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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Basic past tense (VAI)

So far, we've learned the present tense for VAI verbs in both independent and conjunct forms, one of two forms of the future tense, and a conditional mood. We've also briefly touched on the imperative, in the form of "Let's [do something]".

We haven't yet gone into the past tense. In fact, for whatever reason, Pimsleur chose not to include it in its 30 lesson course. So I'm including some basics here.

The rules are as simple as when forming the future tense. Instead of using "wii", we'll be using "gii". So to ask if it was cold yesterday, for example, we would say "Gii-gisinaa agwajiing?"

Some other examples, using both independent and conjunct form, and a negative:
Examples using "minikwe"

  • Awenen gaa-minikweyan makade-mashkikiwaaboo? ** - Who drank the coffee? (Remember that because we're using a question word ("Awenen") we need to conjugate the verb in conjunct form.)
  • Gigii-minikwe zhingobaaboo na? - Did you drink the beer?
** More on why minikwe takes "gaa" as a past tense marker in a later post.

Examples using "izhaa"

  • Gigii-izhaa na iwidi niimi'iding bijiinaago? - Did you go to the pow-wow yesterday? 
  • Oodenaang nigii-izhaa dibikong. - I went to town last night.

Here's an example of using the past in a negative form:

  • Gaawiin ningii-izhaasii adaawewigamigong. - I didn't go to the store.

New words:

  • bijiinaago - yesterday
  • dibikong - last night
Things get more complicated once we move beyond VAI verbs. I'll cover those in another post (or two), but for now, this is a basic start using the past tense with VAI verbs.


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