shashkaimu s/he lights it nishashkain I light it
pakuneimu s/he pierces it nipakunein I pierce it

The stems of verbs like shashkaimu and pakuneimu are shashkai- and pakunei-. They can be found before the endings -mu or -n.

These stem finals consist of a vowel followed by the sound [j]LINGUISTICS : The sounds [j] and [w] are called semi-consonants or semi-vowels because they can act like a vowel or a consonant. In Innu spelling, these sounds are written with the letters i and u, which are also used to write the vowels [i] and [u]. (also called yod) : ai [aj] (as in English pie or sky), or ei [ej] (as in English may, day). TI stems ending in ai or ei usually have as their basic meaningLINGUISTICS : These stem endings are called instrumental endings in Algonquian linguistics. an action that is done with a blow or an object, either a tool or an instrument. Because the stems end in vowels, the thematic TI vowels -a- and -e- are dropped Except in the Pessamit dialect: [nt∫ǝpje:n] I close it., as if replaced by the final stem vowels, as shown in the following examples.

takaimu s/he touches it takaimuat they touch it
shashkaimu s/he lights it shashkai! light it!
maimu s/he goes downstream by canoe tshika main you go downstream by canoe
utamaimu s/he hits it nutamaiti I hit it
munaimu s/he digs it up nimunainan we dig it up
tshinaimu s/he sharpens it tshinaimińua s/he (obv) sharpens it
tepaimu s/he meets it by chance tshitepaiti you met it by chance
apaimu s/he takes it apart apaimuat they take it apart
peshaimu s/he paints it apu peshaik s/he doesn’t paint it
mishaimu s/he patches it nimishain I patch it
kutaimu s/he verifies it apu kutaiman I don’t verify it
kashkameimu s/he takes a shortcut by canoe nikashkamein I take a shortcut by canoe
pińeimu s/he frays it eka pińei! don’t fray it!
pakuneimu s/he pierces it pakuneimupan s/he pierced it
natumesheimu s/he goes fishing by boat natumesheitau! let’s go fishing by boat!
tapitsheimu s/he brushes it apu tapitsheik s/he doesn’t brush it
atatsheimu s/he fences it in apu atatsheimin you don’t fence it in
amisseimu s/he mixes it amissei! mix it!
  • In the eastern dialects, vowels followed by [j] are pronounced, while in the western dialects, ai is pronounced more as though there were only one vowel: [i:]. Western speakers should therefore be aware that, in writing, there is no TI ending in i [imu]; they are always spelled: -aimu, -eimu, -ain, -ein, etc. On the other hand, ei stems are always pronounced [ej]. So the difficulty is in knowing which vowel, a or e, precedes the i.
  • In eastern dialects, the distinction between -ai and -ei has a tendency to be neutralized, i.e. the two pronunciations are the same, and closer to [ej] than [aj]. It is therefore necessary to learn how to distinguish these endings. The dictionary is a useful tool for knowing the correct spelling of these TI verbs.