Ojibwe /oʊˈdʒɪbweɪ/, also known as Ojibwa,
Ojibway, Chippewa, or Otchipwe, is an Indigenous language of North
America, also known as Turtle Island, of the Algonquian language
family. The language is characterized by a series of dialects
that have local names and frequently local writing systems. There is
no single dialect that is considered the most prestigious or most
prominent, and no standard writing system that covers all dialects.
The relative autonomy of its regional dialects is associated with an
absence of linguistic or political unity among Ojibwe-speaking groups.
Dialects of Ojibwemowin are spoken in Canada, from southwestern
Quebec, through Ontario,
Manitoba and parts of Saskatchewan, with
outlying communities in Alberta; and in the United States, from
Wisconsin and Minnesota, with a number of communities in
North Dakota and Montana, as well as groups that removed to
Oklahoma during the Indian Removal period. While there is some
variation in the classification of its dialects, at least the
following are recognized, from east to west: Algonquin, Eastern
Ojibwe, Ottawa (Odawa), Western
Ojibwe (Saulteaux), Oji-Cree (Severn
Ojibwe), Northwestern Ojibwe, and Southwestern
Based upon contemporary field research, J. R. Valentine also
recognizes several other dialects: Berens
Ojibwe in northwestern
Ontario, which he distinguishes from Northwestern Ojibwe; North of
(Lake) Superior; and Nipissing. The latter two cover approximately the
same territory as Central Ojibwa, which he does not recognize.
The aggregated dialects of Ojibwemowin comprise the second most
First Nations language in
Canada (after Cree), and
the fourth most widely spoken in the
United States or
Inuit languages and Cree.
Ojibwemowin is a relatively healthy indigenous language. The
Ojibwe Language Immersion School teaches all classes
to children in
1.1 Exonyms and endonyms
1.2 Relationship with Potawatomi
2 Geographic distribution
2.2 Lingua franca
2.3 Influence on other languages
5.1 Loanwords and neologisms
5.3 Sample vocabulary
6 Writing system
6.1 Double vowel system
7 Sample text and analysis
8 Notable speakers
9 Mobile learning apps
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
The Algonquian language family of which Ojibwemowin is a member is
itself a member of the Algic language family, other Algic languages
being Wiyot and Yurok.
Ojibwe is sometimes described as a Central
Algonquian language, along with Fox, Cree, Menominee, Miami-Illinois,
Potawatomi, and Shawnee. Central Algonquian is a geographical term
of convenience rather than a genetic subgroup, and its use does not
indicate that the Central languages are more closely related to each
other than to the other Algonquian languages.
Exonyms and endonyms
The most general Indigenous designation for the language is
Anishinaabemowin 'speaking the native language' (
person,' verb suffix –mo 'speak a language,' suffix –win
'nominalizer'), with varying spellings and pronunciations
depending upon dialect. Some speakers use the term
Ojibwemowin. The general term in Oji-Cree (Severn Ojibwe) is
Anihshininiimowin, although Anishinaabemowin is widely recognized by
Severn speakers. Some speakers of
Ojibwe refer to their
language as Nakawemowin. The
Ottawa dialect is sometimes referred
to as Daawaamwin, although the general designation is
Nishnaabemwin, with the latter term also applied to Jibwemwin or
Eastern Ojibwe. Other local terms are listed in
English terms include Ojibwe, with variants including Ojibwa and
Ojibway. The related term Chippewa is more commonly employed in
United States and in southwestern
Ontario among descendants of
Ojibwe migrants from the United States.
Relationship with Potawatomi
Ojibwe and Potawatomi are frequently viewed as being more closely
related to each other than to other Algonquian languages. Ojibwe
and Potawatomi have been proposed as likely candidates for forming a
genetic subgroup within Proto-Algonquian, although the required
research to ascertain the linguistic history and status of a
hypothetical "Ojibwe–Potawatomi" subgroup has not yet been
undertaken. A discussion of Algonquian family subgroups indicates that
"Ojibwe–Potawatomi is another possibility that awaits
investigation." In a proposed consensus classification of
Algonquian languages, Goddard (1996) classifies Ojibwa and Potawatomi
as "Ojibwayan," although no supporting evidence is adduced.
The Central languages share a significant number of common features.
These features can generally attributed to diffusion of features
through borrowing: "Extensive lexical, phonological, and perhaps
grammatical borrowing—the diffusion of elements and features across
language boundaries—appears to have been the major factor in giving
the languages in the area of the Upper
Great Lakes their generally
similar cast, and it has not been possible to find any shared
innovations substantial enough to require the postulation of a
genetically distinct Central Algonquian subgroup."
The possibility that the proposed genetic subgrouping of Ojibwa and
Potawatomi can also be accounted for as diffusion has also been
raised: "The putative Ojibwa–Potawatomi subgroup is similarly open
to question, but cannot be evaluated without more information on
Pre-contact distribution of the Plains Ojibwe, Southwestern Ojibwe
(Chippewa), and Algonquin dialects of the
Ojibwe communities are found in
Canada from southwestern Quebec,
through Ontario, southern
Manitoba and parts of southern Saskatchewan;
and in the
United States from northern
Michigan through northern
Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, with a number of communities in
North Dakota and northern Montana. Groups of speakers of
Ottawa dialect migrated to
Oklahoma during the
historical period, with a small amount of linguistic documentation of
the language in Oklahoma. The presence of
Ojibwe in British
Columbia has been noted.
Current census data indicate that all varieties of
Ojibwe are spoken
by approximately 56,531 people. This figure reflects census data from
United States census and the 2006 Canadian census. The Ojibwe
language is reported as spoken by a total of 8,791 people in the
United States of which 7,355 are Native Americans and by as
many as 47,740 in Canada, making it one of the largest Algic
languages by numbers of speakers.
