animate stems in the negatives and
interrogatives, with singular objects and with plural objects.
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MINANI: aiINANATAw, aiINANATOhp to have, own, possess.
mini = rich
minok-, -inok = happy
MIZIHTA: aiIZIHTA, aiIZIHTATAw, to think, endure, bear (with).
AMOZA: auMOZAKI, auMOZAw & auMOZAKATAw; to conquer, defeat, beat,
sin, slaughter, massacre.
AKIMA: auAKIMA, auAKIMATAw, = to chase, hunt.
ObPUMA: {hPUMA, {hPUMATAw, ihPUMATOhp to buy trade.
auhpumaw trader; pl. -moaix.
itahpumaupi (in.) = store, shop.
ihtahpumaupi (an.) = money
ohPUKIUO: ihPUrzIUO, ihPUKdMAw, = to accompany, go with, follow, go a l o n ~
nitohpokoma = my companion, comrade; otohpokomi = his/her companion, comrade.
MATO: MATAKI, MATOAw, MATZIhp = to take, get.
SIXTA: aiSIXTAKI, aiSIXIPAw, aiSIXZIhp = to bite.
suisxisi = mosquito, fly; pl. a boys' society
Configuration II: The final -A of the stem is changed to an -I.
3rd to 4th persons: . AKOMIMMIw(aiye) . AKOMIMNIiaw(aiye)
4th to 5th persons AKOMU1MIinai
Both the singular forms can be translated "he / she loves her /him';' and the
plural form, "they love him/her". For the plural objects the conjugation
runs this way:
3rd to 4th persons: AKOMIMMlwex AKOMIMMlawex
4th to 5th persons: AKOMIMMinaiex
The two singular forms can be translated "he/she loves them" and the plural
form "they love them".
T-Stems: Verbs that have a -T- near the end of their stem, as MINANI
assibilate this -T- to -Z- in front of the following -I and so have this
type of Configuration II:
3rd to 4th persons: ihPAZIw(aiye) ihPAZIiaw(aiye)
4th to 5th persons: ihPAzIinai
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To see what happens with T-stems, we'll look at ihPATA:
3rd - 4th persons: matohPAZluaz (aiye) matohPAZluwexaw(aiye)
4th - 5th persons:
And with plural objects:
3rd 4th persons: matohPAZluwexaw(aiye)
4th - 5th persons: matohPAzlinaiaix
Exercises: Conjugate all the transitives you can in the second configuration,
positive and negative, singular and plural, and interrogative.
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amipuk = air
mipoka-w (in.) = clear sky
nam-, nami- = twisted
namski, namisk! = lizard, horned toad
NAMINITA: aiAMINITAKI, aiAMIHKINITA, to shear, cut hair
(note the incorporation of -IHKINI.)
namo-w = bee, wasp
namoyis = beehive
namoahsin (in.) = honey; pl. namoahsisz
namolsiszi = humming bird
NAMAHKI = to sweep
namahkiazis = a broom
awawahsin(in.) = food; pl. awawahsisz; nizoahsin my food.
nitapawahsin meat, "Indian food"
xistapawahsin grain food, vegetables
itaisoyopi = table
itauyopi (in.) = cafe, restaurant
ihtauyopi (an.) = fork
i tohkanoyopi hotel
KIZIMA: ________, aiKIZIMA, = to encourage, persuade
KAKIMA: aiKAKIMA = to persevere, try hard, take courage.
Configuration II: Negative and Interrogative: With singular objects, the
conjugation of the second structure runs this way for the negative:
3rd - 4th persons: matAKOMIMMIuwaz(aiye) matAKOMIMMIawaz(aiye)
4th - 5th persons: matAKOMIMMIinaiex
And for the plural objects:
3rd - 4th persons: matAKOMIMMIuwexawaiye matAKOMIMMIuwexawex
4th - 5th persons: matAKOMIMMIinaiwexaw
For the interrogatives, omit the MAT-.
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Trouble-Making Verbs: Some verbs cause the student special problems, not
because they are irregular, but rather because they begin with M- or N-,
which may be dropped in certain forms and so have alternate ways of conjugation.
This difficulty will surface especially in the 3rd and 4th person forms.
Let's take the transitive animate of MINANI for example: nitaiINANATAw,
kitaiINANATAw & c. (or nizINANATAw. kizINANATAw & c.); for 3rd and 4th persons
MINANATAw. MINANATAinai & c. (or aiINANATaw, aiINANAinai & c.) For the
plural objects, a similar choice. In Configuration or Structure II:
MINANAZIw(aiye), MINANAZIinai & c. (or aiINANAZIw(aiye), aiINANAZIinai & c.)
Another trouble-maker is the verb MATO. The intransitive runs: nitauTAKI,
kitauTAKI & c. (or nitdTAKI, kitdTAKI &c.), 3rd person MATAKIw. And so on.
The transitive animate runs: nitdTOAw, kitdTOAw &c., 3rd person MATOIw(aiye)
&c. This verb is much used and should be carefully learned.
Another favorite beast is NANO. In Configuration II (singular objects) it
will be aINOtw(aiye), aINO{nai, aINO{aw(aiye) (or the alternates: NANOiw(aiye),
NANOinai, NANOiaw(aiye)). (This last optional suffix aiye sounds like English
AY in IIday, stayll etc.) The forms for plural animate objects are: aINOiwaix,
aINOinaiaix, aINOiawaix (or NANOiwaix, NANOinaiaix, NANOiawaix).
Exercises: Conjugate the transitive verbs we know now in all forms we know.
giving special attention to the most difficult ones, e.g. ihKOTA, MAKITA,
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nislpo = forty; nislpi (an.), nislpoyi (in.)
NIStPiaw (an.), NIStPOiaw (in.) = there are 40.
aiSIPOSTuyfMlw = he/she is 40 years old.
NIStpOISOPOXtHZAw (an.), NIStPOISOpoxdHTOhp = it costs $40.
kawahko (in.) = coulee, ravine, ridge
ihkawa (an.) = tribe, band, clan; niz:ihkawa-w my tribe etc.
siszik- tired of
nitSISZlko & nitaiSISZlko I am tired (passive).
saukYl (in.) prairie
soki- = prairie, out on the prairie, in the country; soki-awakasi = antelope
s p ~ z i k o (in.) = sandy area, sand; Omahkspaziko = the Sand Hills (Saskatchewan);
spazikO itapo (kimitaps) he/she is dead (poor thing)!
KlMA: , aiKlMA.w, = to pity.
kimatap- = pitiful; KlMATAPSlw (an.) ~ KlMATAPlw (in.) is pitiful.
SPUMO: aiSPUMAKI, aiSPUMOA, to help.
slkami crane, scout ("long legs"),
soo (an.) = warparty; pl. sooiix = warriors; SOO to go to war.
MA.ITA: . auMAITAKI, auMAITOAw, auMAIZlhp = to believe.
mam!n (an.) = wing, feather; pI. mam!nix; omn = his/her wing, feather.
suiopok (in.) = leaf; pl. -kisz; aisuiopoxikimi (in.) = tea. (SUIOPOK + SIX + KIM
INisZI (INAS + reciprocal sign = to make peace (with): INASZIMAw.
inaszin = peace; inaszl-w = there is peace.
Passive: We have seen (Lesson 30) that the 3rd and 4th persons of the transi
tive animate first configuration are used passively. We shall repeat these
forms here in this lesson so as to have the entire paradigm of the indefinite
passive all to gether. Notice that there does not seem to be much
relationship between the 1st and 2nd persons and the 3rd and 4th. Using
the AKOMI, these forms are translated: "I am loved (by someone), you are
loved, we are loved" etc.:
1st person nitAKOMIMMOko
. AKOMtMMozp
2nd person kitAKOMfMMOko kitAKOMfMMOkowaw
3rd person AKOMIMMAw AKOMIMl1Aiaw
4th person AKOMIMMAinai
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Reciprocal: There is also a similar conjugation in the plural only (of
course), which, using the verb AKOMI, is translated. "we love one
another" etc:
Note the reciprocal sign -ZI-:
( AKOMtMMOziop
Exercises: Conjugate the other transitive verbs of this lesson in the
passive and reciprocal forms.
Conjugate "to make peace": niz:INASZ' (niztNASZlhpinan). nizINASZlMAw etc.
Translate and fill in the missing lines:
1) Do you tell stories to each other? Y e s ~ . No,
2) Do you help one another: Yes, No,
3) Do you pity each other? Y e s ~ _______. No;
4) Do you inquire after each other? Yes, No,
5) Do you shake hands with (or thank) each other? Yes, No,
6) Do you believe (trust) each other? Yes, No,
7) Do you accompany each other? Yes,' No,
8) Do you beat each other? Y e s ~
9) Do you encourage each other? Yes, . No,
10) Do you give to each other? Yes, N o ~
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nisiz:fpo == fifty; nisiZ:lpi (an.), nisiz1poyi (in.)
NISIZ1Piaw (an.), NIS1Z1POiaw (in.) = there are 50.
aiSIZ1POSTUylMIw = he/she is 50 years old.
NISIZlposOpoxlHZAw (an.), NISIZlposOPOXdHTOhp (in.) it costs $50.
aiIZINIKI = to narrate, tell a story, report, (refI.) to read;
(n)izinik!sinaxin - (my) newspaper
aiAHKIohsi (refl.) := to sail, go boating
ahkiohsazis (in.) = boat, canoe
<JHTOHKO: nitaiOHTOHKOhsi (refl.) = I am sick; aiohtohkohsi-w == a sick person.
POHKIA: nitaiPOHKIAKI = I mow, reap (hay); nitaiPOHKISTOIohsi (refl.) := I shavL
AHSI: nitaiAHSITAKI, nit (ai)AHSIMMAw, nit(ai)AHSIZIhp == to like, esteem,
be pleased (with; nitaiAHSIMMOhsi(refl.) == I feel fine.
INA: 1I1NAKI, lNAw, (ai)INIhp == to seize, take, hold, arrest
ainaki & !nakikoan := soldier, policeman
napiinaki := white soldier; suyiinakikoan == sailor
lnakiapioyis := fort
KATOTO: , ihKATOTOAw, ihKATAIZIhp = to heal, cure
IS1SZ: ai1S1ZTAK1, ai1S1SZIMAw, aiIS1SZTOhp = to wash
aiISISK10hsi (refl.) = to wash the face; isiskiohsa'zis- soap.
aiIS1SZ1MMOhsi (refl.) := to wash one's self
1S'I!OTOhsi (ref I. ) to clothe one's self; istotOhsisz (in. pI.) clothes;
nizistotOhsisz := my clothes
aso-, so- = covering, cover
(a)sokasim(i) (in.) coat, shirt, dress; pI. -asisz; nisokasim my coat etc.
xistokisokasim == shirt
mazl (an.); pl. mazlx leggings, trousers; nazlx = my leggings &c.
(ai) 1SZUMOKI to put on or wear a hat; iszumoka := hat. cap; niszumokan = my hat
Reflexives: Reflexives use the transitive stem with intransitive affixes,
plus -OHS(i)-or -HSI. Here are examples:
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= sixty; mliipi (an.), mliipoyi (in.)
NAIIPiaw (an.), NAIIPOiaw (in.) = there are 60.
aiIPOSTUY1MIw = he/she is 60 years old.
NAIIPOISOpox1HZAw (an.), NAIIPOISOPOXcJHTOhp (in.) = it costs $60.
-an(i) = robe, robes; manyan = new robe; imoiani, pl. imoianix = buffalo robe
imoi- = hairy; imoi6yi-w = he has a moustache.
AMIOPI = to mount a horse.
soxisz!ko = cloud; ,HSOXISz1KOw = it is cloudy.
mahxisokasim = British, Royal Mounted Police
mlipiszisokasim = robe (textile); sikaipiszisokasim priest (Catholic)
nizlzikin = moccasin, real or Indian shoe
iszik- swift, fast, slick
iszik!szikin = shoe; spiszik!zikin = boot
ISZ1STAKAKI = to put on moccasins
APcJHSZIw = to be upside-down
apokap- reversed; APcJKAPSIw (an.), APOKAPIw (in.) to be
ap6kapitapi = a reversed person
STOKI: aiSTOKIAKI, ,liSTOKIAw, aiSTOIUhp to knock, beat
a.iSTOKIMA to drum; ist6kimazis (in.) = drum, tom-tom.
PII: aihPII, ihPOKIHPIIMAw, = to dance (with)
Centrifugal and Centripetal Verb Forms: Linguists have borrowed from
physicists a pair of terms to describe a phenomenon that occurs typically
in Algonquian languages, but especially in Blackfeet: centrifugal and
centripetal. This phenomenon may well be the most difficult for the beginner,
so we shall take it bit by bit. Relationship in verbs from 1st person
downwards to or toward 5th person is called centrifugal. Relationship from
5th person upwards to or toward 1st person is centripetal. Relationship
across the board is reciprocal or reflexive.
