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Asking 'How far...?'


Several words and preverbs are used to ask about distances:

apiichaa - it is such a distance
aaniin epiichaag...? - how far...?

Aaniin epiichaag Gakaabikaang? - How far is it to Minneapolis?
Aaniin epiichaag Onigamiinsing? - How far is it to Duluth?
Aaniin epiichaag Toronto? - How far is it to Toronto?

To answer the word diba'igan (mile) could be used prefixing number of miles:

ningo-diba'igan - one mile
niizho-diba'igan - two miles
niso-diba'igan - three miles
niiyo-diba'igan - four miles
naano-diba'igan - five miles
ningodwaaso-diba'igan - six miles
niizhwaaso-diba'igan - seven miles
nishwaaso-diba'igan - eight miles
zhaangaso-diba'igan - nine miles
midaaso-diba'igan - ten miles

When using numbers more than ten, diba'igan is connected with preverb daso- (so many) and number is placed before it:

midaaso-shi-bezhig daso-diba'igan - eleven miles
midaaso-shi-niizh daso-diba'igan - twelve miles
niizhtana daso-diba'igan - twenty miles
niizhtana-shi-bezhig daso-diba'igan - twenty-one miles
ningodwaak daso-diba'igan - hundred miles
niizhwaak daso-diba'igan - two hundred miles
niizhwaak-ashi-niizhtana daso-diba'igan - two hundred and twenty miles

So answers would look like:

Niizho-diba'igan onji omaa atemagad Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag. - It is two miles to Cass Lake from here.

Or just simply:

Niizho-diba'igan onji omaa. - Two miles form here.
onji omaa - from here
ate(magad) - it is (situated)
Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag - Cass Lake

Ningodwaak daso-diba'igan onji omaa atemagad Gakaabikaang. - It is one hundred miles from here to Minneapolis.
Ningodwaak daso-diba'igan onji omaa. - It is one hundred miles from here.

Instead of omaa (here) any place name can be used.

(As for me this construction with apiichaa represents more static distance, asking about how far is it.)

apiichi- - to such extent.
apiichi-waasa - it is that far, it is far to such extent
aaniin epiichi-waasaa...? - how far...?

Aaniin epiichi-waasa gaa-ako-izhaayan? - How far did you go?
Aaniin epiichi-waasa gaa-ako-bimoseyan? - How far did you walk?
Aaniin epiichi-waasa waa-ako-apatooyan? - How far will you run?
Aaniin epiichi-waasa eko-inamok miikana? - How far does the road go?

Ako- is a preverb with meaning 'so far; as far as' it is added to verbs to accent the length of distance. It changes into eko- in content questions when there is no tense prefix.

In answers either nubmers could be used:

Niizho-diba'igan ningii-ako-izhaa. - I went for two miles.
Naano-diba'igan niwii-ako-apatoo. - I will run for five miles.
Niizhtana daso-diba'igan ako-inamo miikana. - The road goes for twenty miles.

Or just:

Waasa ningii-ako-izhaa. - I went a long way.
Waasa niwii-ako-apatoo. - I will run a long way.
Waasa ako-inamo miikana. - The road goes far.

(As for me this construction with apiichi-waasa represents more dinamic distance, asking about how far to go, move, etc.)

When already on the route, the word geyaabi (still, yet, else) appears asking about 'how farther..?' And ako- could be omitted.

Aaniin epiichi-waasa geyaabi Gakaabikaang? - How much farther is it to Minneapolis?
Aaniin epiichi-waasa geyaabi waa-izhaayang aapideg? - How much farther we (with you) have to go?

Naano-diba'igan geyaabi giwii-izhaamin. - We (with you) will go five miles further.

(The source for sentence samples in this article was Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar by J. Randolph Valentine. Though all examples were changed; the dialect was also changed into Southwestern Ojibwe)


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