--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Wordingham"
<richard.wordingham@...> wrote:
> --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, Marco Cimarosti
> > As there are 4 binary choices, it's obviously 16 combinations:
> <Snip>
> > a-ti-yuu-h-kaa-n
> > aa-ti-yu-ka-n

Thanks to those who tidied and counted for me. The Eastern Cree
dictionary which I had in draft copy in 1991 was just posted last
month in Unicode. Last night was my first crack at it and I was up
till the wee hours.

> According to the Ethnologue entry for Naskapi at
> http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=NSK , there are
> more than 70 speakers literate in the dialect (language by
> Ethnologue's reckoning).

There may be as many as 90,000 native speakers in the Cree - Naskapi
contnuum, from Alberta to Newfoundland. See this website for


All census data and orthography issues are discussed here in depth,
but preaspiration, #1426, and vowel length are presented as an
individual choice. (except for the Cree School Board, of course)

Linguists tend to work in communities that are not already well
served by indigenous literacy so the dictionaries that I am working
from, beautiful as they are, do not represent indigenous Cree
literacy elsewhere. In fact, the smallest literate population,
Naskapi, goes with the official Heritage Canada dictionary!

In 1991 I was at a meeting with the Cree School Board to discuss
what the Eastern Cree text would look like. The Cree wanted the
option to continue using some diacritics, as they had on the
typewriter, adding them on when they wanted to but were not prepared
to accept fully marked text.

The linguists, then offered to remove the preaspiration, #1426, from
text displayed in print to lessen the unaesthetic and non
traditional appearance of fully marked text. (However, this
diacritic was retained in the dictionary.) They would not negotiate
removing the vowel length diacritic. I did not understand at that
time that their encoding, with all the syllabics separately encoded
with vowel length, would become an electronic standard. It was well
known that optional and discretionary use of vowel length was
traditional. I thought at the time that the vowel length marker
would simply be less used over time. I did not understand the
coding issues and assumed that the diacritics could also be added or
not as they were on a typewriter.

Suzanne McCarthy