3 centripetal centrifugal
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So far, most of the verb relationships we have studied are centrifugal,
e.g. 1st person to 3rd, 2nd to 3rd, 3rd to 4th, 4th to 5th. But there is
one centrifugal relationship we have never dealt with: 1st person to 2nd.
Here it is, with AKOMI as the model verb:
kitAKOM!MMO = I love you (The final -0 may disappear.)
kitAKOM!MMOhpuwaw I love you (pl.)
kitAKOM!MMOhpinan we love you (sing. & pl.)
You will notice that all these forms are reversed. Intransitive affixes
are attached to the transitive stem. -0 is the variable vowel and perhaps
by coincidence appears to be a suffix meaning "I" (as in Latin/Spanish).
However, these forms can also be interpreted as passive: "you are loved (by
me)" &c. To reverse these forms and get the corresponding centripetal
forms, attach -KI to the variable vowel 0:
kitAKOM!MMOki = you love me.
kitAKOM!MMOkihpuwaw you (pl.) love me.
kitAKOM!MMOkihpinan you ( . & pl.) love us.
The suffix -KI seems to mean "me, us" and what used to be a 2nd person
prefix has now become a 1st person suffix. This again may be just a
coincidence, and the -KI is the sign of reversal or passivity.
Exercises: Give the centrifugal forms for ItI - you", "we - you" of these
Now reverse direction and give the centripetal forms.
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ihkizlkipo = seventy; ihkiz!kipi (an.), ihkizlkipoyi (in.).
IHKIZfKIPiaw (an.), IHKIZfKIPOiaw (in.) = there are 70.
auHKIZfKIPOSTUYfMIw he/she is 70 years old.
IHKIZfKIPOISOpoxfHZAw (an.), IHKIZfKIPOISOpox6HTOhp (in.) = it costs $70.
SAKAKIMMA: , aiSAKAKIMMAw, = to love, esteem.
INIMA = to catch
aiinima-w = hawk; stuYlnima-w = winter hawk.
kako dove
AYIKfNA = to inspire, speak (of a spirit); ayik!nan = spirit, radio, phonograph
ISINA: aiISINAKI, aiISINAw, aiISINAIhp = to erase, wipe away, wash, pardon,
nitokan, nitokaw = guardian spirit (cf. OKA; okan = medicine lodge)
XISA: aiXASI, aiXISATAw, aiXISATOhp = to hide, conceal
XISKA: , aiXISK6Aw, aiXISKAKlhp = to touch
aixiskakowa piano
inakimi (papusi) = baby
asaz!nya = violin (often with sign of fiddling)
-kaii (in.) back of the body, quill; pl. kailsz
kaiiskahp porcupine
apikaii skunk
Kaiispa Sioux (Hair-Parters), Grass Dancers
suy{kaii = mink
{kaiisi = tree squirrel
!mahkaii = swan; xik6mahkaii = white swan.
Centripetals (Continued): We have observed that the sign of reversal and/or
passivity is an inserted -K-. Centripetal forms also use the variable vowel
-0- on the transitive stem, and all centripetal forms belong to the first
structure or configuration. (In other words, there is now no second configu
ration.) The prefix series is NIT-, KIT-, OT-, and the suffix series (for
the forms considered in this lesson) is -TNAN. -IW, -OAW, -OAIAW. The plural
"subject" suffix -IAW is attached at the end (-TNANIAi\f, "';IAW, -OAIAW) with
the 4th person plural indicated by -AIX.
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Let's look at the paradigm and fret over translating it afterwards:
1st person nitAKOMTMMOk nitAKOMTMMokinan
2nd person ki tAKOMll1Mok kitAKOMTMMok
3rd person otAKOMTMMok
This is the paradigm for a singlular "subject". Note that there is no
distinction between you singular and you plura1.*If we translate this
into the best English, using the English concepts of "subject", "predicate"
and "object" from our Greek heritage, we would get: 3rd/4th person loves me,
3rd/4th person loves you, 4th person loves 3rd person; (plural for objects)
3rd/4th person loves you, and 3rd/ person loves us (excl. & incl.)
However, a better way (though with awkward English) may be to forget about
such ancient Greek and English notions like "subject" and "object" and think
instead of the entire paradigm as passive, indicating the relationship
between a "patient" (the passive recipient of the action) and the "agent"
(the producer of the action). Then, this paradigm is the one for a singular
agent and both singular and plural patients. Also, in this case we do not
really reverse anything. But we shall have to translate these forms as:
am loved by 3rd/4th person, you are loved by 3rd/4th person, 3rd person is
loved by 4th person, etc. It is possible that neither alternative interprets
the Blackfeet precisely. But take your choice!
Using the terminology of the last paragraph, let's give the paradigm for
plural agent with patients both singular and plural:
1st person nitAKOM:lMMokiaw
2nd person kitAKOM1MMokiaw kitAKOM1MMokiaw
3rd person otAKOM:lMMokaix otAKOM1MMokaix
Notice again that the forms for 2nd person (patient) are identical.* The
common English translation would be: They love me, they love you, they love
us, 4th persons love third person(s). Or, in the passive: I am loved by
them, you are loved by them etc.
Exercises: Conjugate in the centripetal forms of this lesson and the last:
*If you need to distinguish 2nd person singular and plural, use kist6wa
and xistowaw.
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In partnership with another pupil, chose a verb and recite, one partner
the centrifugal forms and the other the corresponding centripetal forms.
Then reverse roles. Try to keep your head.*
Compose sentences using all the terms for music, song and dance that you
know: e.g. piano, flute, violin, drum, whistle etc.
Explain--if you can: Nit6kan nitayikinaw = my guardian spirit speaks to me.
(This term is not centripetal it appears to have a transitive stem.
The verb AYIKiNA seems to refer to a speaking spirit).
* Uhlenbeck, pp. 184-5, gives an instance of this exercise using the verb
"to bite". It may be easier if the student looks these pages over first
and then does something similar on his/her own with other verbs.
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ihPAITAPI & AITAPI = to be alive.
mazitaplwasi-w ::'he/she revives.
matuyis (matuyi) (in.) grass, hay
matuihko = grass (growing)
MatuY:LsaiYl-w = Chippewa ("Grass Cree"); Matuyisaiyaikoan Chippewa man
-KASI = to act as, be proud of
.3:.uAZAPSKASI = to act crazy
aiSTAZKASI = to show off
v '"
INAKASI: INAKASt & aiINAKASI, INAKATAw, INAKATOhp to roll, turn over & over,
. aiinakasi-w (an.) :: wheel, wagon
isziaiinakasi-w train, locamotive; ihkitupi-aiinakasi-w bicycle;
apikaiinakasi-w automobile
matok6hzi never
matakaiim = not enough
mini-w = island, continent, America
mohsoko (in.) road, trail; nohsoko = my road, trail
Mahkuri-ohsokOi :: the Milky Way; = the Old North Trail
nanisipo == eighty; nanisipi (an.), nanisipoyi (in.)
NANISIPiaw (an.), NANISIPOiaw (in.) :: there are 80.
auANISIPOSTUYtMlw :: he/she is 80 years old.
NANISIPOISOPOXtHZAw (an.), NANISIPOISOpoXdHTOhp (in.) = costs $80.
Interrogative Centripetals: To form the add -HPA
or -AZ, and to form the negative, prefix MAT and retain the -HPA or -AZ.
The "rules" or common usage do not appear to be so firmly established with
these rarer forms.
Centrifugal Centripetal
kimatAKOM1MMOhpa = I do not love you. kimatAKOMiMMOkihpa = you do not
love me.
kimatAKOMIMMOhpuwawa ide pI.
kimatAKOMIMMOkihpuwawa = ide pl.
kimatAKOM1MMOhpinana = we do not love you.
kimatAKOMIMMOkihpinana = you do
not love us.
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As you see, the suffix -HPA is used in the forms between 1st and 2nd persons.
But when 3rd/4th persons are the agents, use -AZ or -AlXAW.
Negatives with Singular Agent
1st person nimatAKOMtMMokaz nimatAKOMtMMokinanaz
2nd person kimatAKOMtMMokaz kimatAKOMrMMokaz
3rd person omatAKOM:1MMokaz
Negatives with Plural Agent
1st person nimatAKOMtMMokaziaw nimatAKOMtMMokinaniawaz
2nd person kimatAKOM:1MMOkiaziaw kimatAKOMtMMokiaziaw
3rd person omatAKOMtMMokaixaw omatAKOMtMMokaixaw
If you need to distinguish "you" singular from "you" plural, used
kistowa and xistowaw.
Exercises: Change all these forms into the interrogative. Try it with the
verbs SPUMO, KIZlMA, MAlTA, KlMA. Put these into the negative.
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pihxipo = ninety; pihx{pi (an.), pihxlpoyi (in.)
PIHXfPiaw (an.), PIHXfPOiaw (in.) = there are 90.
aiPIHXtPOSTUYIMIw = he/she is 90 years old.
PIHXfpOISOpoxfHZAw (an.), PIHXtpOISOpox6HTOhp = costs $90.
ANISZI: auANISZI, auANISTOTOAw, auANISTOhp = to do, make, obey, mind
(the root -TOT- may be the most basic element; cf. APISTO-.)
AXISAWO: auAXISAWATAw, = to visit
auaxisawo-w = a guest, visitor
AZA: , AZAw, AZTOhp = to lose
auAZI to be drunk
AZISTO: , auAZI STOTAw, _______ = to persuade (cf. TOT).
aik{stan = a rodeo, horse-breaking
aiPISKI = to empound, fence in, corral;
plskan(i) = a corral, buffalo-pound or jump
PISZIXfsTO: PISZIXISTOTOAw, = to deceive (cv. TOT).
POTO: , ihPOTOAw, ihPOZIhp = to put, loose, pardon, let go, lay down,
set free; potokit! = let me go!
ANI: (au)ANI, (au) ANISTAw, (auANISTOhp = say, tell, call, name; za kitaniko?
= what's your name? what are you called?
talk (to); to read (in the intransitive).
Irregular T-Stems: The T-stem verbs have irregularities in centripetal
forms and in the indefinite passive: that is, the T disappears before the K.
The loss of the T is likely to result in a contraction of vowels that now come
together. Here are samples of the indefinite passive:
nitohPAoko = I am carried; nitohKOko = I am given (something by someone);
nitANIko I am called or named; kitANIko (note loss of S).
Samples of centripetal forms:
nitohPAok; nitohKOk; nitANIk; nitaiSOPOAHZISAk; he/she --""" me
kitohPAok; kitohKOk; kitANIk; kitaiSOPOAHZISAk; he/she - - ~ you
otohPAok; otohKOk; otANIk; otaiSOPOAHZISAk; 4th - - - ~ 3rd person
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nitohPAokinan, nitohKOkinan. nitANlkinan
3rd/4th us (excl. & incl.)
ihPAokiw ihKOkiw ANlkiw
nitohPAokiaw nitohKOkiaw nitANlkiaw they me
nitohPAokinaniaw nitohKOkinaniaw nitANlkinaniaw they us (excl. )
ihPKokiaw ihKOkiaw ANlkiaw they us (incl. )
kitohPA'oki kitohKOki kitANlki you me
kitohPAokihpinan kitohKOkihpinan kitANlkihpinan you us (excl. )
(The you-agent forms are singular and plural. as usual.)
Here are examples of the negative and interrogative:
Centrifugal Centripetal
kimatohKOTOhpa = I don't give it to you. kimatohKOkihpa you don't give it
to me.
nimatohKOTAwaz = I don't give it to him. nimatohKOkiwaz = he does not it
to me.
nimatoKOTAwaixaw ~ I don't give it to them . nimatohKOkaziaw they do not give
it to me.
kitohKOTOhpa: Do I give it to you? kitohKOKihpa? Do you give it to mE
kitohKOTAwaz? Do you give it to him/her? kitohKOkiwaz? = Does he it to yOl
Exercises: Conjugate the verbs used in this lesson in all forms: ihKOTA,
Translate: Taka nitohKOk? Taka kitohKOk? Taka kitohKOkuwaw? Taka nitoh
KOTAw? (Note lack of interrogative suffix. not necessarily required with the
interrogative pronoun.) KimatohKOkihpinanaz. KimatohKOkihpa. KitakohKOTo.
ItohKOTAwa. KizikauhKOkihpa? KizikauhKOTo. KitohKOkihpa? KizikauhKOTo.
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kipipo = one hundred; kip!pi (an.), kipipoyi (in.)
