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  • Andrea Custer

Cree Sound System

Pronouncing words in Cree can be a bit challenging if you haven’t grown up hearing fluent speakers. Cree sounds different from English. There aren’t as many consonants and there are less vowels but they also have different sounds. i.e. long â and short a or long ô and a short o


The good news is that you can train your ears and tongue to sound the same as a fluent speaker with practice. Learn the sounds and keep practicing. If you have an opportunity, listen to speakers; try and see what sounds they are using and if you’re familiar with any of the words they are using.

Also remember that you’re learning, you don’t have to have perfect pronunciation AND it is okay to make mistakes!


I also find the Cree sound system very useful when trying to spend time with my son – I recite the sounds with him to develop his linguistic ability. Sometimes he copies me, sometimes he watches and sometimes he gets bored. In any case, he is learning the sounds from this practice and from hearing us speak Cree around him. Try it with the baby in your household and see how they can mimic you.



Here are some useful links on the Cree Sound System:

SRO Chants with Audio for Vowels by Solomon Ratt:

https://creeliteracy.org/2014/01/13/solomon-ratt-sro-chants-for-vowel-sounds/

SRO Chants with Audio for Consonants by Solomon Ratt:

https://creeliteracy.org/2014/01/13/solomon-ratt-sro-chants-for-consonant-sounds/

Jean Okimâsis & Arok Wolvengrey “How To Spell It In Cree” which talks about why SRO is important and how to use it. I’m also an advocate for this spelling system.

http://resources.atlas-ling.ca/media/How_To_Spell_It_In_Cree-Standard_Orthography-Plains-Cree.pdf

Cree Sound System Song by Jerry Saddleback and sung by Wayne Jackson. I recommend playing this through your laptop OR learn how to sing it as a lullaby for your baby or child.

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/nehiyaw30

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