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The Blackfeet Language

The Blackfeet language does not have grammatical genders—there is no “him” or “her,” “he” or “she.” Instead it is divided into animate and inanimate objects (animate words include people, animals, and stars). Some words can be both animate and inanimate, depending on usage. For example, the animate form of kos(a) means “cup,” whereas the inanimate form means “pottery dish.”

To prevent undermining the pure form of the language, the textbook avoids all use of English grammatical nomenclature (nouns, adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, etc.) and uses only two references to guide the student: verb stem and “other words.”

An Introduction of Basic Language Instruction in the Blackfoot Language, undated.

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Courtesy: Piegan Institute