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On our parts of the body and kinship terms worksheets, you may notice that all the Blackfoot words begin with
N. Ni- or Nit- is a Blackfoot prefix that means "my." Possessive prefixes can be used with almost any noun in Blackfoot. For most nouns, the possessive prefixes are
ni-, ki-, and o- before a noun that begins with a consonant, and nit-, kit-, and ot- before a noun that begins with a vowel.
|mííni (a berry)
||nimííni (my berry)
||kimííni (your berry)
||omííni (his or her berry)
|akáa'tsisi (a robe)
||nitakáa'tsisi (my robe)
||kitakáa'tsisi (your robe)
||otakáa'tsisi (his or her robe)
However, certain nouns (including most body parts and kinship terms)
have inalienable possession in
Algonquian languages like
Blackfoot. That means you must use a possessive prefix
with one of those words. You cannot say *iksíssta, "a mother," or *ohkáti, "a fingernail." It isn't grammatically correct.
There is an indefinite prefix, M-, which you can use to be abstract or if the possessor is unknown to you (i.e. if a body part has been severed,
or has hit you from behind.)
For these words, the possessive pronouns are slightly different. The pronouns are n-, k-, and o-.
|*ohkáti (root noun, not used alone)
||nohkáti (my foot)
||kohkáti (your foot)
||ohkáti (his or her foot)
||mohkáti (one's foot)
|*iksíssta (root noun, not used alone)
||niksíssta (my mother)
||kiksíssta (your mother)
||oksísstsi (his or her mother)
Notice that when animate words use the third person form ("his or her"), there is not only a prefix (o-) but also a suffix (-i)
at the end of the word. This is not true for inanimate words.
Click here for a pronunciation guide.
Click here for more Siksika language resources.
Learn more about the Blackfeet tribe.
Indian basket art
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