Why are Myaamia words so long?

When I’m teaching in the community I often get the question, “why are Myaamia words so long?” So, what is it that makes them so different from English? Why are they longer? Let’s dig into Myaamiaataweenki and find out.

When we think about English words and how they turn into sentences it normally goes like this: we have a lot of small words that combine into a sentence. Simple enough, right? An example of that could be “I am eating.”

In Myaamiaataweenki, that same sentence would be made up of one longer word: weehsiniaani. So, why is it just one word? Well, the reason for that is because Myaamiaataweenki puts all the necessary information into one word that, in English, needs multiple words. The different pieces of that word equal all the same pieces of the English sentence, it just shows up differently. Let me show you how it breaks down:

Weehsini   +   aani
   Eating    +   I am

And, if you count out the syllables for each of these sentences they are not too far off from each other. “I am eating” is four and “weehsiniaani” is five. So, the Myaamia word is actually not that much longer than its English translation.

Let’s take another example, like the other Myaamia word I’ve been using in this post: Myaamiaataweenki. If you haven’t figured it out yet, it means “the Miami language.” So how does this word break down?

myaamia      +           atawee           +              nki
   miami        +     the language of    +    (this is just a grammatical piece)

This word would literally translate as “the language of the Miami people.” In plain English that would just be “the Miami language.” Once again, if we compare the syllables of the Myaamia word and its English translation, we find that they both have six syllables.

There are a finite number of these small pieces in Myaamia but they can be combined in an infinite number of ways (as long as they follow the grammatical rules) to create a highly complex language that lets us express any complicated thought we need to.

This is a simplified overview of how Myaamia words come together. But there are many other complex factors that I will save for another post. So let’s think of this as a good starting point.

nipwaahkaako!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sydney Sanders says:

    so what are the various grammatical additives and how do we know where and how to integrate them into the word sentences we are making?

    1. aya Sydney, the list of possible combinations is infinite. I’ll let Jarrid respond with more detail, but it’s best to start expanding your ability to communicate using the words and phrases provided in the online dictionary. That dictionary has been built in response to the kinds of expressions of daily life our community has requested. After you build your familiarity with those provided phrases, you’ll naturally start trying to create your own based on the patterns you’ll find in what’s provided. But it could take you years to exhaust what’s available on the dictionary.

    2. ciinkwia says:

      aya sydney, I would definitely recommend what George says about starting with the online dictionary and the app. They are a good place to start with learning phrases that are ready to use in your daily life and as you use those more you will start seeing the patterns in them. We are starting to have more resources for learning myaamiaataweenki but currently the best place to go is http://www.memrise.com and once you create an account you can search “myaamia language lessons” and there is a large number of lessons you can learn from. -ciinkwia

  2. jcannest says:

    “word sentences.”

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