Total (by speakers)
Total ethnic population
Total (by Country)
The Red Lake, White Earth, and Leech Lake reservations are known for
their tradition of singing hymns in the
Ojibwe language. As of
Ojibwe is the official language of Red Lake.
Because the dialects of
Ojibwe are at least partly mutually
Ojibwe is usually considered to be a single language
with a number of dialects, i.e.
Ojibwe is "... conventionally
regarded as a single language consisting of a continuum of dialectal
varieties since ... every dialect is at least partly intelligible
to the speakers of the neighboring dialects." The degree of
mutually intelligibility between nonadjacent dialects varies
considerably; recent research has shown that there is strong
differentiation between the
Ottawa dialect spoken in southern Ontario
and northern Michigan; the Severn Ojibwa dialect spoken in northern
Ontario and Manitoba; and the Algonquin dialect spoken in southwestern
Quebec. Valentine notes that isolation is the most plausible
explanation for the distinctive linguistic features found in these
three dialects. Many communities adjacent to these relatively
sharply differentiated dialects show a mix of transitional features,
reflecting overlap with other nearby dialects. While each of these
dialects has undergone innovations that make them distinctive, their
status as part of the
Ojibwe language complex is not in dispute.
The relatively low degrees of mutual intelligibility between some
Ojibwe dialects led Rhodes and Todd to suggest that Ojibwe
should be analyzed as a linguistic subgroup consisting of several
While there is some variation in the classification of Ojibwe
dialects, at a minimum the following are recognized, proceeding west
to east: Western
Ojibwe (Saulteaux), Southwestern
Northwestern Ojibwe, Severn
Ojibwe (Oji-Cree), Ottawa (Odawa), Eastern
Ojibwe, and Algonquin. Based upon contemporary field research,
Valentine also recognizes several other dialects: Berens
northwestern Ontario, which he distinguishes from Northwestern Ojibwe;
North of (Lake) Superior; and Nipissing. The latter two cover
approximately the same territory as Central Ojibwa, which he does not
Two recent analyses of the relationships between the
are in agreement on the assignment of the strongly differentiated
Ottawa dialect to a separate subgroup, and the assignment of Severn
Ojibwe and Algonquin to another subgroup, and differ primarily with
respect to the relationships between the less strongly differentiated
dialects. Rhodes and Todd recognize several different dialectal
subgroupings within Ojibwe: (a) Ottawa; (b) Severn and Algonquian; (c)
a third subgroup which is further divided into (i) a subgrouping of
Ojibwe and Saulteaux, and a subgrouping consisting of
Ojibwe and a further subgrouping comprising Southwestern
Ojibwe and Central Ojibwe. Valentine has proposed that Ojibwe
dialects are divided into three groups: a northern tier consisting of
Ojibwe and Algonquin; a southern tier consisting of "Odawa,
Chippewa, Eastern Ojibwe, the
Ojibwe of the Border Lakes region
Minnesota and Ontario, and Saulteaux; and third, a
transitional zone between these two polar groups, in which there is a
mixture of northern and southern features."
A sign at
Lakehead University in English and Ojibwe.
Ojibwe dialects have functioned as lingua franca or
trade languages in the circum-
Great Lakes area, particularly in
interactions with speakers of other Algonquian languages.
Documentation of such usage dates from the 18th and 19th centuries,
but earlier use is likely, with reports as early as 1703 suggesting
Ojibwe was used by different groups from the Gulf of Saint
Lawrence to Lake Winnipeg, and from as far south as
Ohio to Hudson
A trade language is "... a language customarily used for
communication between speakers of different languages, even though it
may be that neither speaker has the trade language as his dominant
language ..." although "... there is a relatively high
degree of bilingualism involving the trade language."
Documentation from the 17th century indicates that the Wyandot
language (also called Huron), one of the Iroquoian languages, was also
used as a trade language east of the
Great Lakes by speakers of the
Nipissing and Algonquin dialects of Ojibwe, and also by other groups
south of the Great Lakes, including the Winnebago and by a group of
unknown affiliation identified only as "Assistaeronon." The political
decline of the Hurons in the 18th century and the ascendancy of
Ojibwe-speaking groups including the Ottawa led to the replacement of
Huron as a lingua franca.
In the area east of Georgian Bay, the Nipissing dialect was a trade
language. In the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, the eastern end of the
Upper Peninsula, the area between
Lake Erie and Lake Huron, and along
the north shore of Georgian Bay, the
Ottawa dialect served as a trade
language. In the area south of
Lake Superior and west of Lake Michigan
Ojibwe was the trade language. A widespread pattern
of asymmetrical bilingualism is found in the area south of the Great
Lakes, in which speakers of Potawatomi or Menominee, both Algonquian
languages, could also speak Ojibwe, but
Ojibwe speakers did not speak
the other languages. It is known that some speakers of Menominee also
speak Ojibwe, and that this pattern persisted into the 20th century.
Similarly bilingualism in
Ojibwe is still common among Potawatomis who
Reports from traders and travellers as early as 1744 indicated that
speakers of Menominee, another Algonquian language, used
Ojibwe as a
lingua franca. Other reports from the 18th century and early 19th
century indicate that speakers of the unrelated Siouan language
Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) also used
Ojibwe when dealing with Europeans and
others. Other reports indicate that agents of the American
government at Green Bay,
Ojibwe in their interactions
with Menominee, with other reports indicating that "... the
Chippewa, Menominee, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sac, and Fox tribes used
Ojibwe in intertribal communication ..." Some reports
indicate that further to the west speakers of non-Algonquian languages
such as Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Iowa, and Pawnee spoke
Ojibwe as an
Influence on other languages
Michif is a mixed language that primarily is based upon French and
Plains Cree, with some vocabulary from Ojibwe, in addition to
phonological influence in Michif-speaking communities where there is a
Ojibwe influence. In locations such as Turtle
North Dakota individuals of
Ojibwe ancestry now speak Michif
Ojibwe borrowings have been noted in Menominee, a related Algonquian
Bungi Creole is the name given to an English Based Creole language
Manitoba by the descendants of "English, Scottish, and
Orkney fur traders and their Cree or
Saulteaux wives ...".