KIPIPiaw (an.), KfPIPOiaw (in.) = there are a hundred.
KIPtpOISOPOXtHZAw (an.), KIPfpOISIPOXdHTOhp (in.) = costs $100.
aiKIPIPOSTUYfMIw = he/she is 100 years old.
kok! (in.) = corner; kokski = antelope.
SIKO: (ai)SIK' , aiSIKAw, aiSIKIhp = to stop, break (off), quit, sikaipit
SIKUPI = to rest.
PIKI: a iPIKIAKI , , aiPIKIhp to grind, mash

pikiaxin (in.) porridge, mush
pikfmazis = tone axe; paxazis (an.) stone maul.
KAHT: aiKAHZI = to play (games), gamble
kahzazis (in.) = a playing card; aikahzi-w a gambler
aip!xikahziaw = they are playing stick game.
ptXI- = wonderful, awesome
ISZiNA = bug, worm; p1x1xina = snake; omahxixixina rattlesnake
Pixixinaitapi-w = Shoshoni
KITA: aihKITf & aihKiTA, aihKiTATOhp = to bake, cook
k{tani (in.)" loaf of bread, cooking; pl. -anisz
aimiszlskftan(i) = fried bread
piszkitan cake
situxk1tan pie
istohihk!tan = pancake
pisat, pisatap- = wonderful, funny (full of fun);
to wonder, be surprised
pis3zkasin = a show, circus, theater
sitok-, sitokOhzi = between, through, in middle (of)
Transitive Inanimate Forms: Luckily for all concerned, the transitive
inanimate conjugations are much easier than the transitive animate ones.
The transitive inanimate stems of verbs have already been given in the
vocabularies, so you have some slight acquaintance with them. They end
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in either -IHP or -OHP. However, there is some dialectic variation
in that some speakers omit the -H- and use simply -IP and -op as the
endings. There do not seem to be any "rules" about this choice. It's
up to you.
Here is the conjugation of the 1st structure or configuration:
1st person nitAKOMizihp = I love it. nitAKOMIZIhpinan
2nd per.son kitAKOMIZIhp kitAKOMIZIhpuwaw
3rd person AKOMIZIhp in meaning)
4th person AKOMIZlhp(aiye) (passive in meaning)
Another example using a verb ending the inanimate stem in -OHP:
1st person hitohPATOhp I carry it. nitohPATOhp inan
ihPATOhp = we carry it.
2nd person kitohPATOhp kitohPATOhpuwaw
3rd person ihPATOhp passive in meaning: itsis carried)
4th person ihPATOhp(aiye) (passive in meaning: it is carried)
Examples with plural "object 11:
1st person nitAKOMIZIhpiaw = I love them nitAKOMIZIhpinaniaw
AKOMIZ Ihp iaw
2nd person kitAKOMIZlhpiaw kitAKOMIZlhpuwaiaw
3rd person AKOMIZIhpiaw
4th person AKOMIZlhpiaw (passive)
Exercises: Conjugate the first conf ion of these inanimate stems:
auMAIZIhp, aiINIhp, ihKATAIZIhp, aiSISTOhp,
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OHSOKOI = to make tracks
KAMOSI: aiKAMOSI, 8: iKAMOSATAw, aiKAMOSATOhp steal; kamosi-w = . thief
KAMOTA: aiKAMOT' , = to save (the first form means
lito be safe", and the second means lito save (another)".
pom{s(a) (in.) = fat, grease; pomis-sisz{ = goldfinch.
poy:!'i = oil
(ai)SAITAM(i) = to breathe
SAIYAIZIKO: to rattle; oak tree
to ring, rattle; saizikihtan (an.) = bell
sap- = in, into, after, following
SAPO: nitSAPO, nit SAPATAw , = to follow (in the tracks of)
SAPIXIKAI = to follow, step in the tracks of
SXINO: , nitSXINOaw, nitSXtNIhp = to know (v. NANO)
aiSXINO to remember, learn
SAWAZXINO: , nitaiSAWAZXINOAw, nitaiSAWAZXINIhp = to forget
stap- = lazy; nitSTAPS(i) = I'm lazy.
stawap- = lucky; nitSTAWAPS = I'm lucky.
Transitive Inanimate: the Second Conf ion:
With Singular "Object"
3rd person AKOMIZImaiye = he likes it. AKOMIZImiaw
4th person AKOMIZIminai
With Plural "Obj ect II
3rd person AKOMISZImaisz AKOMIZImiawaisz
To Illustrate with Another Verb:
3rd person ihPATOm(aiye) = he carries it. ihPATOmiaw(aiye)
4th person ihPATOminai
3rd person ihPATOmaisz(i) ihPATOmiawaisz(i)
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Notice that the variable vowel 0 or I is always inserted at the end
of the stem, and that in the second configuration -M- takes the place
of the -HP of the first structure, similar to the -M stems of Lesson X
(color verbs, etc.).
Exercises: Conjugate all the inanimate stems of this lesson. Take
special care with the difficult verb SXINO, a compound of NANO. Better
review NANO first.
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SAPAPIXI: nitSAPAPIXISTAKI = I'm throwing into. (followed by pokun, the
verb means "to play basketball".)
sapapixistaxin (pokun) basketball
SAPOTO: , nitSAPOTOhp = to put into
SIKI: nitaiSIKIAKI, nitaiSIKIAw, nitaiSIKIhp = to cover
sikani (in.) = bed, quilt, blanket; pl. sikanisz = beds, bedd
sikanihkoi cotton
ONO: nitONOAw, nitONIhp = to recognize
AMA: nitauAMI, nitauAMATAw, nitauAMATOhp = to smell. take a smell of
IMI (an.). IMO (in.) = to smell, have an odor
ikaximo = it smells very good; pahximo = bad.
apauki = flint; otoan apauki = h:ils!h(J!r flint knife
IKtKA = to camp. make camp; ak!kani = a camp
-kimi- = earth; ihkfmiko earth, dirt, ground; otahkfmi = gold, brass
-skim = rock; mikskim = metal, iron
Transitive Inanimate: and Interrogative: As always, the
negative is formed by suffixing -EPA. -AZ etc.
The interrogative uses the suffixes without the prefix MAT-. The
conjugation is consistent for all known verbs:
1st person nimatohPATOhpaz nimatohPATOhpinanaz
matohPATOhpaz Configu
2nd person kimatohPATOhpaz kimatohPATOhpuwawa ration
3rd person I
4th person
3rd person matohPATOm(az) (aiye) matohPATOmaiszaw Configu
4th person matohPATOmazinai
ration II
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For Plural
1st person
2nd person
3rd person
4th person
3rd person
4th person
nimatohPATOhpaiszaw nimatohPATOhpinanaiszaw
matohP ATOhpaisz aw Configu
kimatohPATOhpaiszaw kimatohPATOhpuwawaiszaw ration I
matohPA.TOmaiszaw matohpA.TOmaixawaisz
ration II
Conjugate all the new transitive inanimates in both
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STA: nitaiST', nitaiSTATAw, nitaiSTATOhp = to think, wish, hope, like
(by incorporating the particles IK and XIM, this verb can be
intensified to become niziXST', niXfST', nitaiXUMST' etc.)
STAUT: , nitaiSTAUTOAw, nitaiSTAUZIhp == to insert, stick into.
stunatap- == dreadful, awesome
stunatapi == a danger, wonder
STUNO: nitSTUNOAw, nitSTUNIhp to fear, dread,
pist6-w = nighthawk
s:Lpisto-w == owl
maist6-w = crow
PASTA: nitaiPAST' == to build a bridge, to bridge.
(a)pastan(i) = bridge, Cut Bank (town)
PINA: nitaiPINAKI, , == to tear uP. break up, shred,
PANYOTOT: , nit aiPANYOTOaw, nitaiPANYdZIhp = to tear up
PIXI: niziPIX' & nitaiPIXI == I hammer, hit, strike (in baseball)
ihtaipixopi a hammer
dTAKOA: to give something to drink (to)
sai-, sau-, sa- = no, not
ive: In many languages, probably most, verbs are regarded:,as
having moods--somewhat like pets and people. Except for the few command
forms scattered through our lessons so far, we have studied verbs only
in the indicative mood. This is the mood used to state, question or
negate information. The command forms are in the ive mood, which

is used also to urge, suggest'land forbid. The other moods are subordinate
and so called subjunctives (or other names too numerous to mention). In
this lesson we shall review and expand our acquaintance with imperatives.
To form the imperative with one addressee, we simply add -T to the intransi
tive stem. If the addressee is plural, we add -K instead of the -T. To
negate these commands, we prefix PIN(i)-, MIN(i)- or NIN(i) to .the stem.
(It is the speaker's option which of these three he/she chooses.) To
suggest a course of action with "Let's" in English, we prefix AHKUN- (or
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some variation), and suffix the 1st person p l ~ r a l inclusive affix -OP.
This is negated by the insertion of SAI-. There is a rare imperative
meaning "let it be!" formed by prefixing ANI- as in ani-ahkaniszis = Amen.
If the command involves an object, we use the transitive stems: If the
object is singular (him/her), suffix -IS (-OK if pl. addressee), and -JSAW
(-OKAW) for plural object. These are negated by PIN-, MIN-, NIN-. But
if the object is inanimate, we go back to the suffix -T, attached now to the
inanimate stem, with the plural as -K. If the inanimate object is plural
these suffixes . become -TAW and -KAW. If we are suggesting with "Let's",
we prefix AHKUN- to either transitive stem and suffix -AW and -AIAW for
animate singular and plural and -IHP and -IHPIAW for inanimate singular
and plural. These suggesting forms are negated by SAI-. The examples
will make this 311 clear:
Positive Negative
PUHSAPOt Come here (you sing.) piniPUHSAPOt
PUHSAPOk Come here (you pl.) piniPUHSAPOk
ahkunOMAHKAop = Let's run! ahkunsaiOMAHKAop
AKOMIMMIs love him/her (you sing.) pinAKOMlMMIs
tirans. AKOMTIMMOk love him/her (you pl.) pinAKOMIMMOk
an. stem
AKOMfMMIsaw love them! pinAKOMIMMIsaw
love them! (you pl.) pinAKOMtMMOkaw
AKOMIZIt = love it! pinAKOMIZit
trans. AKOMIZlk love it! (you pI.) pinAKOMIZIk
in. stem AKOMIZItaw love them (in.)! pinAKOMIZItaw
AKOMIZIKaw love them! p inAKOMIZIkaw
trans. an. [AKOMfMMOkit = love me!
pinAKOMtMMOki t
centripetals AKOMIMMOKik = love me (you pl.)
AKOMlMMOkinan = love us! pinAKOMlMMOkinan
These last forms of course are centripetal and so must insert the -K(i)-.
The T-Stems must change the T to Z: e.g. PAZis = carry him!; pATok = carry
him (you pI.)! Note this change occurs only bef(D'Te 1. AUAZis = eat him!;
AUATok! The forms for the verb ihKOTA deserve special attention::
KOTAKlt, KdTAKik; KOZls, KOZisaw (an.); KOZit, KOZik (in.); and centrapetals
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
To mollify a command by saying "please", prefix NOHK-! nohkohKOkit,
nohkohKOkinan, To request that the act be repeated, prefix MAZI-:
maziKOkit. To make your request more urgent, add KIP- in front
(quickly!) : KipANlt! If you use IT- (the:q, there) in the imperative
and subjunctive, you must change it to -IST-: istAN{t!
Exercises: Explain these terms: P6tok = bring it!; puhsapiputot!;
puhsipim'; kotasix lnisaw! Pinipany6zit! Kip6takokit!
Iszip{t! (IPI = enter). Aniszi's!
Translate: Let's talk Indian! Let's talk Blackfeet! Let's talk French!
Let's talk English! Let's talk Spanish! Do not walk there alone! Let's
eat! Don't be afraid!; (you . & pl.), Help me (you, sing. &pl.)
Save me (you sing. & pl.)! Save us! Let us save ourselves! Let us build
a bridge here!
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AISXINO: nitAISXINEMAZTAKI, nitAISXINEMAZAw, = to teach (compound of
SXINO, which is a compound of NANO; it includes the causative
permissive sign -AZ-)
itaisxinemaztaki6pi & = school
a'iszinemaztaki teacher
aisxinemazaw (passive)'= student
aisxinemazixin = lesson
SAP-ASUYINA : , nitaiSAPASUYINIhp to pour into
AWAUPI = to swing; awiwupi = rocking chair
awawatuyix = movies
auAWANI = to fly
AMIAWANI = to fly up
PIAWANI = to fly far
auAWAPIXI = to swing, rock
SPOHPI: nltSPOHP I = to bounce
spop{i = turtle
TIH: , nitauzIPIAw, nitauzIPOHTOhp = to bring
bring here
Causative-Permissive: These forms are examples of verb stems added
together to reenforce the whole complex or to give it some special meaning.
