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Ojebway Language:

A Manual for missionaries
and others employed among the Ojebway Indians
by Edward F. Wilson, 1874


The Pronoun

The Personal Pronoun
The Possessive Pronoun
The Demonstrative Pronoun
The Indefinite Pronoun
The Interrogative Pronoun


The Pronoun.

In Ojebway there are five kinds of Pronouns - personal, possessive, demonstrative, indefinite and interrogative. There is no relative pronoun, its place being supplied by the participle of the verb, thus: God, who is merciful, owh Kezhá-muhnedoo shawánjegad. I who am writing, neen wazhebeëgáyaun. The box that is open, ewh muhkuk pakáhkoonegáhdag. See Paradigms of the Verb.

The Personal Pronoun

Those standing alone are neen, I or me; keen thou or thee; ween, he, she, or him, her; nenuhwind, we or us, (not including the party addressed); kenuhwind, we or us, (including the party addressed); kenuhwah, you; wenuhwah, they or them. Conjoined with the verb, for the nominative case we prefix, ne, nin, or nind, I, or we (excl.); ke or kid, thou, we (incl.), you, with the proper terminal inflection of the verb. The 3rd person, in neuter verbs, has no prefix. Thus, I walk, ninpémoosa; thou walkest, kepémoosa; he (or she) walks, pémoosa; we (excl.) walk, nepemoosámin; we (incl.) walk, kepemoosámin; you walk, kepemoosám; they walk, pemoosáwug.

The objective case of the personal pronoun is expressed by a change in the verb. Thus I see him (or her), newáhbumah. He (or she) sees me, newáhbumik. You see it, kewáhbundaun. For which see Paradigms of the Transitive Verb.

The Possessive Pronoun.

My, ne-, nin-, nind-; thy, ke-, kid-; his (or her) o, od-; our (excl.) ne-, nind- -naun; our (incl.) ke-, kid- -naun; your, ke-, kid- -wah; their, o-, od- -wah.

Thus: My canoe, ninchéemaun; our (incl.) canoe, kecheemáunenaun. The distinction, however, between animate and inanimate objects must be strictly observed. Animate objects require an n termination to the 3rd person, both singular and plural, as well as o or od- prefixed. The plural also must (as in nouns) end with g for animate objects, with n for inanimate ones. An example of each is here given.

Example Animate

My pig Nin-kookóosh My pigs Nin-kookóoshug
Thy pig Ke-kookóosh Thy pigs Ke-kookóoshug
His (or her) pig O-kookóoshun His pigs O-kookóoshun
Our (ixcl.) pig Nin-kookóoshenaun Our pigs Nin-kookóoshenáhnig
Our (incl.) pig Ke-kookóoshenaun Our pigs Ke-kookóoshenáhnig
Your pig Ke-kookóoshewah Your pigs Ke-kookóoshewaug
Their pig O-kookóoshewaun Their pigs O-kookóoshewaun

Example Inanimate

My canoe Nin-chéemaun My canoes Nin-cheemáunun
Thy canoe Ke-chéemaun Thy canoes Ke-cheemáunun
His (or her) canoe O-chéemaun His canoes O-cheemáunun
Our (ixcl.) canoe Nin-cheemáunenaun Our canoes Nin-cheemáunenáhnin
Our (incl.) canoe Ke-cheemáunenaun Our canoes Ke-cheemáunenáhnin
Your canoe Ke-cheemáunewah Your canoes Ke-cheemáunewaun
Their canoe O-cheemáunewah Their canoes O-cheemáunewaun

For explanation of the three third persons, see Noun.

Possession is made more emphatic by affixing -m, -im or -oom to the object, and then declining as usual. It gives the force of my own, thy own, &c., and is more commonly used than otherwise with animate nouns, especially with those that denote any term of relationship, as father, brother, cousin, &c. Thus: My own, thy own, his own, our own pig, ninkookóoshim, kekookóoshim, okookóoshimun, ninkookóoshimenaun, &c. My own, thy own, his own, our own canoe, nincheemáunim, kecheemáunim, ocheemáunim, nincheemaúnemenaun, &c. -Oom is used instead of -im with nouns that make their plural in -oog or -oon, thy my, thy own box, ninmúhkukoom, ke-múhkukoom.

Own pecular is expressed by tebénuhwa, thus: his own pecular people, tebénuhwa od-ahnishenáhbamun.

Some nouns are inseparable from the possessive pronoun, and are contracted, thus: Noos, my father; koos, thy father; osun, his father.

Distinction is made between objects past and present. Thus: Noos, my father; noósebun, my deceased father. Kid-ogemáhmenaun, our chief; kid-ogemáhmenáhbun, our former chief. Ochéemaun, his canoe; ocheemáunebun, the canoe he used to have.

We will here decline noos, my father, in this past or 'bun' sense: -

My father Nóosebun My fathers (ancestors) Nóosebuneeg
Thy father Kóosebun Thy fathers Kóosebuneeg
His (or her) father Osebuneen His fathers Osebuneen
Our father Noosenóhbun Our fathers Noosenóhbuneeg
Your father Koosewóhbun Your fathers Koosewahbuneeg
Their father Osewóhbuneen Their fathers Osewóhbuneen

Mine, thine, his, &c., are expressed by the use of uhyah with the possessive pronoun for an animate object, uhyee for an inanimate one, generally with -m emphatic affixed. Thus (animate), mine, my own, nind-uhyáum; thine, kid-uhyáum; his (or hers) od-uhyáumun, and (inanim.) mine, nind-uhyéem; thine, kid-uhyéem; his (or her) od-uhyéem, &c.

The Demonstrative Pronoun.

This (anim.) máhbah, pl. máhmig; 2nd, 3rd pers. máhmin
wah-owh, pl. óogoo; 2nd, 3rd pers. énewh
(inanim.) máunduh, pl.
óo-oo, pl. óonoo.
That (anim.) owh, pl. égewh; 2nd, 3rd pers. énewh
(inanim.) ewh, pl. énewh.

Thus: This man, máhbah, or wahowh enéne. He gave it to that man, ogeméenaun enewh enénewun. This box, óo-oo múhkuk. Those boxes there, énewh ewáde muhkukoon.

The Indefinite Pronoun.

One, they, people, &c., expressed in the inflection of the verb, thus: ekedóom, they say, it is said.

Whoever, ahwágwan. Somebody or anybody, ahwéyuh. Both, nuhyázh. Each, papázhig. Each of us, papazhegóoyung. All of which, and others are given in the Dictionary. to which refer also for the manner of expressing, myself, thyself, &c., and each other.

The Interrogative Pronoun.

Who? ahwánan? What? wágoonan? áhneen?

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