Cree Vowel Sounds in Moose

There is a significant difference in Cree sounds when you use a macron, a bar above a letter (ō), or a circumflex, a hat above a letter (ô). Both make a long vowel sound, as in moose. I usually use a macron because that is what I learned in high school.

Moose sounds very much like our Cree word, mōswa. The word is actually much closer to the Ojibwe word “mooz,” except they use a nasalised “oo” sound.

In the meme, you see a moose kissing another moose. Now if the moose could talk, one of them could say, nīcimos, which means my boyfriend or girlfriend (romantic partner). In CreEnglish, nīci mōs or nīci moose, means, my fellow moose. The proper Woodland Cree word, would be nīci mōswa. Listen to the audio, and you will notice how it is sounded out.

Woodland Cree word – nīcimos – my boyfriend/girlfriend

CreEnglish word – nīci-mōs or nīci-moose – my fellow moose

Woodland Cree word – nīci-mōswa – my fellow moose

There is an excellent article from our friends at the Cree Literacy Network called “Reading Plains Cree in SRO,” I encourage you to check it out. It presents information on all the consonants and vowels used in the Cree language. The article has many examples and even audio by Solomon Ratt, audio is always very helpful for the learners. I have referred to this great website many times over the years.

I thought it would be an interesting article to discuss the vowels we use in SRO. Okay, let’s be honest, I just wanted to show off the moose meme. Feel free to share the article or download the meme and then share. Thank you.

mōswak ocīmitōwak – Moose are kissing

nīcimos – my boyfriend/girlfriend

nīci mōs or nīci moose – my fellow moose

mōswa – one moose

mōswak – more than one moose

onīcāniw – cow moose (female)

nōsīs – cow moose (female with a calf)

iyāpīw – bull moose (male)

Welcome to the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary –

Cree Literacy Network –


Female moose Image by Dan Grignon from Pixabay
Male moose Image by Kate Baucherel from Pixabay

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