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Uses of the Conjunct Verb

(last updated 06.26.17)




Content questions
Complement clauses
Subordinate clauses
Adverbial clauses
Conditional clauses
Clauses of purpose or result
Relative clauses
Dubitative statements



Uses of the Conjunct Verb

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


Content questions

Content questions are questions containing a question word such as 'who', 'what', 'where', 'when', 'how', etc. Changed conjunct is used in these questions.

1. Questions with interrogative pronouns ('what', 'who'):

Awenen gaa-waabamig? - Who saw you?
Awenen gaa-mawadisaad aakoziiwigamigong? - Whom did you visit in the hospital?
Wegonen waa-miijiyan? - What do you want to eat?

2. Questions with interrogative adverb.

These questions ask about the location, time, or nature of an act or event. . The verb often contains a relative root or prefix:

Aandii ezhaayan? - Where are you going?
Aaniin enakamigak agwajiing? - What is going on outside?
Aaniin apii gaa-dagoshinoog? - When did they arrive?

3. Questions with interrogative word asking for a reason.

These questions ask about the reason for an act or event. Verbs in them usually contain /onji-/, 'from':

Aaniin gaa-onji-ganoonind? - Why were they speaking to him?
Wegonen wenji-izhiyan? - Why are you saying it to me?
Wegonen wenji-baapiiyan? - Why are you laughing?



Clauses with predicators

Verbs used in clauses introduced by a predicator are usually in the conjunct order.

1. Clauses with focus word mii.

The verb in a clause introduced by a focus word mii is in the conjunct order unless a negative particle is present. Plain conjunct is used, unless the verb contains a relative root.

Mii awiya gaa-ikidod. - Thatís what somebody said.

2. Clauses with other predicators.

Some other particles may serve as predicators as well.

Booch igo gaa-izhi-odaapinang. - And still he went and picked it up.
Apegish gimiwang - I wish it would rain.




Complement clauses

Some verbs, notably verbs of speaking, thinking, and feeling, can be complemented by a clause containing a conjunct verb. Plain conjunct is used, unless the verb contains a relative root.

Ninzegiz wii-niskaadaak. - Iím afraid there will be a storm.
Wen ikido odaabanen gii-giishpinadood aw Mani. - Wayne says that Mary bought a car.
Gigikenimaa na ezhi-bimaadizid? - Do you know how she is doing?




Subordinate clauses:

1. Adverbial clauses

These are clauses that take on an adverbial function to specify time, location, or manner. Plain conjunct is used in adverbial clauses, unless the verb contains a relative root.

a. Adverbial clauses of time.

Megwaa nibaayaan,gii-bi-dagoshin. - She arrived, while I was sleeping.
Gego zaagaíangen, jibwaa-dagoshinaan. - Donít go outside, until I arrive.
Oodenaang jibwa-izhaayaan, niwii-jiibaakwe. - Before I go to town, I'll cook.


b. Adverbial clauses of place, or locative clauses.

These clauses perform the function of an adverb of place or a locative noun. Verbs in them often contain relative roots or prefixes:

Endaad nindizhaa. - Iím going to his place. (literally: Iím going where he lives).




2. Conditional clauses

Conditional clauses state a condition that restricts the action of the verb in the main clause. Conditional clauses often occur with the 'giishpin'. Plain conjunct is used.

Giishpin zoogipong, gaawiin nidaa-izhaasii. - If it snows, I shouldn't go.
Waabamagiban, nindaa-gii-giiwe-diba'amawaa. - If I had seen him, I would have paid him back.




3. Clauses of purpose or result

Clauses of purpose or result describe the goal or outcome of the action specified in the main clause. These clauses often contain 'ji-':

Weweni wiisinin ji-mino-bimaadiziyan. - Eat properly so you will be healthy.
Niwii-gagwejimaa awiya ji-ozhibii'iged. - I want to ask someone to take notes.
Oodenaang niwii-izhaa, wiisiniwin ji-giishpinadooyaan. - I am going to town in order to buy food.




4. Relative clauses

Relative clauses modify nouns (they describe or say something about the noun that identifies it), or they function themselves as noun phrases. Participles are used in this type of clauses.

Bidoon i'iw mechaag mazina'igan. - Bring that big book!
A'aw sa bineshiinh gabe-onaagosh gaa-noondaagozid gii-maajiise. - The bird thatís been chirping all evening flew away.

Niwii-ashamaag nayaadamaagejig. - Iíll feed the helpers (literally: those who have helped).




Dubitative statements

Dubitative statements beginning with a dubitative word require the conjunct-order form of the verb. The conjunct verb in this type of statement is usually in the dubitative mode. Changed conjunct is used in these statements.

1. Dubitative statements with dubitative pronoun.

Awegwen omaa gaa-bi-izhaagwen. - I wonder who came here.
Awegwen gaa-gidamwaagwen minbakwezhiganiman. - I wonder who ate up my bannock.


2. Dubitative statements with dubitative adverb.

Dibi iidog ategwen niwiiwakwaan. - I wonder where my hat is.
Amanj enendamogwen noongom nimaamaa. - I wonder what my mother thinks.





Content questions changed conjunct iterrogative pronouns, interrogative adverbs, onji-
Predicators plain conjunct mii, some other predicators
Complement clauses plain conjunct main clause often contains verbs of speaking, thinking, feeling
Dubitative statements changed conjunct dubitative pronouns, dubitative adverbs
Subordinate clauses
Adverbial clauses plain conjunct time, location, or manner; relative roots
Conditional clauses plain conjunct giishpin
Clauses of purpose or result plain conjunct ji-
Relative clauses participle



Materials used:
Native Languages. Ojibwe and Cree. The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1 to 12
Topics in Potawatomi Grammar



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