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, February 21, 2013

Forming questions, Part 2 - past and future tenses

Back in "Forming basic questions, Part 1", we learned how to form basic questions, using specific questions words, such as "What", "Where", "How", "When", etc. But we only learned how to form questions using these words in the present tense.

When we form questions in the past or future tense using these questions words, we need to use different tense markers. It's not difficult, just something we need to be aware of.

The basic rules for using past or future tense markers with one of these question words are:
  • The past tense question marker "gii-" changes to "gaa-".
  • The future tense questions marker "ga-" changes to "ge-".
  • The future tense question marker "da-" changes to "ge-".
  • The future desiderative tense marker "wii-" changes to "waa-".

Here are some examples of how these work:
  • Aaniin gaa-ezhiwebag bijiinaago? - How was the weather yesterday?
  • Aaniin ge-ezhiwebag waabang? - How will the weather be tomorrow?
  • Aaniin gaa-ikidoyan? - What did you say (implied: a while ago)?
  • ikido - say
    • Aaniin gaa-ikidod awedi inini? - What did that man over there say?
    • Aaniin waa-ikidoyan? - What are you going to say?
    • Aaniin ge-ikidoyan? - What will you say?
  • izhichige - do [SOMETHING]
    • Aaniin gaa-izhichigeyan bijiinaago? - What did you do yesterday?
All of these examples use "Aaniish", but the same rules apply when we use "Aaniindi",  "Aaniish apii", "Awenen", and "Wegonen".

1 comment:

  1. These changes are all examples of plain conjunct changing to "changed conjunct." Knowing that makes it all easier to remember. The vowel changes are very consistent. Here is a full list, from Rick Gresczyk's book "Our Ojibwe Grammar"
    a -> e
    aa -> ayaa
    e -> aye
    i -> e
    ii -> aa
    o -> we
    oo -> waa

    Learning when to use plain vs. changed conjunct is one of the most challenging subtleties of Ojibwe, and it varies by dialect. Extensive reading and listening of examples is necessary to get a hang of it. That said, I'm not sure I agree with the analysis here that it's a matter of present tense vs. past & future tense. I would take that with a grain of salt.


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