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, January 22, 2013

Pimsleur Ojibwe Summary, lessons 1-10

Pimsleur sort of gets a bad rap in some language-learning circles, due to the limited amount of vocabulary it teaches. With this review of the first ten lessons, I want to demonstrate that it doesn't have to be that way. We can extend what we're learning with a little bit of thought and legwork. I've only used an online dictionary to supplement what we've already learned. No new grammar is introduced. I've recommended the Ojibwe People's Dictionary before, and it's what I used.

I'm at an advantage because I found some good grammar explanations and not-so-exact dialog transcripts for the course online, but I should also note that this Ojibwe course is better than some of the other Pimsleur courses I've seen. It's not a copy of the same dialog in every other language course that Pimsleur sells, so it's more tailored to the language's special characteristics.

The following is a short list of all grammatical parts we've learned so far in lessons one through ten. The brown text is what we've actually learned, noted with the lesson number. The text in green is new vocabulary I've added, with example sentences using only the grammatical rules we've learned up to this point. Some of the vocabulary will be introduced in later Pimsleur lessons, but I chose to add them into the mix now, because they require no further grammar knowledge and can easily extend what we've already learned.

At the end of this review I've also included a list of basic phrases learned, broken down by lesson number.

I plan on doing a review like this of lessons 11 through 20 and 21 through 30, too, once we've completed them.

So here's the breakdown of what we've learned so far:


ga- future tense marker (will), Lesson 1
izhi- thus; so; such, Lesson 2
mino- good; nice; well, Lesson 2
maazhi- bad; unwell; ill-formed, Lesson 3
wii - future tense (want to, would like to), Lesson 6
gichi-/chi- large; big; much; very, Lesson 10

bi- toward, here, this way
Come here (Bi-izhaan omaa.)

eta go - just, only, Lesson 1
gaawiin - no, Lesson 1
henh/henhyanh - yes, Lesson 1
miinawaa - again, also, too, Lesson 1
gaye - also; too; and; as well, Lesson 7
niibowa - much; a lot, Lesson 7
apii - then; while; at that time, Lesson 8
baanimaa - later; afterwards, Lesson 8
baanimaa apii - after a while; later on, Lesson 8
noongom - now; present; today, Lesson 8

still, yet (geyaabi)
I'm still hungry. (Geyaabi imbakade,)

soon (wayiiba)
I'm going to cook soon (Wayiiba niwii-jiibaakwe.)

always (moozhag)
I always drink water. (Moozhag nibi niminikwe,)

aaniish (questions word) - what?; how?; why?, Lesson 2
aaniindi (question word) where?, Lesson 5
Where are you going?
aaniish apii - when?, Lesson 8
wegonen - what?, Lesson 9

who (Awenen)
Whos is this?, Who is that? (Awenen wa'aw?, Awenen a'aw?)

Anishinaabe - Human; Indian; People; Person, Lesson 1
Ojibwe - Ojibwa , Lesson 1
inini - man; person, Lesson 3
ikwe - woman, Lesson 3
Zhaaganaashi - English; Irish; Scottish; British; Anglo-Canadian. Colloquially: non-Native; White, Lesson 4
zaaga'igan - lake, Lesson 5
giniw - eagle, Lesson 8
waabigwan - flower, Lesson 8
waakaa'igan - building; house; cabin; fort, Lesson 10
nibi - water, Lesson 10
aniibiishaaboo - tea, Lesson 10

coffee (makade-mashkikiwaaboo)
milk (doodooshaaboo)
beer (bilewaagoo)
food (miijim)

I want to buy coffee, milk, beer (Object + ni-wii-adaawen.)
Makade-mashkikiwaaboo ni-wii-adaawen.
Doodooshaaboo ni-wii-adaawen.
Bilewaagoo ni-wii-adaawen.

Will you buy milk? (Gi-wii-adaawen doodooshaaboo?)

river (ziibi) (Gichi-ziibing is Mississippi River)
city/town (gichi-oodena/oodena)
store/shop (adaawewigamig)

I want to go to the store, city, river (Place +(ang/ing/ong) + ni-wii-izhaa)
Adaawewigamigong ni-wii-izhaa.
Oodenaang ni-wii-izhaa.
Ziibing ni-wii-izhaa.

pronoun and demonstrative
ni/in/ind/indo and gi/gid/gido 1st and 2nd person singluar, Lesson 1
niin - I, me, my, Lesson 2
giin - you, your, yours, Lesson 2
aawi - he, she, it, Lesson 3
a'aw (demonstrative) - that (one), Lesson 4
-wag (conjunct) - third person plural: they; their; them; theirs verbal conjugation, Lesson 5
iwidi (demonstrative) - over there; yonder; that way, Lesson 5
omaa (demonstrative)- over here; hither; this way, Lesson 5
gegoo - something, Lesson 7

this (one) (wa'aw/wa'awe)
Whos is this? (Awenen wa'awe?)