Bungee incorporates elements of Cree; the name may be from the Ojibwe
word bangii "a little bit" or the Cree equivalent but whether there is
Ojibwe component in Bungee is not documented.
All dialects of
Ojibwe generally have an inventory of seventeen
consonants. Most dialects have the segment glottal stop /ʔ/ in
their inventory of consonant phonemes; Severn
Ojibwe and the Algonquin
dialect have /h/ in its place. Some dialects have both segments
phonetically, but only one is present in phonological
representations. The Ottawa and Southwestern
have /h/ in a small number of affective vocabulary items in addition
to regular /ʔ/. Some dialects may have otherwise
non-occurring sounds such as /f, l, r/ in loanwords.
Plosive and affricate
Obstruent consonants are divided into lenis and fortis sets, with
these features having varying phonological analyses and phonetic
realizations cross-dialectally. In some dialects, such as Severn
Ojibwe, members of the fortis set are realized as a sequence of /h/
followed by a single segment drawn from the set of lenis consonants:
/p t k tʃ s ʃ/. Algonquin
Ojibwe is reported as distinguishing
fortis and lenis consonants on the basis of voicing, with fortis being
voiceless and lenis being voiced. In other dialects fortis
consonants are realized as having greater duration than the
corresponding lenis consonant, invariably voiceless, 'vigorously
articulated,' and aspirated in certain environments. In some
practical orthographies such as the widely used Double Vowel system,
fortis consonants are written with voiceless symbols: p, t, k, ch, s,
Lenis consonants have normal duration; are typically voiced
intervocalically, although they may be devoiced at the end or
beginning of a word; are less vigorously articulated than fortis
consonants; and are invariably unaspirated. In the Double Vowel
practical orthography, lenis consonants are written with voiced
symbols: b, d, g, j, z, zh.
All dialects of
Ojibwe have two nasal consonants /m/ and /n/; one
labialized velar approximant /w/; one palatal approximant /j/; and one
of glottal stop /ʔ/ or /h/.
All dialects of
Ojibwe have seven oral vowels.
Vowel length is
phonologically contrastive, hence phonemic. Although the long and
short vowels are phonetically distinguished by vowel quality,
recognition of vowel length in phonological representations is
required, as the distinction between long and short vowels is
essential for the operation of the metrical rule of vowel syncope that
characterizes the Ottawa and Eastern
Ojibwe dialects, as well as for
the rules that determine word stress. There are three short
vowels, /i a o/; and three corresponding long vowels, /iː aː oː/,
in addition to a fourth long vowel /eː/, which lacks a corresponding
short vowel. The short vowel /i/ typically has phonetic values
centring on [ɪ]; /a/ typically has values centring on [ə]~[ʌ]; and
/o/ typically has values centring on [o]~[ʊ]. Long /oː/ is
pronounced [uː] for many speakers, and /eː/ is for many [ɛː].
Ojibwe has nasal vowels; some arise predictably by rule in all
analyses, and other long nasal vowels are of uncertain phonological
status. The latter have been analysed both as underlying
phonemes, and also as predictable, that is derived by the operation
of phonological rules from sequences of a long vowel followed by /n/
and another segment, typically /j/.
Placement of word stress is determined by metrical rules that define a
characteristic iambic metrical foot, in which a weak syllable is
followed by a strong syllable. A Foot consists of a minimum of one
syllable, and a maximum of two syllables, with each Foot containing a
maximum of one Strong syllable. The structure of the metrical Foot
defines the domain for relative prominence, in which a Strong syllable
is assigned stress because it is more prominent than the weak member
of the Foot. Typically, the Strong syllable in the antepenultimate
Foot is assigned the primary stress. Strong syllables that do not
receive main stress are assigned at least secondary stress. In
some dialects, metrically Weak (unstressed) vowels at the beginning of
a word are frequently lost; in the Ottawa and Eastern
all metrically Weak vowels are deleted. For example,
bemisemagak(in) (airplane(s), in the Southwestern
Ojibwe dialect) is
stressed as [be · mise · magak /ˈbɛːmɪˌseːmʌˌgak/] in the
singular but as [be · mise · maga · kin
/ˌbeːmɪˈsɛːmʌˌgaˌkin/] in the plural. In some other dialects,
metrically Weak (unstressed) vowels, especially "a" and "i", are
reduced to a schwa and depending on the writer, may be transcribed as
"i", "e" or "a". For example, anami'egiizhigad [ana · mi'e · gii ·
zhigad /əˌnaməˈʔɛːˌgiːʒəˌgad/] (Sunday, literally "prayer
day") may be transcribed as anama'egiizhigad in those dialects.
The general grammatical characteristics of
Ojibwe are shared across
its dialects. The
Ojibwe language is polysynthetic, exhibits
characteristics of synthesis and a high morpheme-to-word ratio. Ojibwe
is a head-marking language in which inflectional morphology on nouns
and particularly verbs carries significant amounts of grammatical
Word classes include nouns, verbs, grammatical particles, pronouns,
preverbs, and prenouns. Preferred word orders in a simple transitive
sentence are verb-initial, such as V(erb)–O(bject)–S(ubject) and
VSO. While verb-final orders are dispreferred, all logically possible
orders are attested.
Complex inflectional and derivational morphology play a central role
Noun inflection and particularly verb inflection
indicate a wide variety of grammatical information, realized through
the use of prefixes and suffixes added to word stems. Grammatical
characteristics include the following:
gender, divided into animate and inanimate categories
extensive head-marking on verbs of inflectional information concerning
a distinction between obviative and proximate third-person, marked on
both verbs and nouns.
