Listening Practice: Nancy Thompson, Peguis, Manitoba

Listen to the following samples from a story told to me by Nancy Thompson of Peguis, Manitoba. Examine how the Anishinaabemowin is transcribed (written down with our spelling system). After carefully examining things, try your own transcription by playing the items at the bottom of the page.

Sentence1 Wiinisikens001.mp3  

1. Wiinisikens001.mp3 A'ii niwii-dazhindaan zhigwa, Wiinisikens001.mp3 nitam e-moona'igeyaan, Wiinisikens001.mp3 nitam e-moona'ag wiinisikens.

'I want to tell about it now, the first time that I did digging, the first time that I dug seneca root.'

a. A'ii pr-in 'uhh.. (in. sg.).' This is a pause word, which might be likened in some ways to the English word uh, except that the Anishinaabemowin word is fully inflected for gender and number. The basic idea here is that when you say the equivalent of English 'uh' in Ojibwe, you must indicate whether what you're 'uh-ing' about is animate or inanimate, singular or plural. This word, a'ii is inanimate singular 'uh.' It is a pronoun, that is, it stands in for the noun that the speaker is trying to think of, as when English speakers say, 'I saw this, uh..., moose one day.'

b. niwii-dazhindaan 'I will talk about it' from vti verb (v = verb; t = transitive [meaning it takes an object]; i = the object it takes is grammatically inanimate], dazhindan, 'talk about s.t.'

wii- pv 'want to, will.' The code pv stands for 'preverb' and indicates a prefix that is attached to the front of a verb. A hyphen always sets off each preverb from the verb it prefixed to, but notice that the first person prefix ni- is directly attached to the preverb.

c. zhigwa pc 'now, at this time'; also azhigwa. The code pc stands for particle, and indicates a simple function word, usually corresponding to an English adverb or conjunction.

d. nitam pc 'first, first time.'

e. e-moona'igeyaan 'that I dug...' from vai moona'ige, 'dig.'

e- pv 'when..., that...' This preverb is kind of the equivalent of English 'when' and 'that' when they introduce subordinate sentences, as in 'the first time... that I went fishing,' or '... when I first went fishing.'

f. nitam pc 'first, first time.'

g. e-moona'ag. 'when I dug it (an.)' from vta moona', 'dig up s.o.' Note that 's.o.' doesn't mean 'someone,' because in English 'someone' can only refer to a person. In your dictionary 's.o.' stands for 'something animate, which might be a person, animal, thing, etc.'

h. wiinisikens. na. 'seneca root.' We know it's animate because of the use of vta verb with it.

Sentence 2 Wiinisikens001.mp3  

Gaawin ngii-gikenda(n)ziin abooshke ezhinaagozid a wiinisikens.

'I didn't even know what that seneca root looked like.'

a. gaawin pc 'not, no.' This is the northern dialect form of the word; in the south, it's usually gaawiiin.

b. ngii-gikenda(n)ziin, 'I did not know it.' from vti gikendan 'know s.t.' In fast speech, the /n/ that I've put within parentheses is often not pronounced. The initial letter /n/ represents a reduced form of the first person prefix ni-, nin-, in-.

gii- pv past tense.

c. abooshke, pc 'even.' This is often booshke, without the short vowel /a/, and is listed only in this form in your dictionary.

d. ezhinaagozid 'what it (an.) looks like' from vai izhinaagozi, 'look so, appear so.'

e. a pr-an 'that.' This sounds like /aa/ here, so don't be alarmed if that's your sense.

f. wiinisikens. na 'seneca root.'

Sentence 3 Wiinisikens001.mp3

Bezhig idash omaa mindimooye ngii-gikina'amaag.

'So a certain old lady here taught me.'

a. bezhig nm 'one, a certain (one)'

b. idash pc 'so, then, but, etc.' Often just dash.

d. omaa pc 'here, at this place'

e. mindimooye na 'old woman' Note that this dialect does not have a nasalized vowel on the end of this word, so it's different in pronunciation from the mindimooyenh that we are learning. Note that Mrs. Thompson deletes the /y/ in this word as well.

f. ngii-gikina'amaag 's/he taught me,' from vta gikina'amaw, 'teach s.o. [something].' The initial letter /n/ represents a reduced form of the first person prefix ni-, nin-, in-. In Minnesota/Wisconsin Ojibwe, the form of this verb is often gikinoo'amaw.

gii- pv past tense.

Sentence 4 Wiinisikens001.mp3

Ngii-andamig ji-wiijiiwag ji-moona'igeyaang.

'She asked me to go with her and do digging.'

ngii-andamig 's/he asked me,' from vta andam 'ask s.o. [something].' The initial letter /n/ represents a reduced form of the first person prefix ni-, nin-, in-.

ji-wiijiiwag '(that) I go with her, accompany her,' from vta wiijiiw 'go with s.o., accompany s.o.' In Mrs. Thompson's fast speech here, this sounds a bit like [wiijiiyok], no?! This is because it's common for speakers to delete /w/ from pronunciation in certain contexts, and then the transition between vowels sound like /y/. Also, the /w/ may be coloring the /a/ that follows it a bit, and making it sound like /o/. All of this is why it's valuable to listen to real speech.

ji- pv 'in order to..., to..., etc.'

ji-moona'igeyaang '(that) we (excluding you) go digging,' from moonai'ge vai 'dig, do digging.'

Now try your hand at writing these sentences.

Sentence 1 Wiinisikens001.mp3

Sentence 2 Wiinisikens001.mp3

Sentence 3 Wiinisikens001.mp3

Sentence 4 Wiinisikens001.mp3