They are based on the intransitive stem with transitive animate affixes.
The of "bhe causative-permissive, which means "to make or cause or to
allow, permit II, is -AZ:
nitAUYaziaw = I make or allow him/her to eat.
nitaiSIMIazaw = I make/allow him/her to drink.
nitSfxSTAKlazaw = I make/let him/her bite.
nitaiYIMazaw = I make/allow him/her to laugh.
p. 141-2) nitohPATAKIazaw
I make/let him/her carry.
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n1tSAPIAzaw = I make him see.
nitauXKASazaw I make him/her run.
nitaiOHZIMlazaw = I make/allow him/her to'i)hear.
nitaiOKazaw = I make/let him/her
nitaiPUYazaw = I make/allow him/her to speak.
nitAISXINEMazaw = I cause/allow him/her to learn (I teach),
Another causative sign is itself a verb stem, IPI, -PI, meaning "to
bring. It It often is coupled with AP (APO, OT (OTO), PUHS- etc. E.g.
PUHSAPfpis == br)ing him/her here; kitakitAPIPlo = I'll make you go there;
PUHSAPIPUHTOt = bring it here!
Still another v,.erb that shows a causative with the sign 1M: nitaiSPOHPlimaw
= I make him/her bounce.
Exercises: Conjugate AISXINEMAZA and any other four causative verbs.
Make up a schema opposing centripetals to their corresponding
centrifugals: e.g.
kitStXTAKlazo = I make you bite. kitSfxTAKlazoki you make me bite
Conjugate the various verbs we have using IFI.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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azu- = change, changing, instead of
AziPUYI = to interpret (see aiPUYI)
AZUAIPIXI = to change, replace (see APIXI)
AZUAIIHZIHTA = to change the mind (see MIZIHTA)
KAKIHZlMA (KAKIZlMA): nitaKAKIZIM(A), nitauKAKIZlMATAw, = to decide. judge
command; aukakizirnaki-w = a judge; aukakizimani = law, commandment,
zikaz! = grasshopper
omo- = together, gathering
OMOIPO: , nitOMOIPOTOhp to gather together
nitauMOIP Iozpinan (excl.) & auM6IPlozop (incl.) = we are gathered
together (reciprocal)
OMOAIPIXI to gather up
omdxin = a gathering, rodeo, round-up, "omoksee JI.
ota-w summer weasel
apa-w = winter weasel, ermine
apa-wapspi = huckleberry (-ies), blueberry ("weasel-eyes")
Subjunctives: There are three subjunctive moods in Blackfeet, or three
varieties of the subjunctive. They are used in clauses dependent upon
the main clause and tell, not so much of something factual, but of some
thing ideal or possible, something that ought to be, that threatens to
be etc. The first type of subjunctive that we shall consider is the one
Uhlenbeck calls the "conjunctive". The sign is the suffix -S-. Some
persons follow the -S- with an (i) and, some put a slight gutteral (H)
just in front of the -S-, but only the -S- seems essential. We have
already encountered a few terms that are in effect subjunctives, a whole
clause squeezed into a single word: apinakosi = tomorrow (when it is
morning); n!pusi in the summer (when it is summer); (i)stuyfs(i) in
the winter (when it is winter); motusi = & autusi = in the spring (when
it is spring); and mokusi & aukusi = in the fall (when it is autumn).
"When" clauses are usually subjunctives in Blackfeet, so are clauses
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beginning with "if" or "that" or ''because'' etc.--a11 of which are
dependent or subordinate clauses. (The main clause is in the indicative.)
Here is a conjugation of an intransitive verb OKA:
1 nitaiOKAs (nitaiOKAhsi) nitiiOKAsinan (-hsinan)
2 kitaiOKAs (-hsi) kitaiOKAsuaii (-hsuaii)
3 (ot) aiOKAs (-hsi) (ot)aiOKAsaw (-hsaw)
4 (ot) aiOKAsaiye (-hs aiye)
You can see that the prefixes are the series NIT-, KIT-, ( O T ~ ) , while
suffixes are the plurals -INAN, (none, but an -0- is inserted in
front of the subjunctive sign -S-), -SUAII and -SAW. The suffixes follow
the sign -S-. However there is a special pronominal series for clarity or
emphasis: N-AHK-, K-AHK-, M-AHK-. (The final -K d.f thd.s prefix does not
usually assibi1ate to X.) Here is a conjugation illustrating these
extended ixes (Uh1enbeck f s lito bite") :
1 nahk(it)SIXTAKlsi nahk(it)SIXTAKlsinan
2 kahk(it)SIXTAKlsi kahk(it)SIXTAKlsuaii
3 mahk(it)SIXTAKlsi mahk(it)SIXTAKlsaw
4 mAhk(it)SIXTAKlsaiye
Sometimes the pronoun prefix series is cut short to N-, K-, m-, and this
is done when we use a future subjunctive: N-ak-, K-ak-, M-ak-:
1 nakOKAs nakOKAsinan
2 kakOKAs kakOKAsuaii
3 makOKAs makOKAsaw
4 makOKAsaiye
These model verbs would be translated: when, (in order) ,that, because I
sleep, etc; when, that, because I bite, etc; When, that, because I shall
sleep, etc.
Luckily, the same prefixes and suffixes can be applied to the animate and
inanimate transitive stems--with a few exceptions. The exceptions involve
the problem of centrifuga1ity/centripeta1ity especially (to be treated in
the next lesson) and the loss of the -0- in 1st person plural inclusive.
But all that in good time ....
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Exercises: Conj OTO and APO in the subjunctive: First use
the normal pronominal ixes: nitOTOs(sI etc; then the expanded
ones: etc.; then the future nakOTOs etc.; then the past:
nikOTOs etc.
Translate: When it snows, I'm cold. When it's hot3 I feel like
going swimming. Why do you want to eat now? Because I'm hungry now.
When (If) I'm hungry, I always feel like eating. Black Eagle says that
you should give him sometliing to drink. You told me that I should
speak Blackfeet. I think we should ride our horses. I do not think
we;.should ride our horses. I do not think he'll go hunting. Itold
you to come to Cut Bank. I told you [some] people were coming here.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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xisziman (in.) a bead; pl. -manisz; isxlszaxin beadwork;
natoapixlsziman = rosary
nitaiISXISZAKI I do beadwork.
x{na-w & xinaa-w = coyote, bastard
aplsi & api+si = coyote, wolf
XISATA: nitalXASI, nit aiXISATAw, nitaiXISATOhp = to hide.
PAHP: nitaiPAHPUYII, nitaiPAHPUAw, : to strike, beat.
pahpaxxlsi-w = woodpecker
PAHPAKI = to brush
PAHPAPINIAPIXI = to twinkle the eye(s)
PAHT- = false, wrong; PAHZtw = it is wrong (in.)
false, mistaken, bad, wrong; PAHZAPIw = itfs a mistake (in.)
pardon me.
PAHZANI = to err in speaking
PAHZANISTO = to err in doing
INI: nitaiINI = I die; akaiINIw = he/she is (already) dead.
INITA: nizINIKI, nizINITAw &nitaiINITAw = to kill; in{ki a killer;
inita-w = a dead person, victim.
Transitive Subjunctives: In the last lesson we saw the conjugation of
{Ito bite" in the intransitive forms. For comparison here is the paradigm
of the same verb in the transitive animate:
1 m'ihkSIXIPAsi nahkSIXIPA(h)sinan
2 kahkSIXIPAsi

3 mahkSIXIPAsi (& ahkSIXIPAsi = passive) mahkSIXIPAsaw
4 mahkSIXIPAsaiye (& ahkSIXIPAsi = passive)
You will notice that the same affixes are attached in both paradigms, on
the transitive stem as well as the intransitive stem. The difference is
the loss of the vowe1-0- in 1st person plural inclusive from the
transitive stem.
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This, of course, is the paradigm for singular objects. For plural
objects it would run this way, either with the series of prefixes just
used or with these shorter ones:
1 .
nitSIXIPAix nitSIXIPA(H)sinaniaw
S IXIP A (H) saix
2 kitSIXIPAix kit S IXIFAix
3 otSIXIPAix
For the inanimate stem the affixes are the smne with singular objects:
1 ncfukSIXZIsi nahkSIXZIsinan
2 kAhkSIXZIsi kabkS IXZIsuaii
3 mahkSIXZIsi mahkSIXZIsaw(aiye)
4 mAhkSIXZIsi
And for inanimates with plural objects:
1 nitSIXZIsaw
2 kitSIXZIsaw kitS IXZIsuaiaw
3 otSIXZIsaw otSIXZIsawaiaw
The negatives are formed very simply by the insertion of -STAI- just
before the stem: e.g. nahkstaiSIXSTAKIsi; nahkstaiSIXIPAsi, nahkstaiSIXIPAix,
nahkstaiSIXZIsi and nahkstaiSIXZIsaw (or nitstaiSIXTAKIsi, nitstaiSIXUPAsi
etc.) These are also the interrogatives.
Exercises: Each student should select a merb with all three parts
(intransitive, transitive animate, transitive inanimate) and conjugate the
verb in all subjunctive forms with singular and plural objects for the
transitives, with all negatives, both in the past and future as well as
the "present".
TransJJate: He told you that you must go out. We told you that we would
go out. They told me not to do it (that I must not do it). We think
that he is alive. It is good for you to come here.
Translate: Kakihzimaiaw mahxipaskaniaw. KIZIM' nahksaxihsi.
Nitanik Sixi-pita ona iniw ahxinitahs.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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nitauAIAZTAw = I herd; auaiaztaw imahkihkini = a sheperd
AKA: nitOK', nit6KATAw. to rope, snare, lasso
akazis (in.) = a rope, snare, lasso; nitokazis = my rope & c.
Napiw okazis = a rainbow
akdkamap- = important, difficult
nitauPAMO (APAMOw) = to cross, go across.
IXKAPA: nitaiIXKAP', nitaiIXKAPAIAw, nitaiIXKAPATOhp to pull
AHKIAUP I = to stay home
AHKAPI: nitAHKAPIAw, nitAHKAPOHTOhp to bring home
otatuyi red fox ("yellow tail ")
AHSApSI = to be kind-hearted, compassionate; ahsap- = kind-hearted,
nitAHSAPSATAw = I am compassionate towards him/her.
Subjunctives: We are dealing here only
with the forms used in the "conjunctive" subjunctive. Here is a
paradigm of known forms:
nahkSIXIPIis (he---me) mlhkSIXIPlisinan (he---us:)
ahkSIXIPOkisi (he----us)
kAhkSIXIPtis (he---you) kahkSIXIPtsuaii (he---you pl.)
mahkSIXIPtis (4th----3rd)
It is understood that these forms have a singular agent, and also that
the more simple series of prefixes (NIT-, KIT-, OT-) would also be
acceptable. Now for the forms with plural agent:
nahkSIXIpfisaix (they---me) mihkSIXIPIisinaniaw (they---us)
ahkSIXIPOkisaw (they---us)
kahkSIXIPfis (they----you sing.) kahkSIXIPtsaix (they----you pI.)
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Centrifugal Centripetal
kahkSIXIPOhsi (I---you) kahkSIXIPOkisi (you---me)
kahkSIXIPOhsuaii (I---you pl.) kihkSIXIPOkisuaii (you pl.---me)
kahkSIXIPOhsinan (we---you sing. kahkSIXIPOk{sinan (you sing. &pl.---us)
& p.)
Exercises: Select a transitive stem other than SIXIP- and turn it
into all these forms. Then try another transitive stem. Make them
Translate: Sokapi kizinohs! (a common greeting. Remember NANO?)
Matahsiwa khkainoahs. Matahsiwa nahkainoahs. Nitauanikiaw nahkotakoahsaw.
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OZIZK-, OZISK-, IZK- = past, beyond, more
OZIZKAHSSIw (an.), OZIZKAHSIw (in.) = is better
MISTAPOTO = to take away
mokakin = pemmican (in.)
6x1n bed (standing), (in.), pl. uxisz; nit6xin = my bed
mokam- = straight, true; mokamot- &mokamotap- true
v v
MOKAMOTO; niziKAMOTO = to go straight

MOKAMOTANI = to speak the truth
motaiohki = sea, ocean
apisziskizi-w (in.) flower
kinyapisziskizi-w rose
kin! = rose, roseberry, tomato; pl. kinisz
akawzap-, akowap- = rich
aia = alas!
v v
ISTAMA: nitaiISTAMAZAw to show (to)
iumok- = crooked
ITOZZI-w = it fits, matches; 6mahkOZZI-w it's (too) big;
inakOZZI-w = it's (too) small.