There is a distinction between two different types of third person,
the proximate (the third person deemed more important or in-focus) and
the obviative (the third person deemed less important or
out-of-focus). Nouns can be singular or plural, and one of two
genders, animate or inanimate. Separate personal pronouns exist, but
are usually used for emphasis; they distinguish inclusive and
exclusive first person plurals.
Verbs constitute the most complex word class. Verbs are inflected for
one of three orders (indicative, the default; conjunct, used for
participles and in subordinate clauses; and imperative, used with
commands), as negative or affirmative, and for the person, number,
animacy, and proximate/obviative status of both the subject and
object, as well as for several different modes (including the
dubitative and preterit) and tenses.
Loanwords and neologisms
Although it does contain a few loans from English (e.g. gaapii,
"coffee," ) and French (e.g. mooshwe, "handkerchief" (from
mouchoir), ni-tii, "tea" (from le thé, "the tea")), in general,
Ojibwe language is notable for its relative lack of borrowing from
other languages. Instead, speakers far prefer to create words for new
concepts from existing vocabulary. For example in Minnesota
Ojibwemowin, "airplane" is bemisemagak, literally "thing that flies"
(from bimisemagad, "to fly"), and "battery" is ishkode-makakoons,
literally "little fire-box" (from ishkode, "fire," and makak, "box").
Even "coffee" is called makade-mashkikiwaaboo ("black
liquid-medicine") by many speakers, rather than gaapii. These new
words vary from region to region, and occasionally from community to
community. For example, in Northwest
Ontario Ojibwemowin, "airplane"
is ombaasijigan, literally "device that gets uplifted by the wind"
(from ombaasin, "to be uplifted by the wind") as opposed to the
Like any language dialects spanning vast regions, some words that may
have had identical meaning at one time have evolved to have different
meanings today. For example, zhooniyaans (literally "small[-amount of]
money" and used to refer to coins) specifically means "dime" (10-cent
piece) in the United States, but a "quarter" (25-cent piece) in
Canada, or desabiwin (literally "thing to sit upon") means "couch" or
"chair" in Canada, but is used to specifically mean a "saddle" in the
Cases like "battery" and "coffee" also demonstrate the often great
difference between the literal meanings of the individual morphemes in
a word, and the overall meaning of the entire word.
Below are some examples of common
Short List of VAIs:
onjibaa = he/she comes
izhaa = he/she goes
maajaa = he/she departs
bakade = he/she is hungry
mino'endamo = he/she is glad
zhaaganaashimo = he/she speaks English
biindige = he/she comes in
ojibwemo = he/she speaks Ojibwe
boogidi = he/she flatulates
boogide = he/she has flatulence
aadizooke = he/she tells a story
wiisini = he/she is eating
minikwe = he/she drinks
bimose = he/she walks
bangishin = he/she falls
dagoshin = he/she is arriving
giiwe = he/she goes home
jiibaakwe = he/she cooks
zagaswe = he/she smokes
nibaa = he/she sleeps
giigoonyike = he/she is fishing (lit. he/she makes fish)
gashkendamo = he/she is sad
bimaadizi = he/she lives
gaasikanaabaagawe = he/she is thirsty
Short List of Nouns:
naboob = soup
ikwe = woman
inini = man
ikwezens = girl
gwiiwizens = boy
mitig = tree
asemaa = tobacco
opwaagan = pipe
mandaamin = corn
miskwi = blood
doodoosh = breast
doodooshaaboo = milk
doodooshaaboo-bimide = butter
doodooshaaboowi-miijim = cheese
manoomin = wild rice
omanoominiig = Menomonee peoples
giigoonh = fish
miskwimin = raspberry
gekek = hawk
gookooko'oo = owl
migizi = bald eagle
giniw = golden eagle
bemaadizid = person
bemaadizijig = people
makizin = moccasin, shoe
wiigiwaam = wigwam, house
Ojibwe writing systems
There is no standard writing system used for all
Local alphabets have been developed by adapting the Latin script,
usually based on English or French orthography. A syllabic writing
system not related to English or French writing is used by some Ojibwe
speakers in northern
Ontario and Manitoba.
Great Lakes Algonquian
syllabics are based on the French alphabet with letters organized into
syllables. It was primarily used by speakers of Fox, Potawatomi, and
Winnebago, but there is indirect evidence of use by speakers of
A widely used Roman character-based writing system is the Double Vowel
system devised by Charles Fiero. Although there is no standard
orthography, the Double Vowel system is used by many
teachers because of its ease of use. A wide range of materials have
been published in this system, including a grammar,
dictionaries, collections of texts, and
pedagogical grammars. In northern
Ontario and Manitoba, Ojibwe
is most commonly written using the Cree syllabary, a syllabary
originally developed by Methodist missionary James Evans around 1840
in order to write Cree. The syllabic system is based in part on Evans'
Pitman's shorthand and his prior experience developing a
distinctive alphabetic writing system for
Ojibwe in southern
Double vowel system
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help
improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2016) (Learn
how and when to remove this template message)
The double vowel system uses three short vowels, four long vowels, and
eighteen consonants, represented with the following Roman letters:
a aa b ch d e g ' h i ii j k m n o oo p s sh t w y z zh
Dialects typically either have /h/ or /ʔ/ (the orthographic ⟨'⟩
in most versions) but rarely both. This system is called "double
vowel" because the long vowel correspondences to the short vowels
⟨a⟩, ⟨i⟩ and ⟨o⟩ are written with a doubled value. In this
system, the nasal ny as a final element is instead written ⟨nh⟩.
The allowable consonant clusters are ⟨mb⟩, ⟨nd⟩, ⟨ng⟩,
⟨n'⟩, ⟨nj⟩, ⟨nz⟩, ⟨ns⟩, ⟨nzh⟩, ⟨sk⟩,
⟨shp⟩, ⟨sht⟩, and ⟨shk⟩.
