weehki-kaloosioni: neehseehpineenki ‘New Word: Breathing Illness (COVID)’

This neehseehpineenki mask titled “MMIW”  is by the Myaamia artist Katrina Mitten for a virtual exhibition, “Masked Heroes: Facial Coverings by Native Artists” organized by the First Americans Art Magazine. The mask has recently been purchased by the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum. To see more of Katrina’s art visit https://www.katrinamitten.com/.

COVID-19 has affected all aspects of our lives as Myaamia people and our language learners wanted to be able to talk about the disease in Myaamiaataweenki. Our colleagues David Costa and Daryl Baldwin worked together to coin a new term: neehseehpineenki ‘breathing illness.’ If a speaker wants to be specific they can say “COVID neehseehpineenki.” You can follow this link to see the different forms this verb can take as well as a few example sentences. If there are words you need for your daily life that you can’t find in the dictionary, please put in a request by clicking “Feedback” in the upper right corner.’ 

Many of us are checking in remotely with family during this time of physical distancing. Here are some phrases you can use:

neehahki-nko kiiyawi – ‘How are you?’*

neehahki niiyawi – ‘It is well with me.’

šiinšiilawiaani – ‘I am strong’

aalaankwiaani – ‘I am tired.’

meentamaani – ‘I am sick.’

peelakiaani – ‘I am healed, cured, recovered.’

nipwaahkaalo! – ‘Take care!’

eepiaani niikinki wiiyoonkonci COVID neehseehpineenki ‘I am at home because of the Coronavirus.’

wiihsa nipwaamikohsiikwiki wiiyoonkonci neehseehpineeciki ‘Many are not going to school because they  have Coronavirus.’

*This question is asking about physical health, if you want to ask someone about their emotional health, check this entry on the dictionary.

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