mishkamu s/he finds it nimishken I find it
shashkaimu s/he lights it nishashkain I light it
pakuneimu s/he pierces it nipakunein I pierce it

The stem of TI verbs like mishkamu is the part mishk- that comes before the endings -amu or -en. The stems of verbs like shashkaimu and pakuneimu are shashkai- and pakunei- (before the endings -mu or -n).

There are 2 types of TI stems:

  • Stems ending in a consonant (dictionary form ends in -amu): mishkamu
  • Stems ending in ai or ei (dictionary form ends in -aimu or -eimu): shashkaimu, pakuneimu
  • Historically, all TI verbs were conjugated the same way. ai and ei stem TI verbs ended with an h, which was preserved in the Mashteuiatsh dialect: tashkahamu s/he splits it, ashtuehamu s/he extinguishes it, which became tashkaimu and ashtueimu in the other dialects.
It’s not easy to dintinguish -ai- verbs (like tashkaimu s/he splits it) from -ei- verbs (like pakuneimu s/he pierces it), because -ai- and -ei- tend to be pronounced the same way: [e:j] or [i:], [ta∫ke:jm] or [ta∫ki:m]. Spelling these TI verbs correctly requires effort, and we recommend using the dictionary when in doubt.