When conjugating TI verbs, a special inflection, called a thematic suffixThematic suffixes are special inflections found in the conjugation of transitive verbs, i.e. VTI and VTA. in Algonquian linguistics, is usually added to the base form of the TI stem.

Person and tense endings are added after the thematic suffix. The structure of a TI verb conjugated in the Independent order (where it can take person prefixes) is as follows:

person prefix + TI stem + thematic suffix + person and tense endings

Note: Personal prefixes are only used in the Independent for first and second persons.

Example Formations of TI Verbs

ni + tshitapat + e + nan = nitshitapatenan we watch something (Independent)
tshitapat + am + u + at = tshitapatamuat they watch something (Independent)
tshitapat + am + an = tshitapataman if I watch something (Conjunct)
tshitapat + a + k = tshitapatak if s/he watches something (Conjunct)
tshitapat + a = tshitapata! watch it! (Imperative)


VTA thematic suffixes in the Independent Order:

am 3rd person of the Independent
1st and 2nd persons and 4th person (obviative) of the Conjunct
2nd person plural of the Imperative Indicative Present
2nd person of the Imperative Indicative Future
e 1st and 2nd persons of the Independent
1st person plural of the Imperative Indicative Present (21)In the Eastern dialect, the thematic suffix -am- is used concurrently for this person of the Imperative Indicative Present: [natu:tǝmutaw] ~ [natu:te:taw] let’s listen!. Only the old ending -etau has been kept in Innu spelling..
a 3rd person (proximate, non-obviative) of the Conjunct
2nd person singular of the ImperativeIn the Western dialect, the thematic vowel of this Imperative (2s) is often replaced by a low tone (e.g.: [t∫i:ta:pà:t] look!. Moreover, still in this dialect, after a stem ending in -sh or -shk, it’s rather the vowel e that is pronounced: [a:pa;∫e:] thaw something!, [pu∫tǝ∫ke:] dress something!,
2nd persons of the Imperative Indirect


However, the thematic suffixes -e- and -a- are not added to the TI ai-stems or ei-stems, probably due to the historic evolution of the phonetics.HISTORICALLY: -ahamu > -aj; -ehamu > -ej. Also, /aj/ and /ej/ are pronounced [i] in the Western dialects. Therefore, in modern Innu, the VTI thematic vowels disappear After stems ending in the instrumental finals -ai- and -ei-, meaning with a blow, with an object, an instrument, the thematic vowel -e- is only pronounced in Pessamit: [nt∫ǝpje:n]; elsewhere, it is not pronounced: [nt∫ǝpa:jn].after the finals ai and ei du stem:


ni + tashkai + e + nan = nitashkainan we split something
apu tashkai + a + k = apu tashkaik s/he doesn’t split something
tashkai + a = tashkai! split something
tashkai + e + tau = tashkaitau! let’s split something
tashkai + am + u = tashkaimu s/he splits something

The TI thematic suffix -am- becomes -m- after an ai- or ei-stem: tashkaimu s/he splits something, apu tashkaiman I don’t split something.