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Relative Roots

(last updated 06.27.17)



Conjunct verbs are found most often in content questions, after predicators, and in subordinate clauses (including adverbial clauses, verb complement clauses, and relative clauses.)


Relative roots refer to ideas of circumstances, reason, manner, location, quantity, degree, extent, number of times, or other such (adverbial) ideas, but relate these ideas to some other words or phrases associated with the verb.

Relative roots usually force initial change in verbs iflected for the conjunct order.

Relative roots may also occure as preverbs.

There are six relative roots:

Basic form Written forms Preverbs Initial change Translation
/akw-/ akw-, ako- ako- eko- extent: since, so far, for a long time
/apiit-/ apiit-, apiich- apiichi- epiichi- extent: to the extent that, in the process of
/daN-/ dan-, dazh- dazhi- endazhi- location: ar a certain place, there
/daSw-/ dasw-, daso- daso- endaso- nubmer: so many, so many times, every time
/iN-/ i-, in-, izh- izhi- ezhi- to, in such a way
/ond-/ ond-, onj- onji- wenji- from a certain direction, for a certain reason

Note. The relative root /iN-/ also appears in such words as ikido, inendam, inaabi, izhaa, etc.

daso-biboonagizi - he/she is of a certain age (literally: he/she is of a certain number of winters)
Adaawewigamigong bi-onjibatoo - He is running here from the store.
Aaniin epiichi-gizhaateg? - How hot it (the weather) is?


Note. Some relative roots may also be used as separate words, especially 'onji' (from).

Gaa-okoteg onji. - From Winnipeg.



Native Languages. Ojibwe and Cree. The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1 to 12
J. Randolph Valentine, Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar




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