Example Words
atshiku seal ańik toad
nishk goose amishku beaver
kataku far shuku so much/so many
kaku porcupine mak and
pishimu month mitshim food
nishim my brother atimu dog
nishu two minush cat
mitish pearl nishtu three

Description of the Problem

Some words are written with a consonant followed by an exponent u: Cu. Consonants affected by this spelling include: k, m, sh and t, and are written ku, mu, shu and tu.

Consonants written with the exponent (or raised) u are called labialized consonantsTo produce a labialized consonant, the lips are rounded when it is pronounced, which we don’t do with a simple consonant. It does not involve 2 sounds (C+u), but a single sound or phoneme., because they are pronounced differently than those that are unlabialized; let’s compare the following words: mak and / maku! cry!, apu uapamak I don’t see him/her / apu uapamaku you (sg) and I do not see him/her, tshek all of a sudden / tsheku which.

Spelling Solution

For labialized consonants, the decision was made to indicate labialization with an exponent (or raised) u: CuDIALECTOLOGY: Other Algonquian languages use the spelling kw instead. In Innu, the decision was made not to use this spelling, but it is regularly used for digital information. for example, if you type w in the Innu Dictionary, it is automatically converted to an exponent u.

Because labialized consonants don’t all behave the same way, they are treated separately in their own pages, the links to which are available below.