Sample text and analysis
The sample text, from the Southwestern
Ojibwe dialect, is taken, with
permission, from the first four lines of Niizh Ikwewag (Two
Women), a story told by Earl Nyholm, on Professor Brian Donovan of
Bemidji State University's webpage.
Aabiding gii-ayaawag niizh ikwewag: mindimooyenh, odaanisan bezhig.
Iwidi Chi-achaabaaning akeyaa gii-onjibaawag.
Inashke naa mewinzha gii-aawan, mii eta go imaa sa wiigiwaaming
Mii dash iwapii, aabiding igo gii-awi-bagida'waawaad, giigoonyan
Once there were two women: an old lady, and one of her daughters.
They were from over there towards Inger.
See now, it was long ago; they just lived there in a wigwam.
And at that time, once they went net-fishing; they intended to eat
be in a certain place
they were in a certain place
(lit: by Big-Bowstring [River])
they came from there.
mii eta go
in a wigwam
that they lived
it is that
fish with a net
that they went and fished with a net
that they are going to eat those
Notable speakers of Anishinaabemowin include:
Frederic Baraga (19th century missionary bishop who wrote A
theoretical and practical grammar of the Otchipwe language)
James "Naawi-giizis" Clark (elder, cultural ambassador)
George Copway (chief, missionary, writer, cultural ambassador)
Melvin Eagle (elder, cultural ambassador, spiritual leader)
Gerri Howard (elder, educator)
Basil H. Johnston
Basil H. Johnston (educator, curator, essayist, cultural ambassador)
Peter Jones (missionary, reverend, chief)
Maude "Naawakamigookwe" Kegg (narrator, artist, cultural ambassador)
Archie Mosay (elder, educator, spiritual leader)
Margaret Noodin (educator, writer)
Jim Northrup (writer)
Kenny Pheasant (educator)
Larry Marlon "Amikogaabow" Smallwood, Sr. (elder, educator, cultural
Marlene Stately (elder, educator)
Rose Tainter (elder, educator)
Leona Wakonabo (elder, educator)
Mobile learning apps
An "Ojibway Language and People" app is available for iPhone, iPad,
and other iOS devices. The source code is available for others
interested in developing their own application for learning a native
Aboriginal peoples in
Indigenous peoples of North America portal
United States portal
Canadian Aboriginal syllabics
List of endangered languages in the United States
Lists of languages
Ojibwe writing systems
^ a b Ojibwa at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Severn Ojibwa at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Eastern Ojibwa at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Central Ojibwa at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Northwestern Ojibwa at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Western Ojibwa at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
(Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
^ a b Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh
^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: oji".
ISO 639-2 Registration
Authority - Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-07-04. Name:
^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: oji".
ISO 639-3 Registration
Authority - SIL International. Retrieved 2017-07-04. Name:
^ R. R. Bishop Baraga, 1878. A Theoretical and Practical Grammar of
the Otchipwe Language
^ a b c Goddard, Ives, 1979.
^ a b Bloomfield, Leonard, 1958.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, p. 6.
^ a b c Nichols, John, 1980, pp. 1–2.
^ Rhodes, Richard, and Evelyn Todd, 1981.
^ a b Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, p. 456.
^ a b c d e "Various Languages Spoken (147), Age Groups (17A) and Sex
(3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census
Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample
Data". Statistics Canada.
Ojibwe Language Immersion School".
^ Goddard, Ives, 1978; Goddard, Ives, 1979.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, p. 1.
^ Nichols, John and Earl Nyholm, 1995, p. 10.
^ a b c Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, p. 1, Fn. 2.
^ Nichols, John and Earl Nyholm, p. 105.
^ Baraga, Frederic, 1878, p. 336.
^ a b c Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, p. 2.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, pp. 3–4.
^ Goddard, Ives, 1978, pp. 585–586; Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994,
^ a b Goddard, Ives, 1979, p. 95.
^ Goddard, Ives, 1996, p. 4.
^ Goddard, Ives, 1979, pp. 95–96.
^ Rhodes, Richard, and Evelyn Todd, 1981, p. 54, Fig. 2.
^ Feest, J. and Feest, C., 1978; Dawes, Charles, 1982.
^ a b U.S. English Foundation: Ojibwa Archived 2010-11-29 at the
Wayback Machine.. Retrieved November 12, 2009.
^ a b https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/phc-5-pt1.pdf U.S. Census
Bureau, 2000 Census of Population and Housing,Characteristics of
American Indians and Alaska Natives by Tribe and Language: 2000.
PHC-5. Washington, DC, 2003.
^ 2006 Canadian Census reported 32,460 total Ojibwe–Ottawa speakers
less derived Ottawa of 7,564.
Ethnologue reported 8,000 less 2000 US Census reported 436.
^ a b Gordon, Raymond, 2005. See online version of same: Ethnologue
entry for Ottawa. Retrieved November 12, 2009.
^ Dan Gunderson (2013-01-14). "At White Earth, hymns a unique part of
Ojibwe culture". Park Rapids Enterprise. Park Rapids,
Minnesota. Retrieved 2013-01-17. [permanent dead link]
^ Meurs, Michael (2011-09-21). "Native American Language
Revitalization on Red Lake Agenda". Indian Country Today Media
Network. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
^ Rhodes, Richard, and Evelyn Todd, 1981, p. 52.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994.
^ a b J. Randolph Valentine, 1994, pp. 43–44.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, pp. 42–43.
^ Rhodes, Richard and E. Todd, 1981, p. 52.
^ Rhodes, Richard and E. Todd, 1981, p. 61, Fig. 5.
^ J. Randolph Valentine, 1994, pp. 39.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1982, p. 2.
^ Bakker, Peter and Anthony Grant, 1996, p. 1117.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1982, p. 1.
^ Bakker, Peter and Anthony Grant, 1996, p. 1116.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1982.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1982, pp. 3–4.