, nIZKIZtMMAw, nIZKIZTOhp ('SKIZTOm) to surpass,
transcend, to outrun (in baseball, etc.)
Comparison of Adjectives: To derive comparative forms of an
adjective or adjective verb, prefix OZISK- in the manner shown with
AHSI in the vocabulary and conjugate as usual: e.g. oziskakawzap
richer; Sixi-Plta oZlskahssiw = Black Eagle is better; Sixi-plta
ozikahssiw, nistowa nimatAHSSI = Black Eagle is better than I am.
There are several ways to form the superlative: 1) Prefix KAN-,
KANAI- to the adjective (-verb): Kanaiahssiw = he's the best of all;
2) Prefix MISTAPO-: MISTAPOXAHSSIw = he's the far-and-away the best;
3) Prefix IK-: IKAHSSIw = he/she is very good; IKAHSSIw akiw = she is
a very good woman.
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Exercises: Form comparatives and superlatives of the adjectives
ahsap-, itamap-, xirnat-, sokap-, makap-, iumok- and three more of
your own choosing. Use some of these in sentences.
Translate: My shoes are too big. Your shoes are too small. The boys
are better when they play basketball, and the girls are better when
they play baseball. No, You are wrong. They all make many mistakes.
You are luckier than I am. Yes, but you are richer and lazier than I.
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NIPUYINA: , nizIPUYINAw, nizIPnYINlhp = to raise, lift
6konoki (in.) serviceberry; pl. dkonokisz
maz{-, -121- = sweet (to the taste)
maziPOK6w = it is sweet; ik!ziPOKdw it's very sweet.
ik!ziIMOw it smells very sweet
mazu{xkapayeni = cookie
mazin{ (in.) = tongue; nazinf' = my tongue; Uzin! = his/her tongue
MAZI = to be brave: nitAZI I am brave, a brave.
v... tI
mazi-w a brave; Mazix (a branch of the All Comrades)
m ~ z i s k i = wild, reckless
Ikanuhkahzi = the All Comrades Society
Kanazomita = the All Crazy Dogs Society (a branch of the All Comrades)
kanaitapi-w = everbody
klhz{pi- = spotted, painted; kihz{pimi-w = spotted (of animals), a
pinto pony; Kfhz{pimi-tapi = Cheyenne Indians, Cheyenne person
The Conditional unctive: The second type of subjunctive is the one
that involves mostly "if" clauses or "conditions". There are no
prefixes and only a minimum of suffixes. Here is Uhlenbeck's intransitive
paradigm: "To bite11
1 stXSTAKleniki
2 StXTAKleniki StXTAKIenoainiki
3 StXTAKleniki SfXTAKlsaw
4 SIXTAKlsaiye (borrowed from 1st subjunctive)
The Transitive Animate with Singular Object):
1 SfXIPAiniki StXIPAnaniki
2 StxIPAiniki StxIPAinoainiki
3 StXIPAiniki
(and if you want these 3rd & 4th forms, borrow
them from the Conjunctive Subjunctive.)
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The Transitive Inanimate (with Singular Obj ect) :
1 StXZIM!niki StXZIMinaniki
2 StXZIMfniki StxZIMenoainiki
3 StXZIM!niki
(Other forms optional or borrowed)
To get plural objects, simply add -AU for both the animates and
inanimates. Why couldn't the other paradigms have been this simple?
Examples with translations: the translations may use if, when or
whenever usually with reference to the future: 6kainiki, nit3xipapauk'
if I sileep, I'll dream. (Instead of I, this could be you, he or she.)
Otoieniki, akahkaiop = If I (you, he, she) come, we'll go home.
Paskaoki, axinihkiop = When We dance, we'll sing.
Exercises: Conj any three verbs of your choice in all three
Translate: If he s s, his horse will take off. If we
baseball, we'll win. If the girls play basketball, they will win.
If we hunt elk, we'll see rabbits. If you bake cookies, I'll eat them.
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KONO: , nfohKONOAw, n:!tohKONIhp = to find
kom6zi- = honest, sincere; kom6zitapi = an honest person
nit6hKONITAKI I am sorry, contrite, mourn
I conjure, make medicine
motok!s, -otoki = hide (an. generally, but in. after a certain
stage of curing); notokis my skin; 6kotok!s = rawhide; ot6kis
egg-shell; ini6tokis buffalo hide; oto1ki = kidney; autoxinazi
izimani = parfleche; pl. izimanisz
ohKITUP I; ni.to1hl.ZITUPI, nitohKITUPATAw, nit6hKITUPATOhp = to ride .(as a horse)
IZKO: niztZKO, nitOZtZKATAw &nizIZKATAw, to overtake, pass beyond,
IZKA: nitaiIZK', nitaiIZKAMAw, = to fight
ikam- = if, if eventually, perhaps
ok- = raw
SKUNAKA: n{tSKUNAKI, nit SKUNAKATAw , nitSKUNAKAZlhp to shoot (at)
Conditional Subjunctive Continued: The prefix lKAM- may be placed in
front of a conditional (or other) subjunctive to emphasize its special
meanings. Also, a future sign MAK- or MAX- may a Conditional
Subjunctive to stress the future: e.g. ikami6kainiki, makauziminiki. The
conditional subjunctive is negated by SAI- or SAU- or s+sau-):
e. g. sais!xtaki-eniki, saisixtakinaniki, saisiXtakienoainiki, auotoieniki.
All of this is simple enough, but there is, of course,-more complication
in the centrifugal- centripetal forms.
Centrifugal Centripetal
S1xIPOeniki = if I bite you StKIPOkieniki = if you bite me
S:lXIPAino.iiniki = if I/we bite you pI. StXIPOkienoainiki = if you pl.
bite me/us
S:lXIPOinaniki if we bite you StxIPOkimfniki = if you bite us
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In other forms a -Z- is inserted:
SfXIPOZeniki = if he bites me/you; if 4th bites 3rd
S1XIPOZinaniki = if he bites us (excl)
SfxIPOZenoainiki = if he bites you. pl.
SfXIPOZenikiaw = if they bite me/you
SIXIPOZinanikiaw = if they bite us (excl.)
SIXIPOZenoainikiaw = if they bite you pl.
There is also an indefinite passive form for the Conditional Subjunctive:
e.g. SKUNATAhki = he was shot (at).
Exercises: Select two of the verbs of this lesson and put them in to
all the forms of the Conditional Subjunctive.
Translate: If we go hunting, we'll shoot at some buffalo.
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-oni, -uni = day; ON1w = it is a day (of 24 hours).
matuni = yesterday; mistapottlni = day before yesterday
kiskan- = morning; xiskanyotoni (in.) = morning; xiskany6tonisi = in the
morning, when it is morning (subjunctive)
xiskanyaawahsin (in.) = breakfast
nlzIXKANYOI = I eat breakfast.
skonatap-, iskonatap- = strong, hard-working, useful;
n1tSKONATAPs' = I am strong etc: SKONATAPsiw (an.), SKONATAPiw (in.)
SKOMAHKA = to run back
SKOTO = to take back (see MATO)
SKOTAHKA1I = to go back home (see AHKAI1): skotahkyapomahka-w = one
who runs back home. makes a homer (in baseball) (see APO, OMAHKA, SKO).
niskunix(Napi's name for the animals; see SKUN = my little brother)
nitskunitamix = my pets
XISZ1: nitaiXISZI. nitaiX1SZISTOZIhp = to be ready
~ u A W A H K A = to walk about
APAWAWAHKA = to wander, travel
Numerals for Counting This series of numeral verbs resembles the
series for counting years of age. The "day" here is one of 24 hours by
the clock or one day and one night by the old count. The series is
based on the verb ONI, though often the 0 becomes AU:
1 aitoxkaUNIw 6 AUN1w 11 aizikoputONIw
2 aistokiAUNIw 7 auhkizikiUNIw etc.
3 aioxkAUNIw 8 anisONIw
4 aisONIw 9 aipihxONIw
5 aistONIw 10 c1ipONIw
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Though it is doubtful that there are precise rules for these forms,
here are a few more on record: it is 20 days aiszipONlw
it is 21 days nizipo-aizikoputONlw
it is 30 days aiipONIw
it is 40 days aisipONlw
it is 50 days aisizipONlw
Exercises: Conjugate tSTOTOhsi, aiISIZTAKI, aiISISZ!MAw and
(ai) ISZUMOKI. Make up conversations with a partner involving buying
and selling articles that cost in the range of 40 and 50 dollars.
Discuss persons: of that age.
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IMOKtKA to sKate :::::l
--'I:- ,'",
ISKAZI = to race
xiw-awakasi = spider; xiw-awakasiw = web
KAPI- = to crawl
nitauAISKAPI = I crawl.
nitJiISTAHKAPI I crawl in; to set (of the sun)
nitaiSAISKAPI = I crawl out; to rise (of the sun)
OTAMISKAP I = to dawn
AMISKAPI to crawl up or south
= berry soup
mfniokakin = berry pemmican
miniohki = wine
mokakin = pemmican
The Potential Subjunctive: Just as the second type of subjunctive,
the Conditional, was the easiest to learn, so the last type is the
hardest. You may not use it often, but at least you should understand
what it is all about. One reason why it is difficult is that it deals
with non-reality, and this world is so full of people who cannot tell
the real from the unreal, that it's not wonder they are troubled by
this type of language. Still, perhaps just studying the language
problem will eventually help you to distinguish the life problem of
Real vs. Unreal. Uhlenbeck calls this subjunctive the irrealis. It
is characterized by the suffix -OPI (-TOPI) and by a set of variable
prefixes: a series based on IKAM- to express a wish for an ideal, and
another seraies based on AHK-STAI- to express something like the
English "would ... if .. The series AHK-STAI-, of course, has tI.
its alternate in a series AHK-STAU-. We have seen already that STAI
(STAU-) is a negative in the first type of subjunctive. It sometimes
seems close in meaning to the English word "would" as, for example, is
the common polite way of inviting someone to dance (coupled here with
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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the "future" sign AK-): Ki. ,takstaipa'sk.a?* Many sentences of the
Potential Subjunctive are of the type used in a once-popular song
"If I knew you were coming, I'd have (would have) baked a cake."
Notice ,that both clauses in this sentence express a condition that is
actually unreal. Or take another example: "If I were you, I'd have
slapped his face."
Here is an intransitive conjugation using AHKSTAI- and Uhlenbeck's
"To bite":
1 nahkstaiSIXTAKIhtopi = if I might bite... nahkstaiSIXTAKIhpinanopi
2 kahkstaiSIXTAKlhtoPQ kahkstaiSIXTAKIhpuwawopi
3 ahkstaiSIXTAKIwopi ahkstaiSIXTAKIuopiaw
4 ahkstaiSIXTAKIuopinai
The transitive Animate with Singular Objects:
1 nahkstaiSIXIPAwopi nakstaiSIXIPAnanopi
3 ahkstaiSIXIPlwopi(aiye) ahks t aiSIXIP iwop iaw(aiye)
4 ahkstaiSIXIPlwopinai
The plural object forms replace -OPI with -OPIAW for'lst and 2nd
persons, and add -AIX to 3rd and 4th persons.
The transitive Inanimate with Objects:
1 nahkstaiSIXZIhtopi nahkstaiSIXZIhpinanopi
2 kahkstaiSIXZIhtopi kahkstaiSIXZIhpuwawopi
3 ahkstaiSIXZImopi(aiye) ahkstaiSIXZImop iaw(aiye)
4 ahkstaiSIXZImopinai
The plural object forms replace -OPI with -OPIAW for 1st and 2nd
persons, and add -AISZ to the 3rd and 4th persons.
* may, however be a mistaken form for
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Here are a few more examples for variety:
nitAHSZIhtopi = I would go if I wanted to (mwould
have gone, if I had wanted to). Notice the verb OMATO in .the first
clause and the use of the Potential Subjunctive in both clause. Note
too that both clauses express something that is not real in actuality.
nahkstauAHKYAUPIhtopi, sai<1TAwopi = I would stay home, if it rained (I
would have stayed home if it had rained. Notice the verb AHKAIUP1.
nahkstauM0ZAwopi, nizfKAHTaumawopi = I would have won, if I had gambled.
nikamohkUY1htop i = How I wish I might eat!
nikamSIM1htopi = How I wish for a drink!
nikamAKOZAPStopi = How I'd like to be rich!
Exercises: We would have come if we had wanted to. They would have
stayed at home if it had rained. You would have won if you had gambled.
How I wish I had won! Dh that you coiIIld come home! (begin with kika:m-.)
