Spoken Cree, Level 2: West Coast of James Bay


560 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88864-396-9
DDC 497'.3




Reviewed by John Steckley

John Stanley is a senior policy advisor in the Corporate Policy Branch
Management Board Secretariat, Government of Ontario.


This is the second volume in the monumental three-part series developed
by C. Douglas Ellis to teach the two West James Bay dialects of Swampy
and Moose Cree. Like the Level I book, the writing is in Moose Cree, and
like the first work as well, Spoken Cree, Level II contains 18 units,
each broken down into seven parts: basic conversation, discussion of
grammar, drills, conversation practice, listening in (consisting of
another conversation using the forms taught in the unit), reference, and
review. Added for this level is writing in Cree syllabics alongside the
alphabetic writing of Cree.

The book is well designed and its cultural focus is good, with
realistic Northern Cree community conversations, not the stilted and
unnatural conversation that existed in earlier, missionary-driven work.
Although Ellis explains and illustrates the grammatical terminology
well, his book would have benefited from the inclusion of a short
linguistic glossary at the back.

Spoken Cree, Level II is not a stand-alone work; this is so not only
because of the need for the introduction of the first book, but because
the glossary covering all three levels has been deferred until the as
yet unpublished third book. Both Spoken Cree, Level II and its
predecessor are an ideal resource for classroom and distance education
in Cree for linguistic, anthropology, and Aboriginal studies


Ellis, C. Douglas., “Spoken Cree, Level 2: West Coast of James Bay,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15336.