aawi (vai) - is; am; be; are, Lesson 1
ojibwemo (vai) - speak the Ojibwa language, Lesson 1
waabam (vta) -find SB; see SB, Lesson 1
giizhigad (vii) - be day; be light, Lesson 2
ayaa (vai) - am; be, Lesson 2
nisidotam (vai2) - understand, Lesson 3
bakade (vai) - hunger; be hungry; be starving, Lesson 4
onjibaa (vai) - come from SOMEWHERE; originate from SOMEWHERE, Lesson 5
niimi'idi+wag (vai) - dance (with each other), Lesson 5 (always plural)
gikendan (vti) - know SOMETHING, Lesson 6
minikwe (vai) - drink, Lesson 7
daa (vai) - reside; live at; home; stay, Lesson 9
miijin (vti3) - eat ST, Lesson 9

go (izhaa)
I'm going to the city. (Gichi-oodenaang nindizhaa.)

come (izhaa)
Come to the restaurant (Bi-izhaan wiisiniwigamigong,) ** Notice the "bi-" preverb

buy (adaawe)
I'll buy food. (Ni-wii-miijimadaawe) ** Notice that "food" and "buy" are combined to form a new verb "buy food"

cook (jiibaakwe)
She is still cooking. (Geyaabi jiibaakwe.)

thirst/be thirsty (giishkaabaagwe)
I'm thirsty. (Ningiishkaabaagwe.)
Are you thirsty? (Giishkaabaagwe na?)

sit (namadabi)
He's sitting over there. (Namadabi iwidi.)

stand (niibawi)
I want to stand (Ni-wii-niibawi,)

go for a walk/stroll (babaamose)
I will go for a walk. (Ni-wii-babaamose.)

sleep (nibaa)
I want to sleep. (Ni-wii-nibaa.)

Aaniin - Hello, Lesson 1
boozhoo (interjection particle) - hello, Lesson 2
miigwech - thank you (discourse particle), Lesson 2
ahaaw - OK; alright [male usage], Lesson 7
daga - please; by all means, Lesson 9

other particles
na - question marker, Lesson 1
dash (contrastive particle) - used after words ending in a vowel or n, Lesson 2
igo - express assertiveness, express affirmation after words ending in a consonant, Lesson 6

Basic phrases learned in Lessons 1 through 10:

Lesson 1
Anishinaabe na gidaaw?
Anishinaabe indaaw.
Gidoojibwem na?
Bangii eta go.
Giga-waabamin, miinawaa.

Lesson 2

Giin dash?
Aaniish ezhi-ayaayan?

Lesson 3


Lesson 4

Ginisidotam/Ginisidotam na?
Zhaaganaashi aawi.
Anishinaabe-inini na a'aw?
Anishinaabe-inini aawisii.
Zhaaganaashi-inini a'aw.
Zhaaganaashiikwe na a'aw?
Zhaaganaashiikwe aawisii.
Anishinaabe aawi.
Zhaaganaashi na gidaaw?

Lesson 5

Mii omaa.
Iwidi/Iwidi na?
Omaa na?
Niimi'idiwag iwidi./Niimi'idiwag (mii) omaa.

Lesson 6

Gigikendaan./Gigikendaan na?
Giwii-wiisin na giin?
Niwii-wiisin igo.

Lesson 7

Aaniish ezhi-ayaayan giin?
Nimino-ayaa/Nimino-ayaa niin.
Gaye niin.
Gegoo na giwii-minikwen?
Gegoo niwii-minikwen.
Niwii-minikwe eta go.
Miigwech niibowa.

Lesson 8

Aaniish apii wii-wiisiniyan?
Baanimaa apii.

Lesson 9

Giwii-wiisin na endaayaan?
Daga wiisinidaa iwidi/onaa endaayan.
Wegonen waa-miijiyan?
Aaniindi wii-wiisiniyan?

Lesson 10

Niwii-wiisin iwidi Chi-waakaa'igan.
Wegonen waa-minikweyan?
Nibi niwii-minikwen.
Nibi na giwii-minikwen?
Aniibiishaaboo na giwii-minikwen?


  1. Great stuff. I discovered it while attempting to do something similar for myself. This is much better. How about the other lessons? Or English to Ojibwe translation exercises?

  2. How about a workbook e.g. stories/ dialogs with q and a,after it,trans ex's. Etc.I'd buy it

  3. I'm setting up an adult language program using Pimsleur. As someone learning the language myself, this is SO valuable. Any change you or someone you know has gone further in the analysis of the lessons?

  4. A couple of minor corrections:
    Are you thirsty? (Giishkaabaagwe na?)
    Should be "gigiishkaabaagwe na?"

    I want to stand (Ni-wii-niibawi,)
    should be ni-wii-niibaw
    Third person VAI verbs usually lose the final "i" vowel.

    1. Meant to say, third person keeps the final vowel, first and second lose it. Niniibaw, giniibaw, niibawi.


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