Cree is the name for a group of closely-related Algonquian languages
spoken across Canada, from Alberta to Labrador. The most simplified (and
largely incorrect) way to classify Cree dialects is by what consonant
occurs of a set of alternations. The Plains Cree, the 'y' dialect, refer
to their language as Nehiyawewin, whereas Woods Cree says nehithawewin,
and Swampy Cree says nehinawewin. In some sense, this is similar to the
alternation in the Siouxan languages - Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota, and is
a common part of language change.
spoken by approximately 15 000 people from a
Native American tribe that resides in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba
Like many Native American languages, it features a complex polysynthetic
morphology. A Cree word can be very long, and express something that takes a
series of words in English, while at other times Cree is more explicit than
English. For example, the Plains Cree word for "school" is
kiskinohamatowkamikw "Know-by.hand-caus-applicative-reciprocal-place" "The
knowing-it-together-by-example place". To say "he always danced like that"
in Plains Cree, however, it is merely ki-isi-nanimihtow.
Both the Cree syllabary and a romanized orthography are used for writing.
A unique kind of creole of Cree and Canadian French, called Michif, is
spoken by some Canadian Métis.
Cree is an official language of the Northwest Territories.