Indoojibwem!

Indoojibwem!

When I set out to look for learning materials on the web, I was initially excited to find so many search results for the language. This excitement quickly faded with the number of 404 - Not Found messages I kept getting on each click of a link. So I've created this space as a repository of resources for learning Anishinaabemowin, or more specifically, Ojibwemowin. With time, I hope it can be of use not just to me, but to others.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Starting to read in Ojibwe


It's been a while since I've completed the Pimsleur course, although I probably should still write up a final review post for the last ten lessons, and maybe even the last two lessons. Truthfully, the last two Pimsleur lessons don't teach anything new. They just reinforce what's already been learned throughout the course.

A while back I purchased the book "Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales & Oral Histories (Native Voices)" and have started to go through it. It's a great collection of stories, written in Ojibwe with English translation, that, if what I'm seeing now is any indication, will really push my Ojibwe knowledge forward. The book also includes a glossary at the end for vocabulary look-ups.

So with this post I'd like to go over a short passage and include my own comments and observations. The format I think I'd like to use for posts like this is to quote the entire passage, first in Ojibwe, then in English. I'll then follow up with a line-by-line dissection of the text. Keep in mind that a lot of times there's just isn't an elegant way to map translations between the two languages, so these dissections will seem very unnatural at times.

This first passage is relatively simple, as far as Ojibwe goes. But it hits upon a couple of important language points, that are repeated and reinforced throughout. 


Gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziyaang

Akawe niwii-tibaajim o’ow gaa-izhiwebiziyaan o’ow isa gii-oshki-bimaadiziyaan.
Gaawiin ingikendanziin aandi gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziyaan—gemaa gaye wiigiwaaming gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziwaanen gemaa gaye nisawa’ogaaning gemaa gaye iwidi ingoji megwekob gemaa gaye.
Mii iwidi gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziwaambaanen.
Baanimaa ashi-niiyo-biboonagiziyaan, mii apii waakaa’igaans noosiban gaa-ozhitood. 
Mii apii gii-ayaayaang.
Ishkweyaang, mii apane wiigiwaaming ingii-taamin. 
Mii dash imaa gaa-tazhi-nitaawigiyaan imaa, imaa sa Inaandagokaag ezhinikaadeg.
Mewinzha ingii-tazhi-ondaadiz. 
Ingitiziimag igaye imaa ginwenzh omaa gii-tanakiiwag, nayenzh igo.
Noosiban, iwidi sa Misi-zaaga’iganiing ezhinikaadeg, mii iwidi gaa-tazhi-ondaadizid a’aw noosiban.
Mii dash imaa, midaaswi-ashi-zhaangaso-biboonagizid, mii imaa gii-wiidigemaad nimaamaayibanen. 
Miish omaa gii-ayaad biinish gii-maajaad.
Miinawaa onow oniijaanisan gii-shaangachiwan oniijaanisan, ingitiziimag.


Where We Were Born

First of all, I am going to talk about what happened with me when I was young. 
I don’t know where I was born—in a bark lodge, or maybe I was born in a lodge with a peaked roof, or maybe somewhere in the woods. 
That’s where I must have been born.
Later on, when I was fourteen years old, my father made a house. 
We stayed there at that time. 
Before that we had always lived in bark lodges. 
Then I was born there, there at Balsam Lake as it’s called. 
I was born a long time ago. 
And both of my parents lived here for a long time.
My father, he was born over there at Mille Lacs as it is called. 
Then, when he was nineteen years old, there he married my mother. 
Then he stayed here until he left [for the spirit world]. 
And my parents had nine children.


Gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziyaang
  • I touched on how to form the basic past tense in my posting titled "Basic past tense (VAI)" before, but didn't talk about vowel changes between "gii-" and "gaa-". This often happens when using the conjunct form of the verb (in this case, ondaadizi). There's also another important consonant change in the second preverb, "tazhi-". The actual preverb is "dazhi-" and means "in a certain place". Finally, the conjugation of "ondaadizi" uses the exclusive "we", so it looks something like this: Past tense preverb [gaa-]-in a certain place (dazhi-[consonant shift])-we (exclusive) were born [ondaadiziyaang] (conjunct).
  • Akawe niwii-tibaajim o’ow gaa-izhiwebiziyaan o’ow isa gii-oshki-bimaadiziyaan.
    • "Tiibajim" is another example of a consonant shift from "d" to "t", so "niwii-tiibajim" is "I will talk about". "Izhiwebizi" means "a certain thing that happened". We also have another vowel change from "gii-" to "gaa-" in the past tense preverb. It might be helpful to equate the vowel change in the past tense preverb when the verb it's affixed to implies a "what", "when", "how", "who", etc. So "gaa-izhiwebiziyaan" would be "*what* happened".  We also have an intensifier "isa" for "o'ow" (this). The "oshki-" preverb means "new" or "young". So the structure of the sentence would be like this:  First I will talk about this what happened when I was young".
  • Gaawiin ingikendanziin aandi gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziyaan—gemaa gaye wiigiwaaming gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziwaanen gemaa gaye nisawa’ogaaning gemaa gaye iwidi ingoji megwekob gemaa gaye.
    • "Gaawiin ingikendanziin" is familiar enough. It was introduced in Pimsleur lesson 6. The next new bit of vocabulary we have here is "gemaa gaye". It's used when listing off possibilities, such as "maybe this... or maybe this... or maybe that". The construction of the sentence would be something like this: I don't know when past tense preverb-in a certain place-I was born (conjunct) - or maybe in a bark lodge, or maybe I was born in a lodge with a peaked roof, or maybe there somewhere/anywhere in the woods (in the brush/thicket), maybe and/also.
  • Mii iwidi gaa-tazhi-ondaadiziwaambaanen.
    • The intensifier "mii" was introduced in Pimsleur lesson 5. The sentence construction would look like this: So there past tense preverb-in that certain place-I must have been born.
  • Baanimaa ashi-niiyo-biboonagiziyaan, mii apii waakaa’igaans noosiban gaa-ozhitood. 
    • When talking about a person's age, the number of years is used as a preverb affixed to the verb "biboonagizi", meaning "is a number of years old". So the construction would be: Later fourteen-at number of years old (conjunct), at that time a house my father built (ozhitoon).
  • Mii apii gii-ayaayaang.
    • This construction is straight forward. "So then we stayed there."  
  • Ishkweyaang, mii apane wiigiwaaming ingii-taamin. 
    • "Ishkweyaang" is another new word, meaning "before that (time)". So the sentence construction is: Before that, always/continually in a bark lodge I did live.
  • Mii dash imaa gaa-tazhi-nitaawigiyaan imaa, imaa sa Inaandagokaag ezhinikaadeg.
    • "Nitaawigi" literally means "grow up", but here it translates as "be born". "Sa", reinforces "imaa" to mean "there." Here is how the sentence is constructed: And then there in that certain place I grew up, there at Balsam Lake as it is called.
  • Mewinzha ingii-tazhi-ondaadiz. 
    • Another new word, "mewingzha", means "A long time ago", and we also have the more usual use of "ondaadiz" for "is born". An easy to decipher sentence, for a change: A long time ago I was born.
  • Ingitiziimag igaye imaa ginwenzh omaa gii-tanakiiwag, nayenzh igo.
    • We have another new word for "parents", "ingitiziimag". Also notice the consonant shift from "danakii" to "tanakii", meaning "live in a certain place". We also have "nayenzh", meaning "both" and reinforced by "igo". Think of "igo" as something along the lines of "of them". So here is the word order of the sentence: My parents also for a long time here lived in this certain place, both.
  • Noosiban, iwidi sa Misi-zaaga’iganiing ezhinikaadeg, mii iwidi gaa-tazhi-ondaadizid a’aw noosiban.
    •   I didn't mention this in the sentence above referencing Balsam lake, but when you see "ezhinikaadeg" after a place name, it often means "so-called", or "as it is called", but literally means "thus" or "so". Here is the sentence order: My father, over there in Mille Lacs as it is called, was born there, my father.
  • Mii dash imaa, miish imaa midaaswi-ashi-zhaangaso-biboonagizid, mii imaa gii-wiidigemaad nimaamaayibanen. 
    • "Miish" means "it was so", or "and then". We also have another new word for "marry" or "is married", "wiidige". "Nimaamaayibanen" is easy enough to figure out that "my mother is involved, but the "yibanen" ending denotes that the action was done to her. And then there, it was such that at nineteen years old, there he married (conjunct) my mother. 
  • Miish omaa gii-ayaad biinish gii-maajaad.
    • "Biinish" means "until". Also, "majaa" means leaves" or "departs", but is used in the sense that a person has died and moved on. Thus: It was such here he was (he stayed/lived) until he departed (he died). 
  • Miinawaa onow oniijaanisan gii-shaangachiwan oniijaanisan, ingitiziimag.
    • "Shaagachiwan" also represents another consonant shift from "zhaagachiwan" after the "gii-" past tense preverb, and the "an" ending denotes plural. So the final sentence structure would be: And/also these children were nine children (born), by my parents.

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What's the big takeaway from this reading? Well, for me it's the consonant changes and liberal use of emphatic words. I'm finding the liberal use of emphatic words particularly helpful.

It's impossible for me to decide which vocabulary is new for other people, so I'll only include a list of new vocabulary that's relevant to me. But keep in mind that any vocabulary not referenced in this list has probably already been covered in the Pimsleur lessons or in some of my supplemental material on this blog.

New vocabulary:
  • dibaajim - talk about [something], tell of [something]
  • gemaa gaye - or maybe
  • ishkweyaang - before that time, before then
  • ozhitoon - build
  • nitaawigi - grow up, be born
  • mewingzha - a long time ago
  • ingitiziimag - my parents
  • danakii - live in a certain place
  • miish imaa - it was so, and so
  • wiidige - marry, is married
  • biinish - until

3 comments:

  1. Boozhoo Rick. I don't know if you're aware, but you can listen to narrations of most of these stories on line without cost. These stories are mainly taken from the Oshkaabewis Native Journal at www.bemidjistate.edu/airc/oshkaabewis/issues/. If you go to this site and click on ONJ VOL 3 NUM 2, play audio files, you'll be able to listen to most of Archie Mosay's stories, including the one you discuss above. I'm currently in the process of compiling a reference for all the stories in "Living our Language" which I'll put on my blog, Bemidjilanguagetables, when I complete it. Thanks Rick for maintaining a good Ojibwe blogsite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David,

      Good to hear from you. It's great that you'll have a cross-reference between the two sources. I was aware that many of the "Living our Language" stories had their start in the Journal, but without going to the back issues page and downloading everything, it's difficult to figure out where they actually are, so thanks for that!

      Delete
  2. Miigwech nibowa for the work here, Rick. It's hard to find good learning material for Ojibwe, as you know, and my one big frustration with the Pimsleur CDs has been their lack of written supplement. Nice job!

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