Interested in Oji-Cree?

The chart shows the sounds. For example, usually ᐁ is transliterated as ‘e’, but it sounds like ‘ay’.

Triangles by themselves are vowels. Usually, however, vowels are included as part of a syllabic.

bit  i    ᐄ bee  ee way  ay not dotted top  aw  ᐆ go  oh bat   a    ᐋ ahbs

Syllabics are not letters. ᓂ is not ‘n’, it is ni. A dot above a syllabic makes it long. ᓃ is nee.

wi  ᐐ weep

Dot before makes W


always ‘ay’

wot   ᐔ woke wack


o w small raised syllabic ends word
kit or giddy  ki

keen or geek  kee

kake or gay

always ‘ay’. Not dotted.

kof or got  gaw

koat or goat  go

kat or gap  ka

kahbbage gahllop

  k / g    final letter of word
tick or dip   ti

tea or deep   tee

take or day


top or dot   taw

toe or donut

tap or dash

tahmp dahmp

  t / d

th anywhere

chip   chi

cheek   chee

chaynge chop   chaw


chat   cha


mi mi  ᒦ meek  mee may mop  maw   ᒨ mope mat   ma   ᒫ mahm   m
nip   ni  ᓃ nea nee neigh not  naw   ᓅ no nap   na   ᓈ   nahtter   n
pit or bib   pi

pee or bee

pay or bay pop or bot   paw

poet or boat   poe

pat or bat   ba

pahlette bah

  p / b

f / ph anywhere

rib   ri    ᕇ reap   ree raid   ray rot   raw     ᕉ rope   roe rat   ra     ᕌ rahbbit    r
sip    si     ᓰ see say sop   saw     ᓲ soap   so sat  ᓵ sahlute   s     ᔉ sk
zhi  ᔒzhee zhay zho      ᔔ zhoe zha      ᔖ zhah    zh
lip   li    ᓖ leap   lee lake   lay lot        ᓘ low lap               ᓛ lahtte    l
yip   yi  ᔩyeast   yee yale yob   ᔫ yoyo yap   ᔮ yeah o   y  over final syllabic, like ᔧy, ᐰ py, ᑍ ty, ᒊ ly, ᑬ ky, ᒤ my

ᐦ H

ᑕᔒᑫ o  ᐆᑕ gets spelled tašihkew, but it sounds tazhikaywh. The final ‘wh’ (or ‘ew’) can sound like o.

Tazhikayo ota. Somebody lives here. Cree uses no ‘she’ or ‘he’. Bodies are ‘someone’ or ‘something’, and the possessive prefix – o – translates to English as her/his but means a living being’s. Living beings include not only animals and some plants, but also bread, soap, sun, spoon, kettle, dock, and so on.

A fun way to make syllabics familiar is to write English words in syllabics. ᓯᓚ cellar, ᐸᓇᓇ banana, ᑲ car, ᑏᐱᐄ TV, ᕉ road, ᑐ dog, etc. Or your name: ᓖᐊ Liam, ᐃᒥᓖ Emily.

Junker, M.-O., MacKenzie, M., Bobbish-Salt, L., Duff, A., Salt, R., Blacksmith, A., Diamond, P., & Weistche, P. (Eds.). (2012). The Eastern James Bay Cree Dictionary on the Web: English-Cree and Cree-English, French-Cree and Cree-French (Northern and Southern dialects). Retrieved from


(Oji-Cree blends (Ojibwa [Anishinaabe] and ᐄᓅᐊᔨᒧᐃᓐ iinuuayimuwin [Cree], the two being so similar.)