Talking about Temperature of Spaces and Places

Co-authored by Hunter Lockwood and Jarrid Baldwin

Here at the Myaamia Center in Southwestern Ohio it is growing colder by the day. So why not heat things up by learning a few words to remind us of warmer days?

Before we get started, you should know that even though the words we’ll talk about today are “descriptive it” words, if you recall our Four Verb Types post, they might not work if you’re trying to talk about the temperature of people or things. Some of these words are specific to areas, rooms, or ambient space.

If it’s really hot, you can say ceeliteeki, “it is very hot weather”. If it’s really, really, REALLY hot, you can say caaciiliteeki — that word usually means there’s a drought, with absolutely no relief from the heat or sunshine.

Sun clipart

Another phrase you can use to describe a particularly hot day is kiišaaphkaahkoteeki kaahkiihkwe, “it is a hot day” (kaahkiihkwe means “day”). You can also use the word keešaawaahkiki, “it is hot weather”.

So after all of that, what do we notice about these words? Well, first off, do you remember why Myaamia words are so long? It’s because they’re built out of smaller pieces.

Take a look at the ends of the words. Two out of the three “hot” words, ceeliteeki & kiišaaphkaahkoteeki, share a piece at the end: the piece -etee (which shows up here as –itee or -otee) means “it (inanimate) is hot”.

Now look at the beginnings of the words. Even though they don’t look identical, kiišaaphkaahkoteeki and keešaawaahkiki, share a meaningful piece at the beginning of the word. (If you’ve studied myaamia for a while, you’ll know that sometimes, when you use a verb in a sentence, the vowel at the beginning of the word has to change – that’s exactly what’s happening here, and why these words look different!) We can call that piece kiš– “hot”.

Thermometer showing a high temperature

And sure enough, if you go looking through other words for “warm” or “hot” things, you’ll find these same little pieces recurring everywhere — like kiišaaphkamiiki “it is hot water”. And you’ll see that initial piece ciil– (sometimes ciiš-) meaning “very, extremely” on all sorts of words, like ceelilaanki “it rains very hard”.

That’s just a small sliver of one specific way of talking about the weather. Let us know if you’d like us to talk more about these words, or if there’s any other vocabulary you have questions about!

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