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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Fun Michif Words

I’ve just acquired the book Metis Legacy II, which contains a lot of great information about Metis history and culture, including some info on the Michif language and some interesting words, which I shall share with you. I don’t know the etymology of all of these, so some will be written in a less phonetic spelling.

Chimuck – the splashing sound made by something dropped in water, also used as a phrase to mean “dropping in your tracks” or abrupt death. [I'm not sure where this comes from, but it's used in Michif, Metis English, and Bungee, the extinct dialect of mixed Scottish/Orcadian English, Gaelic, Cree, and Ojibwe.]

Nicimos – sweetheart, a word for girlfriend/boyfriend/feyfriend. Also spelled nichimoose. [From Cree]

Chookamish - expression for looking sheepish, guilty, or unsteady. [I have no info on where this came from.]

Kiyam - a reply, meaning anything from “let it be” to “it’s all right” to “never mind” to “forget about it.” [From Cree]

Mojisair – exclamation of “Oh my God!” Also seen as mojichien. Pronounced “mozhiser,” “mozhishien.” [From French, mon Dieu, seigneur.]

Paskwa - expression for looking shabby or being financially embarrassed, also spelled pusqua. [Uncertain origin]

Mafwe - exclamation, “Oh my goodness!” Also spelled mafway. [Whereas mojisair comes from French, mafway comes from Cree. It also happens to be one of my favorite Michif words.]

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