|6,165 (2016 census)|
Atikamekw (endonym: Atikamekw Nehiromowin, literally "Atikamekw native language") is a variety of the Algonquian language Cree and the language of the Atikamekw people of southwestern Quebec, Canada. It is spoken by nearly all the Atikamekw, and therefore it is among the indigenous languages least threatened with extinction, according to some studies.
Atikamekw is a language belonging to the Cree–Montagnais–Naskapi linguistic continuum, which is part of the Central branch of the Algonquian languages of the Algic family of languages. It is sometimes classified as a dialect of Cree.
The Atikamekw reflex of Proto-Algonquian liquid ("L" sound) *l is [ɾ] (spelled 'r'). The corresponding sound in other Cree dialects is [n], [j], [l], or [ð] (it is consistently one of these depending on the dialect). So, alternatively, it is also referred to as the "r-Dialect of Cree". Another way in which Atikamekw is distinctive among dialects of Cree is in having many loanwords from the Anishinaabe language.
The consonants of Atikamekw are listed below in the standard orthography and with IPA equivalents in brackets:
|Nasal||m [m]||n [n]|
|Stop||p [p]||t [t]||tc (c) [t͡ʃ]||k [k]|
|Fricative||s [s]||c (s̀) [ʃ]||h [h]|
|Approximant||w [w]||i (y) [j]|
In Atikamekw, fortis and lenis consonants are not distinguished in writing, even though they are in speech. But if precise spelling is required, fortis consonant realised as a geminate is indicated with an underline on the letter of concern.
The vowels of Atikamekw are listed below: