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.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Double Vowel Writing System

I'm going to briefly cover the Double Vowel writing system, which is what is primarily used in Southwestern Ojibwe written material.

There is currently no single, unified written system used throughout the Anishinaabemowin speaking world, but the Double Vowel system is widely used. There are other writing systems in use; the Syllabary system used in Northern Manitoba and Ontario for example, among others. If you're interested in other writing systems, there's a great Wiki article located here.

The Double Vowel system is attributed to Charles Fiero and is sometimes referred to as the Fiero System. It's easily understood and I think that contributes to why it's in wide use.

The following is a list of all written sounds, an excample use and their approximate English equivalent. Note the the approximate English equivalent is just that - approximate.

Vowels Ojibwe Sound English Equivalent
a asemaa (tobacco) about
aa omaa (here) father
e esiban (raccoon) way
i gimiwan (it's raining) pin
ii niiwin (four) seen
o opin (potato) obey, book
oo oodenaang (in/to town) boat, boot

Consonants Ojibwe Sound English Equivalent
b bakwezhigan (bread) big
ch chi-oginiig (tomatoes) chin
d doodooshaaboo (milk) dog
g gaag (porcupine) go
h hay' (oops) hi
j maajaan (go) jello
k mikinaak (turtle) kite
m mamoon (take it) milk
n bine (partridge) name
p baapiwag (they laugh) pig
s es (clam) sun
sh nishkaadizi (s/he's angry) bush
t anit (fish spear) time
w waawan (egg) woman
y babagiwayaan (shirt) yell
z mooz (moose) zebra
zh niizh (two) measure
' ma'iingan (wolf) oh-oh (glottal stop)

Credit for this pronunciation guide goes to Rick Gresczyk (Ojibwe Word List. Eagle Works, Minneapolis, MN.) and to John Nichols and Earl Nyholm (A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe).

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