How to spell ?!?

Dr. Andy Cowell (this guy) who wrote the Arapaho Language grammar just spent an hour trying to teach me to spell!  Here are my notes.  They’re really linguisticky and hard to understand, but if you find this interesting and want to know more, email me ( and we can reword this in a way that begins to actually make sense.

x, k, w will be followed by u, not i;  can only have ku, xu, wu; x or k can be o_e but w can’t be followed by e (w becomes b before e)

x, k, w don’t allow e after them (e turns k into c, w into b, x into s; e forces consonant mutation; never going to have sequence of xe, ke, we)
s, b, c can never be followed by a u (it would be an i)
i turns into a u after an o (even after k, x, w, h, or ‘) but that mutation is blocked by s, 3, t, y, n, b, c (all those things always have i after)
h and ‘ are unique because they can be followed by either i or u
nu never happens (with the sole exception of nuhu’)
o can come after any consonant
you never get a consonant right before H
u or i often disappear (become silent) if they don’t have pitch accent
u can become o after glottal stop or h (when not accented)
i can become e after glottal stop or h (when not accented)
can’t have two syllables (Consonant Vowel sequences) in a row with accent — in one word
accent shift occurs in single to plural: singular ceebIseenoo plural ceebisEEno’
SO the accent on any singular affirmative AI verb root-A-a-noo; for plural accent is penultimate syllable
all direction of action markers (like the -e3en on biixoo3e3en, from me to you) force accent on a specific syllable in relation to the end of the word (SO that’s a set of rules to memorize but they’re super useful to know because that very consistently determines accent spelling)

Video: Baby Arapaho Lesson #6, Christmas Words

Baby Hazel’s first filmed spoken word ever is on this video!  It is, predictably, mine — neniistoot.  She says it in English… the Arapaho will take a while.

I’m not sure about the pronunciation in a couple of these — check with a Grandpa or a Grandma and let me know!  The vocabulary is written in the video.


Video: Baby Arapaho Lesson #4, What’s wrong? It’s okay

Hazel finally has an Arapaho nickname — Nonii, cute!  Whiny here.  If you want to request a lesson, please comment or email me at  Otherwise I’ll keep filming whatever’s easiest.  Hecesneecee’isei is refusing to be filmed so Nonii is easiest at the moment.

koohesnee? — are you hungry?

heeyeihiisetee’ tortellini — the tortellini is almost ready

koociini’oo? — what’s wrong?

nii’iini’ — it’s okay

nohtou tohbiiwohun? — why are you crying?

hee’inowoo — I know

nee’ee — wait (female form)

Video: Baby Arapaho Lesson #3, Cereal not Poop

Hecesneecee’isei — Little Chief Woman — didn’t know the Arapaho word for poop so she signed it.  Because how could a three-year-old survive breakfast without some reference to poop?  Also, notice that when she can’t think of the word for spoon, she says cihniiteheibii — help me — which I’m guessing is because every time she tells me to do something (which is constant) I reply “cihnotoonii hinono’einiihi'” — ask me in Arapaho — to which her response is “cihniiteheibii”.  So it’s the back-up phrase when she knows she needs to speak Arapaho.  Weirdly I’m having a HARD time memorizing the word “cihnotoonii” despite saying it all the time.  It’s on the wall where I can see it from the kitchen table and I had to look at it just now to write it here.

hii3eti’ nohkuseic — good morning
heitoustoo? — what are you doing?
heeyou nuhu’? — what is this?
cihniiteheibii — help me
hiiko — no
heeyou nuhu’? nuhu’ heeyou? — what is this? this, what is it?
heebiyoo — spoon
heebiyoo nenee’ — it is a spoon
noh nuhu’? — and this?
ce’einooo — bowl
heeyou hinee? — what is that?
(she signs poop)
hoowbiihii — it’s not poop
nohkuseic bii3ihiit nenee’ — it’s cereal (morning food)

Video: Baby Arapaho Lesson #2, Don’t Touch the Dog Water

The vocabulary below the video is in the order it’s said in the video. Listen closely because some words are fast.  If Billie Sutton and the Cheyenne Arapaho Language Department adopt these, maybe they’ll be subtitled some day.  One can hope *hint hint*

Nec – water

‘Oo – yes (if speaker is female)

He3 – dog (she signs it: pats leg)

Nee’eetox – enough

‘Ine – okay (if speaker is female)

Ciibehcou’tii – don’t touch it

Hohou – thank you

Video: Baby Arapaho Lesson #1, Time to Eat

HomeWithArapaho officially ends on 12/31/2014 — two weeks from today — so I’m going to start cranking out some lessons.  Here are some great useful words to get you started.

kei-beet-bii3… – do you want to eat…

bee’ice’ee – apple

koo-nosouniihi’ — more?

nihii — say (command form)

nosouniihi’ — more!

noonisoo — what a mess

ceebiinin — you’re so dirty

hiiko — no

ciibehnee’eestoo — don’t do that