Sometimes creating a new word in Myaamiaataweenki requires days or even weeks of work researching in the archives and asking our relatives in other tribes questions about how they name something. But every once in a while a new word emerges in a moment and immediately feels right to everyone (and passes muster with the linguistics team). Oonsaawiminaapowi ‘lemonade’ is an example of a word that came about quickly.
At a tribal function a few years back a long line had formed for food; elders and guests up front and those younger in age following along behind. A group of Myaamia college students was waiting in line and discussing the food choices, many of which they knew how to refer to in Myaamiaataweenki. One student noticed that lemonade was one of the drink options and asked “taaniši iilweenki Lemonade?” Immediately the group started playing around with the elements of the language that they knew. They came up with oonsaawimini for lemon (literally ‘yellow berry’) and added an ending that means “drink” or “juice” to it to make the word oonsaawiminaapowi ‘lemonade.’
So in the midst of peepoonki ‘winter’ you can dream about drinking a cool glass of oonsaawiminaapowi on a hot neepinwiki ‘summer’ day. When that day comes around, you can say miililo oonsaawiminaapowi ‘give me lemonade’ or oonsaawiminaapoohkiitaawi ‘let’s make lemonade!’