^ a b c Nichols, John, 1995, p. 1.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1976.
^ Bakker, Peter, 1991.
^ Bakker, Peter, 1996, pp. 264–270.
^ Alex DeCoteau, Turtle Mountain Chippewa member and
^ Bloomfield, Leonard, 1962.
^ Blain, Eleanor, 1987, 7.
^ Blain, Eleanor, 1987.
^ See e.g. Nichols, John, 1981, p. 6 for Southwestern Ojibwe.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, pp. 124–125.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1985, p. xlvi.
^ Nichols, John and Earl Nyholm, 1995, p. xxvi.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1985, p. xli.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1994, pp. 123–124.
^ Bloomfield, Leonard, 1958, p. 8; Rhodes, Richard, 1985, pp. xliv,
xlvii, xlix, l, li.
^ a b For Southwestern Ojibwe, see Nichols, John and Earl Nyholm,
1995; for Ottawa, see Rhodes, Richard, 1985.
^ Bloomfield, Leonard, 1958, p. 8.
^ For Southwestern Ojibwe, see Nichols, John, 1981; for Ottawa, see
Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001.
^ See e.g.: Rhodes, Richard, 1985, for the Ottawa dialect; Nichols,
John and Earl Nyholm, 1995, for the Southwestern
^ Nichols, John, 1980, pp. 6–7.
^ Piggott, Glyne, 1981.
^ For discussion of this rule in the Ottawa dialect, see Valentine, J.
Randolph, 2001, p. 54.
^ Valentine, J. Randoph, 2001, p. 53.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, pp. 51–55.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, pp. 934–935.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, p. 114.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, Chapters 5–8; pp. 62–72.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, p. 178.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, pp. 759–782.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, p. 759.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, pp. 830–837.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, pp. 837–856.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 2001, pp. 623–643.
^ O'Meara, John. "Words Borrowed From English/French Into Ojibwe".
Archived from the original on 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
^ Ningewance, Patricia, 1999.
^ Walker, Willard, 1996.
^ Walker, Willard, 1996, pp. 168–172.
^ Smith, Huron, 1932, p. 335.
^ Nichols, John, 1995.
^ Rhodes, Richard, 1985.
^ Valentine, J. Randolph, 1998.
^ Kegg, Maude, 1991.
^ Nichols, John and Leonard Bloomfield, eds., 1991.
^ Vollom, Judith and Thomas M. Vollom, 1994.
^ Ningewance, Patricia, 1993.
^ Nichols, John, 1996.
^ For Southwestern Ojibwe, which has /ʔ/ (orthographic ⟨'⟩) but
not /h/, see Nichols, John, 1981.
^ Niizh Ikwewag Archived 2013-12-12 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b c d e "
Ojibwe Voices The
Ojibwe People's Dictionary".
ojibwe.lib.umn.edu. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
^ Interactive, Kenny. "Anishinaabemowin, learn the Anishinaabe
language". www.anishinaabemdaa.com. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
^ "Ojibway Language program for teachers students and schools". Ogoki
Learning Systems Inc. iPhone App Developer. Retrieved
^ Dadigan, Marc (2013-04-12). "Learning a Native Language? Ojibway
Programmer Has an App For That". Indian Country Today Media Network.
Bakker, Peter. 1991. "The Ojibwa element in Michif." W. Cowan, ed.,
Papers of the twenty-second Algonquian conference, 11–20. Ottawa:
Carleton University. ISSN 0831-5671
Bakker, Peter. 1996. A language of our own: The genesis of Michif, the
French language of the Canadian Métis. New York: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0-19-509711-4
Bakker, Peter and Anthony Grant. 1996. "Interethnic communication in
Canada, Alaska and adjacent areas." Stephen A. Wurm, Peter
Muhlhausler, Darrell T. Tyron, eds., Atlas of Languages of
Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas,
1107–1170. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-013417-9
Bloomfield, Leonard. 1958. Eastern Ojibwa: Grammatical sketch, texts
and word list. Ann Arbor: University of
Bloomfield, Leonard. 1962. The Menomini language. New Haven: Yale
[Dawes, Charles E.] 1982. Dictionary English-Ottawa Ottawa-English. No
Canada 2006 Retrieved on March 31, 2009.
Feest, Johanna, and Christian Feest. 1978. "Ottawa." Bruce Trigger,
ed., The Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15. Northeast,
772–786. Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution.
Goddard, Ives. 1978. "Central Algonquian Languages." Bruce Trigger,
ed., Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15, Northeast,
583–587. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.
Goddard, Ives. 1979. "Comparative Algonquian." Lyle Campbell and
Marianne Mithun, eds, The languages of Native America, 70–132.
Austin: University of Texas Press.
Goddard, Ives. 1996. "Introduction." Ives Goddard, ed., The Handbook
of North American Indians, Volume 17. Languages, 1–16. Washington,
D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution.
Kegg, Maude. 1991. Edited and transcribed by John D. Nichols. Portage
Lake: Memories of an
Ojibwe Childhood. Edmonton: University of Alberta
Press. ISBN 0-8166-2415-1
Laverdure, Patline and Ida Rose Allard. 1983. The Michif dictionary:
Turtle Mountain Chippewa Cree. Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican Publications.
Nichols, John. 1980.
Ojibwe morphology. PhD dissertation, Harvard
Nichols, John. 1995. "The
Ojibwe verb in "Broken Oghibbeway."
Amsterdam Creole Studies 12: 1–18.
Nichols, John. 1996. "The Cree syllabary." Peter Daniels and William
Bright, eds. The world's writing systems, 599–611. New York: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0
Nichols, John D. and Leonard Bloomfield, eds. 1991. The dog's
Anishinaabe texts told by Angeline Williams. Winnipeg:
Publications of the Algonquian Text Society, University of Manitoba.
