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.

Parts of Speech

Ojibwe parts of speech

It occurred to me that as I progress through the lessons, I'm starting to use these terms more to reference how they behave is a sentence.

In an attempt to document it all concisely, this page was created.

Ojibwe uses many different classes of speech to create phrases and sentences. These include nouns, pronouns, verbs, preverbs, adverbs and particles. These are further broken down into subclasses that define more detailed use.

Adverbs define things like time, place, amount, etc. They are usually linked to a verb or a verb clause. In Ojibwe, in addition to standalone words, adverbs can also be a particle or a preverb.

Nouns are simple names for things, people, animals, etc. In Ojibwe, sometimes nouns have an affix attached to denote their gender. In Ojibwe there are two genders - animate and inanimate. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but animate nouns can be thought of as being alive, being able to move on their own or having a heartbeat, while inanimate nouns can not. An affix can also denote whether it's plural, among other characteristics.

Particles are words that don't themselves change, but can change the aspect of a phrase, using emphasis, marking a phrase as a question, etc.

Preverbs are prefixes added to both nouns and verbs to extend their meaning. This extension can be adverbial or adjectival in nature. They usually use a hyphen to attach themselves to the noun or verb, and are not used on their own, although many do have standalone versions. There can also be more than one preverb attached to a noun or a verb.

Pronouns in Ojibwe function much the same as they do in English, but they are usually in the form of an affix on nouns and verbs, If they are used as standalone words, they are usually used for emphasis.

Verbs make up the bulk of Ojibwe, and are conjugated using prefixes and suffixes, and also specify tense. The verb is probably the most important feature of Ojibwe and can often be employed to create whole sentences by themselves. There are four main types of verbs in Ojibwe: VAI (animate intransitive verb) - an intransitive verb with an animate subject, VII (inanimate intransitive verb) - an intransitive verb with an inanimate subject, VTA (transitive animate verb) - an transitive verb with an animate subject), and VTI (transitive inanimate verb) - a transitive verb with an inanimate subject. These can further be broken down by animate and inanimate objects.

A much more complete breakdown of particles and verbs can be found at the Ojibwe Online People's Dictionary Key Parts of Speech page.

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