Dh, that Black Eagle would hunt elk!
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xiszik6si = during the day (subj.)
xiszikdmstazis = window
xist6hzi (krist6hzi) at random, in vain
x!stapi = at random, in vain, for
XISTAPO = to wander
XISTOHKOTA = to give is
XISTAPANI = to tell
IXA: , nizIXAw, to stick, pierce, innoculate, vaccinate
moxis = awl; mox!x pl.; nox!s my awl
pumap- = good; PUMAPSlw (an.), PUMAPlw (in.) is good.
ihtaipuyopi = telephone
nitaiSAIYAIPUYI = I am silent.
kutaiaipuyi-w = mute
Potential Subjunctive--Negatives: The problem of negating potential
subjunctives is a little different from other negations, if only because
it involves negating that which is actually unreal or merely
potential. Furthermore, one element in the forms is -STAI
(STAU-), which is itself a negative of sorts. One way to make the
negation is to prefix KUrAI-, KUTAU-, inserted between the pronominal
series and the stem. Another method is to insert SAI-, SAU, in the
v Y.,
Here are some s.amples:
nikutaiSIXTAKIhtopi; nikutaiSIXIPAwopi; nahkstaisauSIXTAKlhtopi;
nghkstaisauSIXIPAwopi; nahkstaisauSIXZlhtopi;
nikcrmsauSIXIPAwopi, etc. In English these would translate into "that
I might not bite", ''how I wish I might not bite" etc. Note that
English--like Blackfeet, sometimes uses this kind of sentence without
any word for "if": e.g. ''Had I known him better, I would not have hired him".
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Exercises: Read these sentences -- nahkstaumatohtopi kutaisotawopi.
Translate: If I seek, I'll find. If I would seek, I would find. If I
don't seek, I won't find. If I would not seek, I would not find. Had
I not gone there I would'not have seen you. Would you have married him
had you known he had ten children? If I had known, I would not have
married him. Would you have married him if he were not rich? No, if
he were not rich, I would not have married him.
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pun (an.) = a bracelet; pl. punix;
nitohPUNI = to have or wear a bracelet.
PAldTAw = he/she flies; a bird
XISTO: nitaiXISTOI, niziXtSTOWATAw, = to promise
ASTA: (usually with IT) nizitASTAKI, nizitASTAw. nizitASTOhp to put (there)
nitASZINAKI = I issue rations;
(ASZINAw) = to draw rations
iszinan (in.) = rations; pl. -nanisz
nat6ixisziko = Sunday, week
sikatoixiszikd' = Monday ("Sunday' s
itaihtazikyinikiopi = Tuesday (v. tazik-, iniki)
itaihtazikaszinaupi = Wednesday
namaixiszikd' Thursday ("just a day")
itaiinikiopi Friday
itaszinaupi = Saturday
Potential Subjunctive: The centripetal
forms typically have the usual sign -KI:
Centrifugal Centripetal
kahkstaINOhtopi = I would see (have kahkstaINOkihtopi = you would see
seen) you (have seen) me.
kahkstaINOhpuwawopi == I--you pI. kahkstaINOkihpuwawopi = you pl.--me
kahkstaINOhpinanopi we--you sing. & pl. kahkstaINOkihpinanopi
you sing. & pl. -- us
Centripetals (with Singular Agent)
I nahkstaINOkopi he would see = he would see
(have seen) me (have seen) us (excl.)
ahkstaINOkiwopi = he---us (inc.)
2 kahkstaINOkopi = he---you kahkstaINOkawopi = he---you pl.
3 mahkstaINOkopi 4th---3rd
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Centripetals (with Plural Agent)
1 nahkstaINOkopiaw = they---me nahkstaINOkinanopiaw = they--us (excl.)
ahkstaINOkiopiaw = they---us (incl.)
2 kahkstaINOkopiaw they---you kahkstaINOkowawopiaw = they---you pl.
Exercises: Conjugate three verbs in all the Centrifugal-Centripetal
forms of the Potential Subjunctive.
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matomohzi = first; (m)atom- = first
= last; sako- = last
nazauhzi last; naz- = last
AKANA: , nitAKANAw, nitAKANIhp = to hurt, injure
auAKUZIw it's boiling, fizzing effervencing; aisakuzi-w beer
aiPANIw = it clears up (of the weather).
nitauAZIM' (auAZIMAw) = to invite
KAIIHZIw ,= there is room, space.
ins1man(i) (in.) = a plant, seed, grain; insimapikoan = farmer (white)
napayeninsiman = wheat; ihtaiinsimahpi = garden, farm
IxPIKAw = it's sticky; ixpika- = sticky
imat-, imaz- = almost, nearly
nitaiIMATAw = I imitate.
aixist6matomahka-w = automobile (v. OMATO, IMAHKA)
nitauMATAPO (OMATAPO) = to begin, start, travel
, nitaiSAMMAw, nitaiSAZIhp = to look for, seek.
KANYOTO: nitaiKANydTAKI, nitaiKANYOTOAw, = to catch (exactly)
(used for catching a ball); aikany6taki-w = catcher (in baseball)
apohkipi (in.) = field
The Ordinal Numerals: The ordinal "first" is the single exception.
Otherwise ordinals are based on the combining forms of the numbers prefixed
by OMOHT-, OMOHZ- and suffixed by -PI (animate) or -HPI (inanimate). The
animate forms are not often used, but the inanimate one occur frequently,
and especially as adverbs. Here are some of them as inanimate:
amoh z ISITOhp i
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10th omohzIPOhpi 11th 6mohzIZIKOP1ITOhpi
etc., etc.
There are several other series of numeral. One is the "multiplying
adverbs": once, twice, thrice, four times etc. But these are
practically identical to the inanimate cardinal numerals: 'toxkai,
natokai, niuoxkai, nis6yi etc.
Combining forms can be incorporated into the verbal roots to indicate
the number of times an act was performed. Take for example the verb
ANISZI = to do: niztT-ANISZI = I did it once.
nizISTOK-y-ANISZI = I did it twice.
nizdXK-ANISZI = I did it thrice times.
nizIS-ANISZI = I did it four times.
niz[$.IT-ANISZI I did it five times, etc.
There are also several distributive series involving the use of the
prefix KANAI-, KABAU- (one to each, two to each, etc.). These have
animate, inanimate and verbaliized forms. But it seems unnecessary
to include them in an elementary course, so I shall just refer the
aspiring student to Uh1enbeck's Grammar, pp. 129-130.
Exercises: Instead of ANISZI, try the exercise given above with three
other verbs and in other persons, e.g. aiPUYI. Complete the series to
"ten times".
Count with the ordinals to the 20's. Use them with animate and inanimate
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nizIZI (IZIw) == to be ripe, well, healthy (cf. MAZI sweet)
oziszlni == strawberry (-ies)
ozisa = cactus
nitOZISI, , nitOZISATOhp = to smoke (as a pipe)
ihtozisop pipe
nitaiSIKAKI == I kick.
koap- = useful; koapi = a useful thing
nitohKOAIMI, n{tohKOAIMAw, n{tohKOAIZihp == to profit by
ohkuinimani (in.) "" pipe; nitahkuinimani == my pipe (for smoking)
sikohkycliyo black bear
== dream bear
xahkum(a) (krahkum) (an.) earth, world, land; zahk6i (in.) = a of
== country, land; = my country
awat6hpi-w xahkum = there's an earthquake.
hk" . 1 1 d
o 0 = reservatl0n, communa an
SAUOTO = to take away, off, out (may be cut to SAUTO + MO; see MATO)
nitsAUTOAw, nitSAUZIhp I take away, off, out, from.
POKAII: nitaiPOKAII (aiPOKAlIw) to be born; pokaup == baby, catbird
Accommodative Forms: There are both positive and negative aspects of the
accommodative forms, that is, they may be used to express doing something
to help or to harm someone else or to do something instead of someone else.
In either case, they may most often be translated with the preposition
"for". They are constructed by the insertion of the infix -MO- or -TOMO
at the end of the verb stem: nitaiKAKO-MO-Aw I chop (wood) for him.
nitAUATO-MO-Aw I eat for him.
But sometimes the verb becomes accommodative without these infixes:
nitaihKITOAw = I (look for him/her. {also ni.tauYIAw <YOSI.)
nitaiSAPIAw = I look for him/her.
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And not always are favors expressed:
sautomoyiuaiye otokani he scalped him.
It is therefore difficult to formulate the accommodatives on your own,
but some forms are exceedingly useful and can easily be learned:
nitauAZIMOIHKAHKOHTOMOAw = I pray for him/her.
nitaiISINOMOAw = I erase for him/her; I forgive him/her.
nitAPISTOTOMOAw = I make (something) for him/her.
nizlNIHKOHTOAw & nitaINIHKOHTOAw = I sing for him/her.
nitAPOTOMOAw = I work for him/her.
Exercises: Conjugate the various accommodative verbs in this lesson.
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azizix = mittens, gloves; nozlzix = my mittens, gloves.
xislis (an.) == thorn; xislix pl.; xislsko thorn-bush
ihKIZtw == try dry
manisz1 (in.) = travois; nuniszl = my travois
maziwap-, mazowap- = handsome, beautiful; MAZOWAPSIw (an.), MAZOWAPlw (in.)
in6hsuyi (an,) = spoon; inrxfnohsuyi = teaspoon
NANO The verb NANO deserves a lesson by itself, one which can be
referred to from time to time by eager students. Here it is at the
end of the line where you can find it easily. The transitive animate
conjugation is:
1 nitaINOAw* nitaINOAnan
2 kid.INOAw kitaINOAwawa
3 aINOAw
4 aINOAinai
With plural animate
objects the paradigm
2 kit a INOAiaw
3 aINOAiaw
3 ciINOfuaix aINO{awaix
4 aINOinaiaix
But another possible set of paradigms is also possible:
*Fina1 -w -wa, throughout,
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I nizINOAw
2 kiztNOAw
4 NANOAinai
3 NANO[uai NANO::!awai
4 NANOfnai
And a similar conjugation for the plural objects.
Centrifugal Centripetal
kitaINO = I see you kitaINOki = you love me.
kitaINOhpuwaw ;::: I see you pl. kitaINOkihpuwaw = you p. love me.
kit aINOhpinan we see you sing. & pl. kitaINOkihpinan = you sing. &
pl. love me.
The Centripetal Conjugation:
I nitaINOk fnitaINOkinan
1.. NANOkiw
2 kitaINOk kitaINOk
3 otaINOk
And with Plural agent:
I nitaINOkiaw [nitaINOkinaniaw
l NANOiaw
2 kitiINOkiaw kitaINOkiaw
3 otaINOkaix otaINOkaix
The Conjugation for the Conjunctive Subjunctive begins
nitaINOAhs' etc. or niztNOAhs ' etc.
Tlie Conj.ugation for the Conditional
Subjunctive; Animate Singular:
I NANOAiniki NANOAnaniki
2 NANOAiniki NANOAino a'iniki
3 NANOAiniki
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The Conjugation for the Conditional Subjunctive.
Inanimaee Singular:
I NANim{niki NANiminaniki
2 NANim!niki NANimino,Hniki
3 NANim(aiye)
It should be understood that the forms beginning with N i l l ~ - could also
have been AIN- (e.g. aINOAiniki. aINiminiki. aINim)
Passive: {nako & ainako (3rd sing.)
Exercises: Conjugate all useable forms of this verb. Then do the same
Then choose one of these verbs and make all its forms negative.
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maziwap-, mazowap- = handsome, beautiful, good-looking;
MAZOWAPSlw v, an., MAZOWAPlw v. in.
kisuminihxini in. = moon-song
inikat- since a long time , a long time since
,HSAMOw it is a long time; akaisrimo-w = it's already a long time.
" = a sarn- long time
SAMIS- to take a long time: nitaiSAM'S & nitaiSAMIS (aiSAM'SIw
misamoyi a long time
puhsapohzi = since that time
There are many idiomatic expressions in language for
"How long does it take to ?1I "How long ago was it
that ?1! "It was three years ago that .. ," and so on. Here are some
of such sentences in Blackfeet to serve as models:
Za-anisz{s samowa akizitOTOpa Uniki-sisahtai? How long will it take
for us (incl.) to get to Milk River?
Za-kanisz!s samowa kitakizitOTOhpa tlniki-siE;ahtai? How long will it
take for you (sing.) to get to Milk River?
Za-aniszis samowa riitakizitOTOhpa Uniki-sisahtai? How long will it
take for me to get to Milk River?
Za-aniszis samowa akizitOTOwexaw uniki-sisahtai? = How long will it
take for them to get to Milk River?
s8:mowaz kizizitOTOhpa .Uniki-siE;ahtai? How long did it take
you to get to Milk River?
nituminaziaw;;: they match (each other).
