As you have seen in my previous post and on my twitter feed, I have decided to learn Cree for my ECI 831 Learning Project. This post is going to be about my learning process so far. I am going to write about the approach that I have decided to take, the things that I have learned, and what steps I plan to take to further my learning.
First of all, I am going to write about the approach that I have decided to take to learn Cree. As mentioned, I have acquired a second language before (Spanish). I began learning Spanish in high school and then continued studying in University. It was an academic approach to learning the language. By that, I mean that I studied in a textbook before I had an immersion experience. I found it helpful to have a base of the language before I engaged in an immersion experience. As this is the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) approach that I am most familiar with, I decided to take the same approach to learning Cree.
Before the actual language acquisition process began I wanted to become more familiar with the regions and origins of the Cree language. Like with many other languages, Cree has different regional dialects.
I took this screenshot from www.creeculture.ca.
I like it because it provides a visual for the different dialects of Cree that are spoken different regions. My learning will focus on Plans Cree as that is the most prominent in our region in Saskatchewan.
After becoming more familiar with regional dialects, I began working on familiarizing myself with the letters and the sounds. The Online Cree Dictionary is one of the first places that I started to look for learning resources.
Check out my screencast for more information about The Online Cree dictionary here:
Once I became more familiar with some of the sounds and the vowels I began to look for resources on basic Cree words such as greetings and introductions. I met Bill Cook on Twitter. He is a Cree instructor at FNU.
He sent me a link to his Quizlet.
This was the first time that I had the opportunity to interact with this technology. I must say that I enjoyed using the tool as a learner and I could see it being a great tool, in particular for learning a language. The Quizlet that I began with was the one for introductions.
I loved that I had the chance to hear the words. I know that pronunciation is going to be one of my biggest challenges so it was good to have the model.
So far, I have acquired the vocabulary for the following basic greetings and introductions:
My name is Colleen: Colleen nisthihkāson (Ni means “Me” and thihkāson means “to be called”)
What is your name?: tānsi kisithihkāson(Ki means “you” and then the root of thihkāson meaning “to be called”)
I know that this doesn’t seem like a lot but it has taken me time to get adjusted to the sounds, the roots of the words and the subject pronouns to be able to understand the words.
This YouTube video was where I learned the subject pronouns:
My goals for my next step in the learning process is to move to asking questions such as “what is your name?” and “where are you from?” I will have to figure out how the who/what/when/where/why questions are formed and then try to understand the structure of the sentences.
Also, I would like to expand my vocabulary. I am going to look for common words such as household items and family members to add to my vocabulary.
Wish me luck!