The verbs above have a stem ending in au: natau-, upau-, ishikapau-. The Innu Dictionary gives the following information about au stems.
In western dialects, au stems are often pronounced with long u: [t∫ǝtǝmu:] tshitimaus/he is poor. However, this pronunciation [u:] is not systematic in the western dialects, since the pronunciation [a:w] is found in all dialectsWhen there is a long a, the sequence [a:w] remains as is in all dialects. for kuetshinaus/he does many things (pronounced [kwe:tńa:w]) and upiuaus/he has hair (pronounced [upi:wa:w]).
AI VERBS WITH au STEMS
s/he is covered with sand
you are covered with sand
s/he is filthy
you are filthy
s/he is poor
I was poor
s/he is in disguise
we are in disguise
s/he gets married
we get married
s/he flies high
s/he does not fly high
s/he stands up straight
stand up straight!
s/he is hairy
s/he is not hairy
In the 3rd person singular of the Independent Indicative Present (the dictionary form), au stems look a lot like long a stems, especially since the a is sometimes long (in which case it is pronounced [aw] in all dialects); however, when conjugating au stems it becomes clear that the u appears everywhere in the conjugated forms, which is not the case for long a stems; for example: nekaus/he is covered with sand, ninekaunI am covered with sand, tshinekaunyou are covered with sand.
In the eastern dialect, au stems could be confused with long u stems (for example with verbs like nekau, ukaumau and akuneshau in the table above), because their conjugations are identical. In the western dialect, the pronunciation distinguishes these 2 stem types, and it’s for this reason that they are considered separate stems, as described in the dictionary.
Verbs with stems ending in -kapaustanding up are all au stems; once you know how to conjugate one, you can conjugate them all.
As for all short u stems, the inflection -u of the 3rd person singular of the Independent Indicative Present is assimilated to the u of the stem.
Baraby, A.-M. & Junker, M.-O. (2014). Les radicaux de verbes. Dans Grammaire innue / Innu Grammar / Aimun-Mashinaikan. Repéré à [URL]
Anne-Marie Baraby et Marie-Odile Junker. Les radicaux de verbes. Dans Grammaire innue / Innu Grammar / Aimun-Mashinaikan. 2014. Web. [date]
[URL] = l’addresse du site web, débutant avec le “http://” [Date] = la date à laquelle la page a été consultée, écrit comme suit: 10 déc. 2013