WORDS are the basic units in grammar.
Written words are often set apart and distinguished from other words by spaces, which indicate the beginning and end of the word. This is the case in English, in French, and often in Innu. However, there are exceptions. Sometimes whole words can include spaces, as in French chemin de fer, bande dessinée, pomme de terre and in Innu nika atussen I will work.
In Innu, simple written words are written without a space or a hyphen:
|mitshuap||house||mitshuapit||in the house|
|nitatussen||I work||tshinikamutan||we sang|
In some cases, Innu words use a hyphen. These are compound words, such as:
|mishta-min||orange||nimińu-tutuau||I treat her/him well|
|ishkuteu-ush||motor boat||atiku-uiash||caribou meat|
In other cases, gaps (spaces) are used inside a single word. The following examples are words that contain gaps/spaces:
|nika atussen||I will work|
|tshui mitshishun||you want to eat|
|tshika ui mitshishun||you will want to eat|
These examples are all verbs, where the beginning is determined by the presence of a personal prefix and the end by a personal suffix.