Elementary Cahto

Lesson 1

Lesson Goals

1. Learn the spelling of those Cahto sounds that are also in English.
2. Learn some simple nouns.
3. Learn some relationship terms with the first person singular possessor.
4. Learn basic "What is this?" and "Who is this?" frames.

Kineeshbii' Ch'ing (Language Sounds)

The easiest part of the Cahto alphabet uses the same letters as English with almost the same pronunciation. These letters are pronounced almost exactly like they are in English:

Cahto letterCahto exampleEnglish example
bbis, river bankbus
chching, treechunk
ddoo, notdough
ggoo, wormgo
hhang, that onehung
jjaang, hereJohn
kkiing, him/herselfking
llaat, seaweedlot
mmain, badgermine
nnees-ee, it is farnay-say
nghang, that onehung
pbaabeel, paperpapa
ssee, rocksay
shshash, grizzly bearshush
ttaak', threetick-tock
wwaakw, to one side of itwok
yyoo, over thereyo-yo

These spellings are easier in Cahto than in English, because each letter or group of letters refers to only one sound. English has "hard" and "soft" pronunciations of certain letters like "g" and "ch", but Cahto only has the "hard" pronunciation.

Cahto g is always the hard g as in "girl", never the soft g in "George".
Cahto ch is always the hard ch in "chop", never the soft ch in "chute".
Cahto t is always the hard t in "toe", never the soft t in "future".
Cahto s is always the hard s in "sing", never the soft s in "fusion".
Cahto l is always the light l in "eel", never the dark l in "all".

Another set of Cahto sounds have the same pronunciation as sounds in English, but a different spelling. These sounds are all vowels. The English spellings would be useless, because each vowel spelling in English refers to at least two, and often several pronunciations. We use double vowels to mark that the vowels are pronounced long like the vowel in "coat", not short like the vowel in "cot".

Cahto letterCahto exampleEnglish example
aaaal, firewoodall
eegees, king salmonguess
iikiing, him/herselfking
ootoo, watertoe
uuchuunoo', behind a treechew
Cahto aa is always like the a in "father" or "caught", never like the a in "cat".
Cahto ee is always like the e in "bed" or "weigh", never like the ee in "beep".
Cahto ii is always the like the i in "machine", never like the i in "file".
Cahto oo is always like the o in "mole", never like the o in "cot".
Cahto uu is always like the u in "tune", never like the u in "put" or "putt".

The final set of Cahto sounds for this lesson usually have nearly the same pronunciation as each other in Bill Ray's dialect. We need to use three different letters in order to account for what happens when the vowels are drawn out, and for the differences in the other dialects.

Cahto letterCahto exampleEnglish example
aban'tc, houseflybunch
ibis, river bankbus, kiss
okos, coughcuss, toss

Lheekingghityiish (Talking Together):

Diijii aant'ee?

This should be done as a question-and-answer chain. The first time through the teacher reads through all questions and answers. Then the teacher asks the first question and selects a student to give the answer. Then that same student asks the next student the next question. The exercise continues with each student answering a question, then asking another question. If possible the students should have cards or pictures of the different items.

Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Baabeel aant'ee.It is paper.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Baanchow aant'ee.It is a mussel.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Siis aant'ee.It is an otter.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
See aant'ee.It is a rock
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Ding aant'ee.He is a man.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Toonai aant'ee.It is a fish.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Jeeschow aant'ee.It is an elk.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Too aant'ee.It is water.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Yaahs aant'ee.It is snow.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Bis aant'ee.It is a river bank.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Chintaah aant'ee.It is a forest.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Ching aant'ee.It is a tree.
Diijii aant'ee?What is this?
Kwosh aant'ee.It is a blackberry.

Daanjii aant'ee?

This should also be done as a question-and-answer chain.

Daanjii aant'ee?Who is this?
Shtaa' aant'ee.This is my father.
Daanjii aant'ee?Who is this?
Shnang aant'ee.This is my mother.
Daanjii aant'ee?Who is this?
Shyaashtc aant'ee.This is my child (my young one).
Daanjii aant'ee?Who is this?
Shkii aant'ee.This is my child.
Daanjii aant'ee?Who is this?
Shkiik aant'ee.These are my children.

Kineesh (Words)


aalfirewood -nangmother
aant'eeit is baabeelpaper
baanchowmussel seerock
bisriver bank siisotter
chingtree, stick sh-my
chintaahforest -taa'father
daanjiiwho? -tcaigrandfather
diijiiwhat? -tcoograndmother
dingman toowater
jeeschowelk toonaifish
-kiichild, boy yaahssnow
-kiikchildren -yaashtcchild, young one
kwoshblackberry, thorn
river bank