'niszinaziaw = they match (each other).
matumohzinazi-w = it also matches. (Note the use of MOaT-.)
itumoht'niszinaziaw = they match (each other), go well together.
nizinam eni in6hxisi = it looks like an
nizinamiaw eni ponokai they look like elk.
nanisz!na eni {mitaw I look like a dog.
kaniszina !mitaw you look like a dog.
niszinam eni imitaw = he looks like a dog.
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mataniszin!m(az) eni {mitaw = he/she does not look like a dog.
nizinamiaw eni {mitaw = they look like dogs.
eni {mitaw = they do not look like dogs.
Of .Ikk' Ok' h (f )fO 0 ttethelackof
a = my s oes ootwear me K. b dO
ver en
nimazitozzikaki' nazikisz == my shoes do not fit me (well).
6mahkoi' nazikisz = my shoes are too big; inakozzi I == they are too small.
za-anistapsiwaz? = What's it (an.) like?
anistapsiw ponokawmita-w = it's like a horse.
za-anistap{waz ::: What's it (in.) like?
nistapiw misz!s = it's like a tree (in.)
Exercises: With the examples above as your models, oompose sentences
of your own about matching colors, chairs, tables, clothes, and about
the fit of clothes, e.g. as6kasim, nizdmokan, kizumokan, mazix, kiz1zikin,
spikizikin, iszik{zikin, spiszik{zikin, {psazis etc.
Compose sentences about things that look alike or people who resemble
each other.
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aso-, so- == cover, covering
(a)sokasim(i) in. == coat, shirt, dress; pl. -asisz; nisokasim ==
my coat etc.
xistokisOkasim == shirt
(N)fTANISZINAm an., (N)fTANISZINAZlw in. to look like, look as if
NIZINAm an., NIZINAZlw in. == to look like, look alike, resemble (usually
followed or
NITUMAZINAm an., in. == to fit, match, go well
ITOZZI == (to be) together, side by side; to fit, match, belong, go well
apik{szikomokos = bowl (of porcelain or pottery)
maasi == a root, turnip (combining form ":" , any edible root, an.
nitzika'pas (i) =. carrot
pisazinikimi = wild onion
ihtawkopskawpi in. == cabbage (what we make soup with)
in. == root (of a tree)
Matching: To talk about the fit of clothing and the matching of colors,
furniture etc., use expressions like those that follow. with the verb ITOZZI,
which is also used in counting money. There are other possible idioms also.
nisittJisina it6zzi kip&nauxi == (it costs) five dQllars (paper) and
ten cents ($5.10).
kiS'okasim it6zziwa == your coat fits (you)
kis6kasim 6mahk-ozzi-wa == your coat is too big for you.
kis6kasim inak-ozzi-wa == your coat is too small for you.
mahxinazi itozzi:"'wa otahkuinazi = red goes well with yellow.
ozkuinazi maz-it6zzL-wa otahkuinazi = blue also goes well with yellow.
(Note the use of the inanimate form of color terms for the
color noun itself.)
nizitozzi-wa nisokasim == my shirt fits me (well).
kimazitozzihpa == it does not fit you.
ikomahko-w it's much too large; ix{nakozzi-wa it's much too small.
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-SIXlCA- (S'XKA-) to measure: nitaiS'XKAKI. nitaiS'XKOAw. nit&iS'XKOIhp
(There appears to be an I commonly dropped out of this stem, and
the -AI- prefix is also slurred to sound like A.)
-sixka 'xka) = a measure. number (as indicated in this lesson)
- o k ~ z i foot (a measure)
SINI- = to measure (cloth): nitaiSINAw. nitaiSINIhp (-AI- like -X-)
UTA- = to measure (as with a measuring cup): nitUTAKI. nitUTAKATOhp.
ihtriis'xkakiopi = a marker, ruler. measuring tape.
pistokuyis wall
kapustiman wall (standing)
punikatan = dew-cloth, tipi lining. wall; an., pl. -tanix
nitokizaxin = inch (-uks'xkaxin?)
ihtaistuyimiopi an. = thermometer
Kanispai = Kalispell (the town; see nietahtai for the tribe.)
SPlw = is high. tall, an. & in.: SPIim in.; SPITAw an. of persons;
SPIMIw an. of animals; SPIXIm an. of trees; SPIXlw in. of trees.
There is also an impersonal form nitSpITAw.
INdSIm = is long an.; INOlw in.; also an impersonal form nizLNOIw
APAKSIw = is wide an.; APAKIw in.; also an impersonal form nitAPAKIw
izistapi = adding, plus
itonkizoyopi = table
apix{kai = alphabet (it leans against)
Measuring: This lesson is devoted to measurements. which course are
part of the world-view (or should I say "myth"?) introduced by the white
people. but which became important during the fur trade. The methods
used to express measures are probably best learned from examples. But
we must bear in mind that the units of measure (inches, feet. miles) may
not always have been clearly distinguished and that such terms may better
be translated as "measure": "This is three measures long". etc.
Here are some examples:
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nisit6kazi nitspftawa Little Owl is five feet tall.
Miszis nizispixlw = the stick is one foot high.
Ihtais'xkakiopi nizlnoiw = the ruler is one foot long.
Amo itohkizoyopi nizinoiw ki oma itohkizoyopi = This table is
one foot long and that table is five feet (long).
natokio'kazi The table is two feet (long).
Natoki's'xkaxin it's two inches (long).
Niuoxkohkazi iz{stapi istuki-s'xkaxin it's three feet two inches (long or
(Expressions like niz{noiw and nitapakiw may precede or follow.)
To say "Number one, number two" etc., you attach -S'XKA after the numberal:
nitoxka-s'xka (slxka) = number one
niuoxkai-s'xka = number three
nai-s'xka = number six
ihkizfkai-s'xka = number seven; etc.
Similarly, to say that a pupil is in such-and-such a grade, you use this
expression in this manner with the verb ANI:
Kihz{pi-pita aiitawANIw nisito-s' xka = Spotted Eagle is in the fifth grade.
Again similarly, you number lessons and other items this way:
esxinemazixin natokai-s'xka = lesson number two or second lesson.
The transformative suffix introduced in Lesson XXIX, -ASI (-WASI), is also
used to measure milage. To reply to questions Kanispai?
(How far is (it to) Kalispell?), you can use this numerical series:
anaukawasi-w = it's half a mile (to, away, etc.)
inakanaukawasi-w it's a quarter of a mile ..
nitoxkawasi-w it's one mile .
natokiawasi-w it's two miles ..
niuQxkawasi-w = it's three miles ..
nisoawasi-w = it t s four .miles ...
nisitoawasi-w = it's five miles ..
nawawasi-w = it's six miles ...
iihkiz{kawasi-w = it's seven miles ..
nanisoawasi-w = it's eight miles .
pihxoawasi-w = it's nine miles ...
k '" = it , s ten mi 1 1pawaS1-W es
Exercises: Compose a dialogue of queries and replies about. the distance to here
or there. Measure a number of items about the room ; a book, a table, a chair,
the blackboard (ohkotoksinaxin).
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Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
inakimi (papdsi) = baby, infant
IHZI- = equals (in math equations) cf. -HTA
XIXIMOKI to whistle: nitaiXfXIMOKI
OKITSTO- to save, aside: nitOKITSTOhp
1STA1I = to dive: niziSTA11 (STA11w)
sapAkohtohp = multiplied by
ominiosihp = divided by
OM1N1- = to break up, smash: nit3wM1N10K1
Akotstuyi = winter's here!
-ixi- = in a row (an infix involved in counting-terms)
itanazi = minus, subtract, less (made fewer) cf. ANAT-
More on Arithmetic: Examples of arithmetic statements follow:
+ 2 4 natokai ki natokai niso.
5 2 = 3 nisito itanazi natokai (nisitd m{staputot mftokai)
3 x 2 6 niuoxkai lsapa
ohtohp ihta'w.
" II
3 x 4 12 niuoxkai nisoisapakohtohp ngzikoputo.
2 4 naniso natoki-6miniosihp ihziso'.
8 7- 4 2 naniso nis6i-ominiosihp Ihzistokaw. "
Hint: It is advisable in counting or doing arit.hmetic to distinguish
carefully in pronunciation between 13 (nikoputo) and 16 (naik6puto).
The numerical series for "equals" in equations runs this way:
it equals. makes one 1HXftoxka-w
two 1HZistoka-w
three 1HZi6'xka-w
four 1HZiso-w
five 1HZisito-w
six 1HT4-w
seven 1HTohkizika-w
eight 1HTaniso-w
nine 1HTpihxo-w
ten 1HZik!po-w
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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Plural forms can be made for the verb if you want them.
Exercises: Your turn, now, to make up a series of arithmetic equations
in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and express them
all in the Blackfeet language.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
From this point on, through Lessons 61-70, the work will supplement and
review what we have studied previously. These final lessons can be
inserted in whole or at earlier stages of the course as the teacher
deems suitable. They are planned for flexibility.
to buck (as a horse); nitohKOKAKINlAP IX , (ohKOKAKINIAPIXIw)
OTAKSINA- =to draw a circle: nitOAKSfNAIhp
aisazaki-wa = carpenter
6mahk{na-w == old man
-PAPIXI = to rear: nitaiPAPIXI ai)PAPIXIw)
SPOHPI == to bounce, rebound: n{tSPOHPI (SPDHPIw)
-KIAPIXI = to gallop: nitawKIAPIXI (awKfKPIXlw)
which also means "to trot".
AWATO = to travel: n{tAWATO (AWATOw)
Speaking of Ages: Review Lesson XIX. To continue the numerical series begun
in that lesson, we shall need this series for the decades to answer the
question Za-kan{sz{sSTUYIMfhpa?
nazipuiSTUYIMlw = he/she is 20 years old; niz I'm 20 years old.
nlpuiSTUYIMlw = he/she is 30 years old; etc.
nis{puiSTUYIMIw he/she is 40 years
nisiz{puiSTUYIMlw = he/she is 50 years old.
naipu.iSTUYIMlw = he/she is 60 years old.
ihkizikipuiSTUYIMlw = he/she is 70 years old.
nanis{puiSTUYIMlw = he/she is 80 years old
pihx{puiSTUYIMlw = he/she is 90 years old.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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The numerical series to use for "equals" in equations runs this way:
(it, they) make(s), equal(s) one IHZftoxkaw
two IHZistoka-w
three IHZi6xka-w
four IHZiso'
five 1HZisito'"
six IHTaw
seven IHTohk{zika-w
eight IHTaniso
nine IHTpihxo
ten IHZiklpo
To continue the numerical series for counting age in years, begun in Lesson
XIX, there follows the decade series: nizinazipuiSTUYIMI = I'm 20 years old .--
nazipuiSTUYIMIw he/she is 20 years old. etc.
n{puiSTUYIMIw = he/she is 30 years old.
nisipuiSTUYIMIw he/she is 40 years old.
nisiz{puiSTUYIMIw he/she is 50 years old.
naipuiSTUYIMIw = he/she is 60 years old.
ihkiz{kipuiSTUYIMIw he/she is 70 years old.
nanis{puiSTUYIMIw = he/she is 80 years old,
pihx{puiSTUYIMIw = he/she is 90 years old.
Notice how much easier this series is than the earlier one. So here is another
easy numerical series for counting money less than one dollar;
nitanauxi one cent nis!panauxi forty cents
nisitanauxi = five cents omahkanauxi fifty cents
. .
kipanauxi = ten cents nallpanaUXl sixty cents
nazipanauxi = twenty cents ihkiz{kipanauxi = seventy cents
inakanauxi = twenty-five cents = seventy-five cents
n{panauxi = thirty cents = eight cents
pihxfpanauxi = ninety cents
To talk about the fit of clothing and the matching of colors, use expressions
like those that follow, with the verb ITOZZI; which is also used in counting
nisitl1isina it6zzi kipanauzi = (it costs) five dollars and ten cents.
kisokasim it6zziwa = your coat fits (you well); (also kiZit6zzi-wa).
kisokasim omahk-ozzi-wa = your coat is too big for you.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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kis6kasim = your coat is too small for you.
mahxinazi itozzi-wa otahkuinazi = red goes well with yellow.
nizltozzi-wa nis6kasim = my shirt, coat fits me (well).
kimazitoozihpa; ik6mahko-w = it does not fit you; it's much too large.
iXlnXkozziwa = it does not fit you; it's much too small.
There are other idioms for talking about things that match, using MOHT- and
the verb NITTIMAZINA or one of its relatives:
nitumazinaziaw = they match (each other).
nituyi-'niszinaziaw = they match (each other).
matumohzinazi-w = it also (mat-) matches.
ittfmoht'niszinaziaw = they match (each other), go well together.
