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4.0 out of 5 stars A very good overview of Plains Cree, 23 May 2013
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This review is from: Cree, Language of the Plains (University of Regina Publications) (Paperback)
In the unlikely event that anyone else in the UK was wondering what this book is like, here is a brief description.

Overall, it occupies the middle ground between a teaching grammar and a reference grammar. If anything, I should say it favours the reference end of the spectrum. It has a bilingual glossary of vocabulary, split into two main sections (non-verbs and verbs) for Cree-English and English-Cree (pp 165 to 208.)

The vocabulary contains words from the natural world, as well as things like microwave and aeroplane. There are numerous short sentences to provide examples of usage, but no exercises and no paragraphs or substantial text in Cree itself. However, the example sentences cover a vast swathe of the Cree grammar. Topics include:

Diminutives, Word Order, the various Pronouns, very thorough grounding in verbs with charts and full verbal paradigms, noun inflections, numbers, seasons, days and weather terms.

The verb system is deliciously complex, and given enough detail to reflect the ins and outs of a polysynthetic language.

Those wanting to pick up some conversational phrases will need to look elsewhere (e.g., although a different dialect, "Spoken Cree" by C Douglas Ellis).Spoken Cree: Level 1. Indeed, this book is probably most beneficial to someone with a good understanding of grammatical terminology and ideally experience of a Native American language, or highly inflected language like Basque or Finnish - although the Cree noun is nowhere near as inflected as in these two European languages.

Even with a good linguistic background, I doubt this book would aid the learner in acquiring the ability to speak and read Plains Cree without recourse to other sources. It is also entirely in the Roman alphabet - no hint of the Cree syllabary anywhere.

I have found it very useful in combination with the Alberta Elders Cree Dictionary Alberta Elders Cree Dictionary: Alperta Ohci Kehtehayak Nehiyaw Otwestamakewasinahikan and Bloomfield's Plains Cree Texts Plains Cree Texts. (although the latter uses a slightly different phonetic system.)

In short: a very useful and accessible overview to enable understanding of the nuts and bolts, but other books will be needed for constructing or reading longer sentences and texts. Recommended for linguists or Native American language fanatics.
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Cree, Language of the Plains (University of Regina Publications)
Cree, Language of the Plains (University of Regina Publications) by Jean Okimasis (Paperback - 9 Oct. 2004)
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