On Developing a Writing System for Michif

Robert A. Papin

Abstract


To date no satisfactory writing system exists for Michif, a bilingual mixed language deriving from Southern Plains Cree and Metis French. Michif differs phonologically from both Southern Plains Cree and to a lesser extent from Metis French. Differing local phonetic norms further complicate transcription. The various systems proposed before the present either derive from English, French, and/or Standard Cree and thus imperfectly fit Michif or else rely on phonetic notation, which excludes most nonspecialist readers, including native speakers. Additionally, diacriticals and phonetic symbols transmit badly on the internet, affecting web sites, email, and academic material. The system here is still under elaboration but is acrophonic and consistent. It addresses vowel length and nasalized vowels as well as liaison consonants, the treatment of schwa and its deletion, Cree vowel-deletion, and some adfixes.

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