Nichols, John and Earl Nyholm. 1995. A concise dictionary of Minnesota
Ojibwe. St. Paul: University of
Ningewance, Patricia. 1993. Survival Ojibwe. Winnipeg: Mazinaate
Press. ISBN 0-9697826-0-8
Ningewance, Patricia. 1999. Naasaab izhi-anishinaabebii'igeng:
Conference report. A conference to find a common Anishinaabemowin
writing system. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario.
Ningewance, Patricia. 2004. Talking Gookom's language: Learning
Ojibwe. Lac Seul, ON: Mazinaate Press. ISBN 978-0-9697826-3-6
Piggott, Glyne L. 1980. Aspects of Odawa morphophonemics. New York:
Garland. (Published version of PhD dissertation, University of
Toronto, 1974) ISBN 0-8240-4557-2
Rhodes, Richard. 1976. "A preliminary report on the dialects of
Eastern Ojibwa – Odawa." W. Cowan, ed., Papers of the seventh
Algonquian conference, 129–156. Ottawa: Carleton University.
Rhodes, Richard. 1982. "Algonquian trade languages." William Cowan,
ed., Papers of the thirteenth Algonquian conference, 1–10. Ottawa:
Carleton University. ISBN 0-7709-0123-9
Rhodes, Richard A. 1985. Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-013749-6
Rhodes, Richard and Evelyn Todd. 1981. "Subarctic Algonquian
languages." June Helm, ed., The Handbook of North American Indians,
Volume 6. Subarctic, 52–66. Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian
Smith, Huron H. 1932. "Ethnobotany of the
Ojibwe Indians." Bulletin of
the Public Museum of Milwaukee 4:327–525.
Todd, Evelyn. 1970. A grammar of the Ojibwa language: The Severn
dialect. PhD dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Census of Population and Housing.
Characteristics of American Indians and Alaska Natives by Tribe and
Language: 2000 Retrieved on March 31, 2009.
Valentine, J. Randolph. 1994.
Ojibwe dialect relationships. PhD
dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.
Valentine, J. Randolph. 1998. Weshki-bimaadzijig ji-noondmowaad. 'That
the young might hear': The stories of Andrew Medler as recorded by
Leonard Bloomfield. London, ON: The Centre for Teaching and Research
of Canadian Native Languages, University of Western Ontario.
Valentine, J. Randolph. 2001. Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-4870-6
Vollom, Judith L. and Thomas M. Vollom. 1994. Ojibwemowin. Series 1.
Second Edition. Ramsey, Minnesota:
Ojibwe Language Publishing.
Walker, Willard. 1996. "Native writing systems." Ives Goddard, ed.,
The Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 17. Languages,
158–184. Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution.
Beardy, Tom. Introductory
Ojibwe in Severn dialect. Parts one and two.
Thunder Bay, Ontario : Native Language Instructors' program,
Lakehead University, 1996. ISBN 0-88663-018-5
Cappel, Constance, editor, "Odawa Language and legends: Andrew J.
Blackbird and Raymond Kiogima," Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2006.
ISBN 978-1-59926-920-7[self-published source]
Hinton, Leanne and Kenneth Hale. 2001. The Green Book of Language
Revitalization in Practice. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-349353-6
(Hardcover), ISBN 90-04-25449-8 (Paperback).
Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre. 2014.
ᑭᑎᓯᑭᓯᐍᐏᓂᓇᐣ [Kihtisiikisiwewinan] :
Anihshininiimowin Oji-Cree Dictionary (Severn River and Winisk River).
Part One : Oji-Cree to English, Part Two : English to
Oji-Cree. Nichols, John D. et al., editors. Sioux Lookout: Kwayaciiwin
Education Resource Centre.
McGregor, Ernest. 1987. Algonquin lexicon. Maniwaki, QC: River Desert
Mitchell, Mary. 1988. Eds. J. Randolph Valentine and Lisa Valentine.
Ojibwe (Severn dialect), Part one. Thunder Bay :
Native Language Office, Lakehead University.
Mithun, Marianne. 1999. The Languages of Native North America.
Cambridge: University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7
Moose, Lawrence L. et al. 2009. Aaniin Ekidong: Aaniin Ekidong: Ojibwe
Vocabulary Project. St. Paul :
Minnesota Humanities Center.
Ningewance, Patricia. 1990. Anishinaabemodaa : Becoming a
Ojibwe eavesdropper. Winnipeg :
for Native Languages. ISBN 1-894632-01-X
Ningewance, Patricia. 1996. Zagataagan - A Northern
Volume 1 : English-Ojibwe, Volume 2 : Ojibwe-English. Sioux
Lookout: Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre.
Northrup, Jim, Marcie R. Rendon, and Linda LeGarde Grover.
Nitaawichige = "to Do Something Skillfully" : Selected Poetry and
Prose by Four
Anishinaabe Writers. Duluth, MN : Poetry Harbor,
2002. ISBN 1-886895-28-7
Snache, Irene. 2005.
Ojibwe language dictionary. Rama, ON: Mnjikaning
Kendaaswin Publishers. ISBN 1-894632-01-X
Sugarhead, Cecilia. 1996. ᓂᓄᑕᐣ / Ninoontaan / I can hear it:
Ojibwe stories from Lansdowne House written by Cecilia Sugarhead.
Edited, translated and with a glossary by John O'Meara. Winnipeg:
Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics. ISBN 0-921064-14-4
Toulouse, Isadore. Kidwenan, An
Ojibwe Language Book. Munsee-Delaware
Anishinaabe Kendaaswin Pub, 1995. ISBN 1-896027-16-4
Treuer, Anton. Living our language:
Ojibwe tales & oral histories.
St. Paul, MN:
Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001.
Ojibwe in Minnesota. St. Paul : Minnesota
Historical Society Press, 2010.
Vizenor, Gerald Robert. Summer in the Spring
Anishinaabe Lyric Poems
and Stories. American Indian literature and critical studies series,
v. 6. Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 1993.
