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Lesson 21 - Relatives


Nibaabaa - My father
Gibaabaa - Your father
Obaabaayan - His/her father
Nimaamaa - My mother
Gimaamaa - Your mother
Omaamaayan - His/her mother
Ningozis - My son
Ningozisag - My sons
Gigozis - Your son
Gigozisag - Your sons
Ogozisan - His/her son
Ogozisa' - His/her sons
Nindaanis - My daughter
Nindaanisag - My daughters
Gidaanis - Your daughter
Gidaanisag - Your daughters
Odaanisan - His/her daughter
Odaanisa' - His/her daughters
Nisaye - My older brother
Nisayeyag - My older brothers
Gisaye - Your older brother
Gisayeyag - Your older brothers
Osayeyan - His/her older brother
Osayeya' - His/her older brothers
Nimise - My older sister
Nimiseyag - My older sisters
Gimisa - Your older sister
Gimiseyag - Your older sisters
Omiseyan - His/her older sister
Omiseya' - His/her older sisters
Nishiime - My younger sibling
Nishiimeyag - My younger siblings
Gishiime - Your younger sibling
Gishiimeyag - Your younger siblings
Oshiimeyan - His/her younger sibling
Oshimeya' - His/her younger siblings

Joe obaabaayan onowe - This is Joe's father.
Joe oshiimeya' onowe - These are Joes younger siblings.
Joe obaabaayan abiwan - Joe's father is at home.
Osayeya' gaye abiwa' - His older brothers are at home also.
Aaniin ezhichigenid omaamaayan? - What is his mother doing?
Aaniin omaamaayan ezhichigenid? - What is his mother doing?
Jiibaakwewan - She is cooking.
Aandi odaanisa' gaa-dizhaaanid? - Where did his daughters go?
Magizha oodenaang gii-izhaawa' - Maybe they went to town.
Awe inini obaabaayan aakoziwan - This man's father is sick.

New Words:

abi - he is there; he is at home
jiibaakwe - he cooks


  • In Ojibwe relatives could not be mentioned without special prefixes, indicating whose relatives they are: my, your, his, ours, etc. These prefixes are called the possessive prefixes.

    Possessive prefixes look very much like personal prefixes, but they are added to nouns:
    myni- (relative)
    your singlgi-(relative)
    our (exc)ni-(relative)-nan
    our (inc)gi-(relative)-nan
    your plgi-(relative)-waa

    Despite English, a noun in the possessive form in Ojibwe is a term for a relative. A possessor isn't marked:

    Joe obaabaayan - Joe's father.
    Awe inini obaabaayan aakoziwan - This man's father is sick.

  • 'His' or 'her' relatives take an additional suffix. This is a process called obviation. The obviative is sometimes referred to as the "fourth person". And is used to distinguish between multiple third-persons in a sentence. For example, there are two third persons in the sentence Awe inini obaabaayan aakoziwan (This man's father is sick). One of them is this man, and the other is (his) father. It is a rule in Ojibwe, that the third person's relative is always considered obviative (or the fourth person) and is always marked for obviation.

    The obviative suffix for a singular noun is -an (or: -yan, -wan):

    Ogozisan - His/her son
    Odaanisan - His/her daughter

    The obviative suffix for a plural noun is -a' (or: -ya', -wa'):

    Ogozisa' - His/her sons
    Odaanisa' - His/her daughters

    Verbs and demonstrative pronouns related to an obviative noun are also marked for obviation. The AI verb obviative suffixes in the independent order are:

    s/he obv. -> (verb)+wan
    they (obv.) -> (verb)+wa'

    In content questions the obviative suffix is -nid:

    s/he obv. -> (verb)+nid
    they (obv.) -> (verb)+nid

    With obviative nouns only inanimate plural demonstrative pronouns are used:

    Joe obaabaayan onowe - This is Joe's father.
    Joe oshiimeya' onowe - These are Joes younger siblings.


    lesson 20 | lessons | lesson 22



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