The Cree Syllabary and the Writing System Riddle: A Paradigm in Crisis

  • Suzanne McCarthy
Part of the Neuropsychology and Cognition book series (NPCO, volume 7)


In October of 1840, in Norway House on the northern tip of Lake Winnipeg, the Wesleyan Methodist minister, James Evans, printed the first copy of the Cree Syllabary. The syllabary was a highly structured chart which displayed consonant values down the left-hand side and vowel qualities across the top. Each symbol occurred twice, the second time in a broken form to indicate an added feature of vowel length. In less than a year two more symbols were added to represent /w/ and /h/. Thus all the refinements necessary to represent a “mature spelling style” (Nichols, 1984) were completed.


Writing System Visible Speech Language Planning Cree Writing Vowel Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

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  • Suzanne McCarthy

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