Williams, Shirley I. 2002. Gdi-nweninaa : Our sound, our voice.
Peterborough, ON : Neganigwane. ISBN 0-9731442-1-1
Ojibwe language test of at Wikimedia Incubator
Look up Category:
Ojibwe language in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Noongwa e-Anishinaabemjig: People Who Speak Anishinaabemowin Today —
hosted at the University of Michigan
Ojibwe Language Society
Ojibwe Language Group
Aboriginal Languages of
Canada — With data on speaker populations
Language Geek Page on
Syllabary fonts and keyboard
emulators are also available from this site.
Niizh Ikwewag — A short story in Ojibwe, originally told by Earl
Nyholm, emeritus professor of
Ojibwe at Bemidji State University.
Native Languages: A Support Document for the Teaching of Language
Ojibwe and Cree
Native Languages page for Ojibwe
Letter Men: Brothers Fight for
Ojibwe Language, a story broadcast on
Fresh Air, a
National Public Radio
National Public Radio broadcast show, interviewing Anton
and David Treuer.
Language and Meaning — An
Ojibwe Story, a story broadcast on
Speaking of Faith, a
National Public Radio
National Public Radio broadcast show.
Bemaadizing: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Indigenous Life (An
Comprehensive list of learning resources for
Ojibwe prepared for the
SSILA by Dr. Rand Valentine
Gidakiiminaan (Our Earth) wall-map with
Ojibwe Geographic Place Names
in the 1837 Ceded Territories of
Minnesota and Wisconsin, the 1842
Ceded Territories of
Michigan and the 1836 Ceded
Territory of the
Michigan Upper Peninsula, issued by the Great Lakes
Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
First Speakers: Restoring the
Ojibwe Language Documentary produced by
Twin Cities Public Television
Ojibwe Stories: Gaganoonididaa from the Public Radio Exchange
Ikwe, a National Film Board of
Canada film done mostly in the Ojibwe
Baadwewedamojig project featuring audio recording made by William
Jones between 1903 and 1905.
Grammar and Lessons
Ojibwe Swadesh vocabulary list of basic words (from
Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix)
Rand Valentine's introduction to Ojibwe
Grammar, lessons, and dictionaries —
Ojibwe site by "Weshki-ayaad"
Gikendandaa Ojibwemowin —
Ojibwe lesson site by James Starkey
Native Languages: A Support Document for the Teaching of Language
Patters — basic language patterns for
Ojibwe/Ottawa "CO" and Lac Seul
Ojibwe "WO") and Cree (Swampy Cree
Baraga, Frederic (Bishop)
(1850). A Theoretical and Practical Grammar of the Otchipwe Language,
the Language Spoken by the Chippewa Indians; Which Is Also Spoken by
the Algonquin, Otawa and Potawatami Inidans, with Little Difference,
For the Use of Missionaries and Other Persons Living Among the Indians
of the Above Named Tribes.
(1878). A Theoretical and Practical Grammar of the Otchipwe Language
for the Use of Missionaries and Other Persons Living Among the Indians
Ojibwe iPad app brings language to world" in Wawatay News Online.
"Ojibway language tutor? There's an app for that" in CBC News
Dictionaries and Wordlists
Ojibwe People's Dictionary — Online Ojibwe-English dictionary with
8,000+ words, 60,000 audio clips by
Ojibwe elders from
Ontario, and related images/documents.
Dialect Relations : Lexical Maps by Dr. J. Randolph
Valentine (1995) — a study in differences in vocabulary among
different Anishinaabemowin-speaking communities, with accompanying
Aaniin Ekidong ... (How Do You Say ...):
Project — Math and science terms for the Southwestern (Wisconsin,
Leech Lake and Red Lake) and
Minnesota Border Chippewa dialect of the
Our Languages: Nahkawē (
Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre)
Anishinaabe-Ikidowinan (Ojibwe) Dictionary — Courtesy of the
Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre. Covers Albany River, Berens
River and English River dialects of Northwestern Ojibwe
Ojibwe Dictionary — Freeware off-line dictionary for
Windows-based systems (with instructions on how to load on a
Macintosh). On-line searches are also available.
Kees van Kolmeschate: My
Ojibwe Documents — Assorted digital
Ojibwe-related documents, including the electronic version of the 1878
Baraga, Frederic (Bishop). Dictionary of the Otchipwe Language,
Explained in English.
Part I: English-Otchipwe and Part II: Otchipwe-English in the 1853
Wisconsin Historical Society
Part I: English-Otchipwe in the 1878 edition and Part II:
Otchipwe-English in the 1880 edition courtesy of Google Books
Ojibwe Language Math Supplements Learner Outcomes K–6 Culturally
Relevant Curriculum: Math-related words from Red Lake, Minnesota
Lemoine, Georges. Dictionnaire français-algonquin
Southern New England
Other East Algonquian
Italics indicate extinct languages
Languages of Minnesota
Minnesota regional dialect
American Sign Language
Plains Indian Sign Language
Languages of Montana
Languages of Canada
Pidgins, creoles and mixed
Labrador Inuit Pidgin French
American Sign Language
Quebec Sign Language
Inuk Sign Language
Plains Indian Sign Language
Maritime Sign Language
Anishinabek Educational Institute
birch bark biting
birch bark scrolls
Grand Medicine Society
Chiefs of Ontario
Council of Three Fires
Grand Council of Treaty 3
Grand Council of Treaty 8
Great Lakes Inter-tribal Council
Inter-tribal Council of Michigan
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
First Nations Alliance
Keewaytinook Okimakanak Council
Matawa First Nations
Mishkeegogamang First Nation
Mocreebec Council of the Cree Nation
Sandy Lake First Nation
First Nations Council
Wabun Tribal Council
Weenusk First Nation
First Nations Council
Union of Ont