The animate form of the root for "winter, year" (STU-) is used, for obvious
reasons, to speak of the ages of living things (STUYIMI), whereas the inanimate
form (STUYI) is used for speaking of years in the abstract. See Lesson LVII.
There is another numerical series, an easy one to learn, which will help
you to form conversations about buying and selling. To count bills, paper
money, use this series based on the verb SINA-:
nitsina = one dollar nallSlna six dollars
natokisfna = two dollars ihkizlkisina = seven dollars
niu6xkaisina = three dollars nanisuis!na = eight dollars
nisoisina = four dollars pihxuislna = nine dollars
nisituislna = five dollars klpuislna = ten dollars
a:k(ai)omahk{nai he's already an old man, he has already (become) an old man.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
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anistapohzi = on the opposite side
apamohzi = on the other side
tap6hzi = on the other wise
6mitapohzi = over that way
isohkiman = youngest wife; nizisohkiman my y.w.; pl. lsohklmaix
nitok6hkiman = my first wife; ok6hkiman his first wife
nimatomahkiman = my second wife; omatomahkiman = his second wife
v u v II 'ItI 't' ....... tI II v
AXPANO- = to paint: nitAXPANOKIOTAKI, nitaxPANOKIOZIhp & nitAXPANIhp
axpanokiotaki-wa = a painter (of a house etc.)
SOXXINA = to paint (a person): nitaiSOXXINA.
{kazl-wa = a scout
SIKAIISAPAWAWHKA = to go scouting: nit SIKAIISAPAWAWHK, v. sikami.
Numerals for Prices: Review Lesson XXV. If you think the numerical series
given in that lesson is too complicated, you can always resort to one of
these two alternate series, coupling them with verb forms for "it costs"
an., "it costs" in., "they cost" an., "they cost" in.: respectively,
nizlhzaw, nizihtohp, nizihzaiaw,
nits6pox (i) $1 nitoxkam sopox(i)
n&tokisop6x(i) $2 natokam s o p o ~ ( i )
niuoxkasopox (i) $3 niuoxkam sopox(i)
nisuisopox (i) $4 nisu{m(i) sopox(i)
nisituisopox(i) $5 nisitu! sop6x(i)
naiisopox(i) $6 naw Sopdx(i)
ihkiz ikisopox (i) $7 ihkizikam sopox(i)
ilCinisu!sopox(i) $8 nanisuim sopox(i)
pihxu{sop6x(i) $9 pihxim sopox (i)
klPoisopox(i) $10 kip{m sopox(i)
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Examples: nizihzaiaw kfpoisopoxi; nizohtohpiaw kfpoisopoxi;
With these expressions, it is now your turn to compose sentences and dialogues
about shopping. The title of your literary effort may very well be Ani
nit6hpumaiaw: That's how they shop: You can include words and phrases like
ihtahpumaupi. Za-anistapi?, Ahsa (kitAPAISAZlhp),
Zanizihzawaz? with replies like pizohtohp kfpanauzi (or vice
versa) and nizihzaw k{panauzi (or vice versa), nitonpumaop (we all buy things),
nomohtahs!taki. nizohtohp nazipuisina ($20), inakanauxi nizohtohp,ikakohtohp
(it costs a lot), ik6mahkohtohp (it costs too much), nisituihzaw/nisit6htohp
(it costs five ... with the medium of exchange not specified, perhaps
akaitOTOw akitOMATOp it's time (for us) to go.
Oki! akOMATAop! akOMATAop) = OK, it's time (for us) to go.
Oki! (akaitOTOw) Aksuyop OK, it's time (for us) to eat.
nizizitaupi anoma I have lived here for a (very) long time.
aiist6kistuyi niz{zitaupi anoma I've lived here for two years.
aiist6kistuyi niz{toto = I came here two years ago.
(In these last two sentences notice the use of STUYI (inanimate)
rather than the animate STUYIMI of other expressions.)
kitaxi-sam-ainoki = you will see me a long time.
Exercises: We (excl.) have lived in Great Falls for ten years. It was ten
years ago that we came here. I have studied Blackfeet language for three
years. He began to study it a long time ago. It takes a long time to
learn to talk Piegan. It takes two years. It took my sister six years
to learn to talk (it). It took my father seven years to build a house.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
The following material was provided me by
Father J. L. Levern, O.M.I. of the Blood
R.C. Indian School, Cardston, Alberta. I
have adapted it to our present usage in this
To ask pardon: The root to express this con
cept is ISA "to erase, wash(out)". An example
of the simple use of this verb: "I am going
to erase Peter's name": nit-akeISlnihp Peter
(Pitaw) oz-inihkasim. "I am going to erase it
for Peter": nit-akeISINOMOaw Peter. "We'll
forgive (rub out) his sins for Peter":
niteISINOMOanan Peter o-pahzapisisz. "Peter
forgives our sins": Peter niteISINOMOkinan
ni-pahzapisinanisz. "I am erasing it for
myself": niteISINOMOhsi.
But to say simply "Excuse me" in ordinary
conversation, the expression often used is Pahzapiw.
If you are passing someone, or by mistake you break
or disturb something, or trespass where you did not
know you were out of bounds, then you use this
expression to show that you did not mean to offend.
If you have to interrupt a conversation be
tween others, be sure it is important and then
say Kika tlwait!tl.
If you have to give someone advice that you
think may displease him, you may say:
Pin-oht-sa-ahs:ltakit';': "Don I t be displeased
on that account."
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
This system dates from the last t,vo decades
of the 19th century and is probably not of
native American origin. The Blackfeet ver
sion is based on the Cree syllabary. Both
systems have been spread by missionaries in
The syllabary is built on the square:
I ~
Consonant Vowels following a
alone or consonant:
final: A ,
E r
I o(.(or U)
P 0
d b
.J L
') r
N u
'-t .-J
~ ~
W q . ~
I in diphthongs: AI, 01, UI
, 0 in the diphthong AU or AO
II the guttera1
the aspirate
sign of assibi1ation of preceding
character (S between the consonant
and vowel)
Y between the consonant and vowel
of the preceding character
X full stop or glottal stop
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Aniw Annie
Anik(a) Alex
Akinis = Agnes
Asiw = Arthur
lnaw Eli
McHkiw Mike, Maggy
Mania Mary
Misaiaiw Michel ("hard goose")
Maze{s(a) ("fine leggings")
N!sit6wa = Isidore, Isidoro
Naniso(wa) Nancy
Nuyi(w) Louis
Pita Peter )
Kinuk Kenneth
Wini William
Jack (Jacques?)
Zani, Zana Johnny, Joan, Charlie
Zauzi(w) George
Zo(wa) Joe
Zon Joan
Z6ni(w) Julia
Zimi(wa), Zima, Zim! (voc.) = Jimmy, James
- ~
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Treat these names with caution because none of them necessarily
correspond exactly to their nearest English equivalents. This
list is based principally on Uhlenbeck.
January Sinauiskitaki-omahkatoi-xiszik6i-atosi-w (an.)
(the month of the big holy day of face-licking, i.e.
kissing. SINAuI-SKI = to kiss, lick the face. This
is reference to New Year's day.)
February Sawdmizi-kisum (Treacherous moon) (an.)
March Saiyaix-ozitautohpi (in.) (When the geese come).
April Aniozitaixasximokohpi (in.) (When the green grass comes).
May Anawozitaisaisuiopokskohpi (in.) (when the leaves come out.)
June Anawoz {nisz-ozitaiizpi (in.) (when strawberries are ripe).
July N{pomahkatoixiszikatosi (an.) (Summer big holy day month)
August Ozitaiapisziihpizixinaix (in.) (When snakes go blind;
an old, perhaps archaic name: NAPISZI = to be blind.)
September Anawitaipohkikiopi (in.) (haying or reaping season;
may also refer to August.)
October Anawoz{tawapipizkohpi (in.) (when leaves dry up).
This seems to be an old traders' term.
November Statosi-w (an.) (cold month)
December St6mihkatoixiszikatosi-w (an.) (cold big holy day month-
a reference to Christmas).
Though the Blackfeet, as we already know, have names for all four seasons,
the ethnologist Clark Wissler reports that they divide their year into
two major seasons, winter and summer, with seven month to each. With 14
months or moons, the Blackfeet season will not easily coincide with the
system much of the world uses. Each month, for the Blackfeet, begins with
the dark of the moon, and each year begins in fall. The moons have numbers
but may also have names, though every medicine man who keeps a winter count
(calendar) may vary the names and the system too. Winter moons include
Beginning Winter Moon, Wind Moon, Cold Moon, Two Big Holy Days Moon (Christmas
and New Year), Changeable Moon, Uncertain Moon, Geese Moon. The moons of
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
summer are Beginning Summer Moon, Frog Moon, Thunder Moon, Big Holy Day
Moon (4th of July?), Moon, Chokecherry Moon and Numer 7 (?). The
days of each moon are considered to be 26 by some people and 30 by others.
The source is Clark Wissler: liThe Social Life of the Blackfeet Indians,"
Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. VII,
pt. 1, 1911, pp. 44-5. Walter McClintock, The Old North Trail, pp. 486-7,
gives another "Calendar of Moons": "After the First Snowfall" (November);
"Time of the First Chinook" (last of December and early January); then
the midwinter period: "When the Buffalo Calves Are Black"; "When the
Heavy Snow Comes"; "When the Jackrabbit Whistles at Night". McClintock
seems to equate these last three with January, and it is not clear how
these names may overlap or describe the same period. But he quotes the
people as heralding the approach of with the expression "The Home
Days are Coming. II Would this apply to For early spring .he
gives "The Time for Sore Eyes (Snow-Blindness) II or March, and IIWhen the
Ice Breaks Up in the Rivers
for April. Spring is called by
several names: "When the Geese ComeII, IIWhen the Leaves are Budding
IIWhen the Buffalo Plant Is In Flower
, "When the Buffalo Calves are
Yellow, II IIWhen the Grass Becomes Green. II Late or June is called
IITime of High Water." Early summer or late June and early July is the
"Moon of Flowers", while July and August are called IIHome Days". Early
fall or September is called IIWhen the Leaves are Yellow," and the "Time
of the First Frost.1I Late autumn is "After the Leaves Fall Off
and "When the Geese Fly South" (late October or early November). There
are 19 or 20 different names here.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
Exercises: Fill in the schema, using a different verb for each line
except for the irregular forms at the bottom. This will show you can
handle imperatives!
Positive Negative
trans. an.
trans. in.
trans. an.
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000 .............
Choose partners and make conversations suggested by the following
questions and answers, in whichever is missing.
A - The verb IKI: (answers negative)
1- (Za/Ahsa)
2- Kizik::Chpa?
3- 'Kaiwaz (iklwaz, Aiik{waz)
4- ? Mataiiklwexaw.

5- ? Nimataiikihpinana.
6- Kitaxikihpa?
7 ? Nimataxikihpinana.
8- ? Mataxik::Cwaz.
9- Nitaiik!hpa?
10- Nitaiik::Chpinana?
B - Identifying Relations and Possessions:
1- Oma omahkinaw kin'naz?
A, Sa,
2- Oma kipitaki kitohk::Cmanaz?
A, Sa,
A. nixista. Sa.
4- Taka otasaz? Kotasaz?
A, Sa,
5- ?
A, nitakaw. Sa,

6- Oma nl.naw kixokowaz?

A, Sa,
7- ?
A, Sa, nimatokosaz.
8- Taka okos'az?

9- Oma sahkumapi kokosaz?
A, Sa,
10- Oma akikoan kisisaz?
A, Sa,
11- Taka omi imitai?
(not mine) .
. (mine) .
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000
12- Oma manikapi kiskanaz?
A, Sa,
13- Omixi ak{koaix kitdnowawaix?
A, Sa,
14- ?
~ ~ - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - - -
A, omixi sahkumapix nokosinanix.
C - anistapsiwaz? (What's he/she like?)
1- Zak (Jack), z ~ anistapsiwaz? Ahsapsiwaz?
A, Sa,
2- Napikoanaz? Nizltapfkoanaz?
A, Sa,
3- Oma akikoan spaiyak{wa. Kutaispaiyipuyiwaz?
A, Sa,
A, Sa, mazaiapikoaipuylwaz.
5- Oma Asinaikoan apatohsitapiwaz?
6 ?
- - - - ~ - - ~ ~ ~ - - -
A, Sa, matasinaikoanaz. Suyapikoan.
7- Kuzinokaumitauakimawaz?
A, Sa,
8- Za anistapaupiwaz?
Amskapi Pikuni Language Lessons
Piegan Institute, Browning MT, 2000