January, 2003

Read these OVERVIEW sections a couple of times. Don't really study them in detail or try to memorize anything just yet--just read them slowly. By the end of a second casual reading, you will notice that you can already pick out certain patterns or easily predict them. If you later study a section in detail for a third time, we are sure you will amaze yourself with your progress and understanding. When you get through them, be proud of your self because this is a high level overview--much harder than the first Lesson. But, these are only overviews--familiarity brings ease of understanding, as you'll soon see.

CREEK: Grammatical Structure Review: AN OVERVIEW: Part I

Do you see Ē and ē, that is, an "e" with a long mark over it? If not, you may see one the following in its place on these pages. A plain capital E in the middle of a word, a strange looking symbol or an umlauted e, that is, an ë (with two dots over it). Simply replace these with the appropriate long "e." Ē -or- ē. Some browsers do not display the long e well.

Creek sentence structure--cardinal rule:

Subject -- Object -- Verb
(
S.O.V.)

There are no articles (the, a or an) in Creek. You must supply these in translation.
Creek Nouns: Nouns end in a vowel in their dictionary form. Examples:
 

Aha

potato, potatoes

Estē

Person (this word has a plural form)

Cato or Catu

stone, rock, stones, rock

Cuko or Coko

house, houses

Pvtu, Patu or Pato

mushroom, mushrooms

Ohliketv

chairs, chairs

Efv

dog, dogs

This is their raw or naked form, the way theyre found in a dictionary. Many Creek words can be spelled more than one way—they are spelled as they are pronounced in different Muskogee speaking communities. Most nouns are both singular and plural in meaning. Only kinship terms, body parts and a few personal terms have plurals. Most Creek plurals are indicated within the sentence verbs or modifiers and not by the nouns.

Nouns used as the subject of a sentence will be marked with a final "-t" added only to the final word of the subject phrase. It is as if the "-t" is saying "Thats all there is of the subject, folks; the next words function as something else." The "-t" closes the subject. Remember, there are not articles in Creek, supply them in translation.

Ahat

A potato, potato as a subject in a sentence

Catot

The stone, stone as a subject in a sentence

Estēt

The person, person as a subject in a sentence

Nouns used, as the object of a sentence, will be marked with a final "-n" added only to the last word of the object phrase. The "--n" closes the object portion of the sentence. Simple and practical grammar!

ahan

potato, as an object in a sentence

caton

stone, as an object in a sentence

cukon

house, as the object in a sentence

English nouns are generally very narrow or specific in their defined meaning. Creek nouns are more like giant suitcases. Each noun usually packs a lot of meanings within itself. With additions, such as another letter, syllable, or particle, (prefix, suffix, affix, infix and so forth), Creek nouns expand into broad categories that greatly enrich the language’s internal "feel." At the same time, this gives fits to English speaking students who are taught to use words in a narrow specific focus. Put another way, English often has many words to narrowly define an action, idea or object, while Creek often uses one word to define more than one action, idea or object. Creek nouns provide a whole new way of seeing, understanding and dividing up the universe and your experiences within it. Each language is well suited for its own culture. Each does an adequate job fulfilling communication needs.

Narrow focus or use:

cuko or coko

house, houses

estē

person

eto, sometimes as ‘to

tree, trees

Broad focus or use:

cuko or coko

house, building, structure, home, abode; that these are all man-made structures is the common feature.

estē

person, someone, anyone, somebody, anybody; Estē also serves as the impersonal pronoun.

estvlkē*

people, humankind, humanity, mankind, nation, race

eto or to

tree, trees, wood, lumber

etvlkē*

forest, woods; eto + -vlkē, the collective plural

cepvnvlkē

all the boys, cepvnē + -vlkē, a collective plural

Modifiers, such as adjectives and adverbs, will usually end in a long "-ē," which can be represented by a capital "E" in email or typed pages. This ending is their dictionary form. When modifiers become part of compound words the long "ē" relaxes and becomes a simple short "e" sound not requiring the long mark above it. A final long "ē" becomes an "a" when describing a characteristic of the noun modified. This is demonstrated later in the text.

catē red

hvtkē white

pvfne quick, quickly, fast, swift

vculē old, elderly

hērē good, well, beautiful

yekcē strong, loud, bold

hērēko not good, bad, unacceptable

hvlwē high, (directional/locational)

"-eko-," often reduced to just "-k-," negates modifiers and verbs.