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.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Talk about the weather

Pimsleur lessons have been progressing rapidly, so I wanted to take a break from the lessons and talk about weather in Ojibwe.

Amazingly, the Pimsleur course doesn't touch on weather at all in any of its 30 lessons! I'm not sure why, either, as it's an important aspect of Ojibwe culture, and also could have easily been tied into a later lesson on hunting. Talking about the weather in Ojibwe is straightforward once one simple concept is taken into account.

In Ojibwe, all weather words are in fact verbs, so while the concept of "it's raining" may fit with that, "it's sunnying" will seem odd, but that's how the language works.

So let's take a look at some weather verbs:
  • mino-giizhigad - a good/nice day
  • biiwan - blizzard
  • mizhakwad - clear
  • gisinaa - cold
  • gizhide - hot
  • gimiwan - raining
  • zoogipon - snowing
  • noodin - windy
And let's include a preverb to intensify:
  • gichi- - great, very, big, a lot
If we want to say for example, that the weather is very hot, we simply attach "gichi-" to the verb "gizhide" (hot), so "Gichi-gizhide." means "It's very hot."

We've already learned a couple of these adverbs, but these words can further define the weather verb:
  • minawaa - again
  • geyaabi - still
  • aazha - already
  • megwaa - right now

Finally, some full example sentences:
  • Mino-giizhigad. (It's a good/nice day, It's nice out.)
  • Gichi-gisinaa noongom. (It's very cold today.)
  • Wii-mino-gizhide. (It's going to be hot.)
  • Wii-gimiwan dibikak. (It's going to rain tonight.)
  • Wii-zoogipon waabang. (It's going to snow tomorrow.)
  • Gimiwan minawaa. (It's raining again.)
  • Geyaabi gimiwan. (It's still raining.)
  • Megwaa gimiwan. (Right now it's raining.)
  • Megwaa gichi-zoogipon. (Right now, it's snowing a lot.)
  • Maagizhaa wii-gizhide waabang. (Maybe it will be hot tomorrow.)
  • Aazha zoogipon. (It's already snowing.)
  • Wii-zoogipon dibikak. (It's going to snow tonight.)

Notice that, while this is not a hard-and-fast rule, words like "dibikak" (tonight), "waabang" (tomorrow) and "noongom" (today or now) usually follow the weather verb, while words like "minawaa"(again), "geyaabi" (still), "aazha" (already) and "megwaa" (right now) precede the weather verb. "Gimiwan minawaa." (It is raining again.) is the only example I've included that puts "minawaa" at the end.

I've only included present and future tenses, because that's all we've covered so far in the course, but once we get to the past tense (it'll be introduced in a supplemental lesson, as Pimsleur doesn't cover it), they can easily be applied to these same examples.

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