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Ojibwe grammar lesson

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

These are the prototypical vta verb endings in Ojibwe. In this lesson we will briefly show how they conjugate (change, or dont change.)

- m

Aazhaweweshim- record the sound of h/

Wiizhaam- ask s.o along, urge s,o to come

Zhiingenim- dislike s.o , hate someone

Zhingadeshim- lay h/ spread out

- n

Agon- hold him or her up against something

Zhiigon- empty s.o

Jaagin- be out of h/

Zaginijiin- shake hands with h/

- ’

Waasiko’ -make him shiny

Wapaa’ -disturb someones sleep


Wawezhi’ - decorate s.o, dress someone up

Zhoobi’ - attract s.o, please s.o

- ’w

Zhiibaakwa’w- stretch h/ on a stretcher

Zhiibiiga’w- stretch h/ using s.t

Bakobiinaazha’w- tell h/ to get in the water

Maajinaazha’w- send him off

- zh (n)

Jaaginazh- kill h/ off

Gopaawazh- haul h/ inland

Ondaawazh- haul h/ from a certain place

Wana’azh -lose his trail

- aw

Abizamaw- warm it up for him or her at the fire

Oshaakaw- scare game away

Jiibiingwetaw- wink at h/

Biidaw- bring it for him

-sh (s)

ashi -put h/ down in some place

Mawadish- visit h/


mazinaakiz! = take h/ picture

nimazinaakizwaa = I’m taking h/ picture.

Jaagaakizw- burn h/ up

jaagiz = burn h/

- o (w)

onzo(w) boil s.o ;

gidamo = eat h/ all up (“Gidam bakwezhigan!” = finish the bread!)

When conjugating or using these words in speech they change depending upon who is doing what to who.

* “vta” means s/he is doing something to someone.

Today we are going to use these verbs in “A” form or independant form which mean it is a stand alone statement or complete sentence.

Today we will work on conjugating each type VTA verb endings for Niin to Giin. There are other examples we will talk about later, besides niin to giin, that include us, them, you all, etc… but right now let’s keep it simple and focus on niin→ giin (me to you).

Me→ you = Niin→ Giin


Gid abizamoon- I am warming it for you at the fire.

Notice on the personal prefix there is a “d” added before the vowel a

Gi+d abizamoon

Also notice how the -aw on the end of the word fell off and changed to ‘oon’

This is commonly used in Southern Ojibwe

* In northern dialects such as Ponemah and into Ontario the aw on the end does not have to drop. It is also acceptable to say: (Ponemah dialect uses both)

Gid abizamawin- Im warming it for you at the fire.

Gid abizamoon- Im warming it for you at the fire.

Bform or conjunct is an incomplete statement and means when. As, if or that

I→ you verb+inaan

A b-form statement can only stand alone if it is happening in the moment or as the speaker is pointing out something.

Abizamoonaan- If I warm it for you at the fire


It would usually be incorrect to say abizamoonaan all by itself (unless happening in the moment)

One would need an A form statement to attach to it;

Abizamoonaan, diba’amawishin! If I warm it for you, pay me!

_m endings

adaam vta buy (it) from h Gid adaam+in I buy it from you. A-form (notice nothing happens to the m. It doesn’t drop or go away

Adaaminaan- When as or if I buy it from you.


agon vta hold h/ up against Gid agon+in I hold you up against something. A-form

Agoninaan- When I hold you up against something. B-form conjunct


agwana' vta cover h/ Gid agwana’ +in I cover you up. A-form

Agwana’ +inaan If I cover you up, b-form

(The (‘) apostrophe ending on a vta usually means doing something to someone using something.)


Bakite’w Gi bakite’on I hit you.



Mawinazh -vta- attack h/ run at him Gi mawinan+in I attack you. (notice the zh falls off and changes to N.

Miininaan- If I give it to you.


Mawadish Gi mawadisin I visit you.


Special thanks to Zoe Brown at the University of Minnesota. We are referring to her notes as a foundation to create these slides. The language lesson was created by Zac Earley. We appreciate your patience as we get used to different platforms and try to become acquainted with technology. :) We anticipate that as we learn the programs we are working with, our lessons will improve. We are aware that the sound quality and image quality needs to improve, and we are working on it!

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