Archive for May, 2018


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Word of the Week: WĀPĀKI

Written by: Arose N Daghetto for Literature Voodoo blog

Today’s word of the week comes from the Cree Indian tribe. Wāpāki means, tomorrow.

In the literal term, wāpāki means, when there is daylight. A flat, monotone sound accompanies the pronunciation of each word. That is, word for the Cree native, each syllable for the non native. Wā  pā ki.

The Cree Indian tribe are among the highest in population of people belonging to the First Nations of Canada. Most Cree Indians live in Canada. However, many Crees have migrated south into the North America. Although there are Cree Indians living in other regions of the country, a larger population of them reside in the midwestern region such as Minnesota and Montana.

The origins of the American Indians trace back to Northern Asia and Siberia. Siberia is a part of Russia. Russia is often considered a part of Europe, although the continent is sandwiched between Europe and Northern Asia. This is not to say that the Russians are Asians, but they are close neighbors nonetheless.

The tribal languages spoken by the American Indians are primarily of Asian influence. Asian languages are tonal languages. If you listen to someone speak in Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, etc., you will sort of hear a melody of tones and sounds in their speech. Each word is pronounced with either a high tone, neutral tone or low tone. Some words or sentences will take on different meanings depending on the tone you use. Therefore, it’s important for the foreign tongue learning an Asian language to keep this little factor in mind: What you say and how you say it to an Asian speaker is everything!

In some Asian languages, there are some words that don’t always have a strongly pronounced sound. For example, in Vietnamese, some words seem to have a sound that comes more from the throat or through clenched teeth or from the side of the mouth. This can be extremely challenging for the non native linguist or teacher to devise a phonetics table to guide students in these words! For some Asian languages, it seems like the best way for a casual learner is to focus more on the audio lessons. It’s a good way to get to know the surface of the language better by listening and emulating the sounds. Once you feel more acquainted with the language, you can then decide if you want to make a serious commitment by going deeper into really studying the language. 

Back to the Cree language. Notice the long bar over the vowel sound (a). This is an indication to the speaker or reader that this letter, or vowel sound is to be pronounced with a long “a” sound. Also, in Cree, the letter “k” is pronounced like the letter “g”, so it has a “guh” sound.

Let’s try to say it, shall we?

Wā —> Waah (normal pitch monotone; slightly prolonged, flat sound)

Pā —> Paah (normal pitch monotone; slightly prolonged, flat sound)

Ki —> GEE (slightly raised pitch monotone; short, stronger sound)

All together now!

Wāpāki

(Waah paah GEE)

Tomorrow  

(or the literal term, When there is daylight)

 

Wanna attempt it in a sentence? LOL… Come on, you’ll be fine…

Example:

Wāpāki nawāpamāw nitānis

Tomorrow I will see my daughter.

Wāpāki

Waah-paah-GEE

Nawāpawmāw

Nah-wow-PAH-mow**

Nitānis

nîh-TAAH-nîhs

**Note:

(-ow as in the English word “wow” or “now” when you sound out the word/syllable -mow and -wow)

Wāpāki nawāpamāw nitānis

Waah-paah-GEE… Nah-wow-PAH-mow**… nîh-TAH-nîhs 

Tomorrow I will see my daughter.

 

To learn more about the Cree Indian tribe and their language please visit the YouTube channel #CreeSimonSays. He is a wonderful teacher and is so kind to share some of the language of his people to the world.

See you next week with another Word of the Week! 🙋

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*****Disclaimer*****

All photos, drawings and writings belonging to other artists featured on this blog are solely for entertainment or illustrational purposes only. I do not own nor do I have any desire to take credit for any photos, artwork or writings not belonging to me. They all belong to the rightful owners of the work and the original websites they came from.

This excludes my own personal writings and photos I share on this blog which are always indicated and credited under my name and periodical company.

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About Literature Voodoo’s Creator and Founder….

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Arose N Daghetto is a poet, author and linguistic scholar. She is an independent researcher of language and culture in the African Diaspora. She also enjoys researching literary arts in Native American and Polynesian cultures.

Arose has a Bachelors in Communications from Rhode Island College with some post graduate studies in Professional Communications at Clarke University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Her interest in studying languages began at age ten, which was the same age she began to pursue creative writing. At age 17, Arose was one of four selected winners for the George Houston Bass Play-Rites Festival, an annual contest that was held at Brown University’s Rites and Reasons theater in Providence, Rhode Island. She was the youngest winner in the contest’s history, which was open to college students and adults of all ages worldwide. This also made her the youngest contestant to submit a play to the theater while still being a student in high school. Her accomplishment earned her praises from school officials, the city mayor at the time and local college and university professors. She also received an award of recognition for her play from the city’s board of education.

Besides being the founder and creator of Literature Voodoo, Arose N Daghetto is also the founder of the privately owned Black Girl Down Publications, a small periodical company specializing in the literary arts, global social consciousness and the evolution of linguistics in today’s society.

Arose’s first book, “Anger Management: A Collection of Urban Poetry” was published in 2011. She is currently working on publishing her second book, “Inner City Lullabies”, a book containing four novellas.

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Word of the Week: Griot
Pronounced: GREE- ût or, GEE-uht.
The u (û) has a short “uh” sound. It’s like you are trapping the “uh” sound in your throat so that it doesn’t flow out of your mouth. Think of the words “hut” or “gut” when sounding out the second syllable of this word.

A Griot is a storyteller originating from West Africa. They are bestowed the gift of communication by their elders which goes hand in hand with the gift of entertaining the masses. You will find numerous griots- authentic, home raised griots- in almost any part of West Africa.

These gems of the West African community are well versed in the literary arts. They are traveling performers whose stage is usually a space of land in their local village or a community miles away.

In addition to storytelling, griots inform their audience about history and genealogy. They are also preservers of tradition and heritage. They are musicians who exalts praise and worship while engaging in fellowship with their audience through the instruments they play and the songs they sing.

Griots are socially responsible people who are like ambassadors to the community. They are humble and kind souls in their own right. They are wise men (and women) who admonish their community through proverbial lessons. Griots are peacemakers who sometimes mediate on various issues or disputes. They are also brave people well skilled in defending and protecting their community when necessary.

Don’t be pursuaded by the glamorized images of griots you might see or hear about in western world. Becoming a griot is not easily obtained. It takes many years of training and development before the chosen successor can go out into the world with this gift. Training begins at a very early age by an elder in the family. This is how the gift, or tradition is passed down through the generations. Stories, history, certain musical instruments and traditional accounts are just some of the valuable things taught during the training.

Griots are also known by their alternative French name, Jali, or Jéli. The name has two different spellings but only one way of pronouncing it. DJEHY-lee. Think of the word fudge when pronouncing the J word in French, “djuh”…. “djehy”…. DJEHY-lee. French is the principal language spoken in many parts of West Africa.

See you next week with another word. 🙋

~Arose

Article written by Arose N Daghetto for Literature Voodoo blog

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For more information on griots, please visit these sites:

http://www.seckoukeita.com/my-story/my-culture/

http://www.bucknell.edu/Documents/GriotInstitute/What is a Griot.pdf

 

*****Disclaimer*****

All photos, drawings and writings belonging to other artists featured on this blog are solely for entertainment or illustrational purposes only. I do not own nor do I have any desire to take credit for any photos, artwork or writings not belonging to me. They all belong to the rightful owners of the work and the original websites they came from.

This excludes my own personal writings and photos I share on this blog which are always indicated and credited under my name and periodical company.

 

 

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