For more language visit: http://www.nimipuutimt.org
Language Program Technicians:
Gary Greene Andrea Sonneck
(208) 621-4759 (208) 621-4645
Erin Ramsey Trina Webb
(208) 621-4645 (208) 621-4720
(208) 621-4741 Kamiah
(208) 621-3587 Teweepu
Language Program Aide:
(208) 621-4741 Kamiah
Several different alphabets have represented Nimipuutimt. The Advisory Board of Elders decided to use the writing system shown here.
Nimipuutimt never uses capitals, not at the beginning of any sentence or for any words except English personal names. The Nimipuutimt has several sounds that aren’t used in English. Try practicing with the lessons below to say the words correctly.
Nimipuutimt has five vowels that can be short or long: a, e, i, o, u or aa, ee, ii, oo, uu.
Whether vowels are short or long, each vowel stands for essentially the same sound, but the sound is more drawn out for the long vowels.
Each word has one vowel that has the most emphasis. Vowels with stress are pronounced a little stronger and higher than other vowels.
It is important to say words with the stress on the right vowel or the word will sound wrong. For example, try saying potato and tomato with the stress on the first or last vowel. See how funny it sounds? Now, consider the two English words cónvict and convíct. The first one is a noun and the second one is a verb. The only difference between these two words is which vowel has the stress.
We indicate which vowel is emphasized by putting a stress mark over it: á, é, í, ó, ú. For the long vowels, we only put the mark over the first part of the vowel: áa, ée, íi, óo, úu. Normally, we don’t need a stress mark for a word with only one vowel because we know that vowel is emphasized.
To make this sound, open your mouth wide (like when the doctor looks at your throat).
When you say aa, it will be about twice as long as a. The short a sounds like the first two letters in the English word automatic. The long aa sounds like the vowel sounds in hall and lost.
This vowel is much like the o vowel in English. However, while the English vowel ō “glides” into a w at the end, the proper Nimipuutimt pronunciation keeps the sound pure.
When you pronounce this vowel, make your lips round. The first vowel sound in potato and the last in Arapaho sound like short o. The oo has the vowel sound heard in tone and load.
|póhol||Ravine, side canyon|
|hóopop||Edible pine moss|
This vowel sound is also round like o, but it is made with the tongue a little higher and the mouth a little tighter. The English words put and look have the short u sound, and the word through has the long uu sound.
Like the o, the Nimipuutímt u is pure. It does not include a w sound at the end, as the English sound does.
This vowel sound is made with the tongue high and close to your teeth and the mouth tight.
Short i can differ a little depending on the word, sounding either like the vowel in tick or the last vowel in crazy. The ii sound is like that in piece and see. When we pronounce long i in English, we have a y sound at the end of it. In Nimipuutimt, the long i should be kept pure.
This sound is made with the mouth well open like a, but with the tongue farther forward. This sound is very common in English, although it is usually spelled with the letter a (as in cat).
Like the other short vowels, e can sound a little different depending on the word. With practice, these differences will become natural. The short e sound can sound like the vowel in canon, central, set, and laugh. The long ee pronunciation does not vary as much. It sounds like the vowels in lamb and whack.
Words and Phrases
|wix̣sil’íikitx||You all sit down|
|wiséekey’kitx||You all stand up|
|mic’yóox̣om||Listen to me|
|mic’yóox̣omtx||You all listen to me|
|‘amc’yóox̣oy miyóox̣atna||Listen to the leader|
|‘amc’yóox̣otx miyóox̣atna||You all listen to the leader|
|‘amc’yóox̣oy ‘im’íisep||Listen to your mother|
|‘amc’yóox̣otx ‘im’tóotap||You all listen to your father|
|‘imamóotalkitx||Be still! (pl.)|
Adding ne/na to the end of a word referring to an animal or an object means you see it.
|tim’úuni||Bow (and now, gun)|
|céep||Arrow (and now, bullet)|
|’itúune ’eekíce?||What do you see?|
|’íin ’eekíce múuhne||I see a cow|
|’íin ’eekíce poxpok’láana||I see a ball|
|’imím ‘ee wees ‘oyláaqc céep||You have six bullets|
|’e’wíi ‘iméesne!||Shoot the deer!|
|’e’wíis||You have shot it|
|’úupteyn||You have missed|
Nez Perce Culture
|táyam||The time of hot, humid weather/time of food preparation|
|waw’ama’ayq’áal||Nacó’x̣ reach the upper tributary streams to spawn|
|timíipn’it’es núunim ‘anoqonmáana||Remembering our ancestors|
|Thunder traveling to higher areas
|’elelímyeté’qenin’/ háatyata’qanin’||Wrapped in the wind|
|Cúuɫim maqsmáqs||Yellow Bull|
|lamtáama||White Bird Band – ‘area with little snow’|
|himíin maqsmáqs||Yellow Wolf|