Anishinabemowin Sound Chart

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Boozhoo Niijiinkwenyag!

This is the Anishinabemowin Sound Chart we had to learn in one of my language classes. Our kinoamage inini made us repeat this at the beginning of our classes for the first few weeks of our semester. It does help you approach words and to learn to pronounce them better. Another tip, if you encounter a long word you are having trouble pronouncing, sound it out backwards ( example makademashkikiwaaboo sounded out from back to front like this: waaboo, kiwaaboo, kikiwaaboo, mashkikiwaaboo, makademashkikiwaaboo), or sound it out by syllable (mak  ade   mash  ki  ki  waa boo).

b — ba –baa–be–bi–bii–bo–boo





j–ja–jaa– je–ji–jii–jo–joo












Double Vowels

aa-ah in About

ii – e as in bee

e – a as in may

oo – as in food

Short Vowels

a- uh in cut

i -ih as in lit

o as o in low

Cooking/Kitchen Verbs and Sentences

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Minikchiwagan-Something you drink out of (cup)

Boskina’gun – Bowl (Talks about its curviness) (Bea Collwelliban)

Desinaagan/Desinaaganan – Bowl / Bowls

Onaagan / Onaaganan – Plate / Plates

Ataasowin – Cupboard

Ataasowinan – Cupboards (you can tell that this word refers to something inanimate by the plural ending –an)


Emkwaan/Emkwaanan- Spoon/Spoons

Badak’jigan/ Badak’jiganan – Fork / Forks

Mookman/Mookmanan – Knife / Knives

Kchi mookman – Big knife

Pots and Pans

Akik/ Akikwag – Pot / Pots

Zaasgokwaan / Zaasgokwaanan – Frying Pan / Frying pans

Aniibiishakik/ Aniibiishakikan – Tea Kettle / Tea Kettles


Bischigeh- to bake (Literal meaning  – it raises)

Zhaabkizgan(Bea Collwelliban) or Gizhaabkizigan (Neganigwane Pheasant) – Stove


Esasskodek – Frying

Esasskodekweshigan – Fried bread

Table words

Dopwin/ Dopwinan – Table/Tables

Ta’magat dopwining – On top of the table

Namayiin dopwining – Underneath the table.

Anamowishin ziinzibaakwad. – Hand me the sugar.

Anamowishin zhiitaagan miinawa wiisagat – Pass me the salt and pepper.

Daga Anama’wishin – Please pass it to me / hand it to me.

About the Cook

Jibaakwe inini – Male cook.

Giwii jibaakwe ina? – Do you want to cook?

Jiibawaadan – Cook it.

Jibaakwe – S/he is cooking.

Ni jiibaakwe – I’m cooking.

Eating Words

Wiisini – To eat someone or something. The use of the word “someone” is due to animals and plants being animate and having a spirit so we acknowledge that in our words about eating.

Gwii minikwe na? – Do you want a drink?

Wegonesh waa miijiiyan? / Awegonen wa miijiiyin? (example of dialect difference, which doesn’t matter because they both say the same thing)  – What do you want to eat?

Gojipidan – Taste it.

Gojipidan maanda – Taste this.

Minopogozid na? – Does it taste good?

Miigwetchiwendan – Give thanks for it.

Ziigwebinan – Spill it.

Desa’an – Flatten it.

Wewiiginan – Wrap it up.

Gondan – Swallow it.

Nabonan – Fold it.

Webinan – Throw it away.

Wiisini – To eat.

Bakade – To be hungry.

Ni minikwe – I’m drinking.

Ni wiisin – I’m eating.

Ingii minikwe – I drank.

Ingii wiisin. – I ate.

Gigii wiisin’ na? – Did you eat?

Wiisiniwag Ininiwag – The men are eating.

Mino Pogozi – That 1 thing tastes good.

Mino Pogwaad – That (all of it) tastes good.

Maji Pogozi – That 1 thing tastes bad. (note, we Anishinabeg would never insult the cook by saying this, however you could use it if you were tasting something you made yourself or something purchased from the store, like an energy drink or something you could say it tastes bad.)

Gid ayaawaa ina’ makademashkikiwaaboo? – Do you have some coffee?

Gid ayaawaa ina’ opineek? – Do you have potatos?

Ndoo apachigo nimbakade / Ndoo apijige nimbakade – I’m really hungry.

G’depsinii na? – Are you full?

Ehn, n’depsina. – Yes, I’m full.

Kawiin n’depsiniisii – No, I’m not full.

N’depsina – I’m full / I’ve had enough.

Mishiiminag – Apples (You can tell that apples are animate because of it’s plural ending –ag)

Niiwin Nekeying – Four Directions

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Niiwin Nekeying – Four Directions

Waabanong – East

Zhaawanong – South

Epingishmok- West

Kiiwedinong – North

Ishpiming (Giizhigong) – Heaven / Sky / Father Sky

Ngo Kii Noonwin – Four Seasons

Minokaami – Spring

Niibing – Summer

Dagwaagi – Fall

Biboon – Winter

Niiwin Kchi Mishkikiinag – Four Sacred Medicines

Asema – Tobacco – Men’s Medicine

Giizhik – Cedar – Women’s Medicine

Mashkodewashk – Sage – Men’s Medicine

Wiingushk – Sweetgrass – Women’s Medicine

Ngo Bemaadziwin – The Good Life (Life Stages)

Abinoojiihn – Baby

Shkiniige – Youth

Nitaawgi – Adult

Kchi Anishinabe – Elder

Ngo Bemaadis – Four Aspects of Man

Nendamowin – Mind

Wiiwying – Body

Enmaanjwaang – Emotions (Feelings)

Jiichaag – Soul / Spirit

Bemaadzijik Niiweyangiswag – Four Races

Niibiishaaboke – Asian

Anishinabe – American Indian

Makadenini – African

Waabshkeye (Zhaagnaash, Wemtigoozh, Megwenh, Aanmaa) – White (English, French, Polish, Ukrainian, German)

Aaniin Nijiikwenyaag!

Sorry that I missed a few days posting. Last weekend was a whirlwind, it was ngashi (my mother)’s birthday… and tomorrow is my husband’s birthday so I had to run around and get gifts and cake and make cards… yes I make my own… hand drawn…  Mom liked hers, it had an woodland style migizi (eagle) on it with floral…. my husband’s is Dr. Who inspired but I cannot describe it as he has not gotten it yet.

Anyways, I have listed the four directions, the four seasons, the four sacred medicines, the life stages  the four aspects of man, and the four races here and I will be having to catch up on making videos the weekend of the 14th as my neice graduates with her Masters degree from CMU this weekend, and it is my first wedding anniversary on Sunday.

Minokami sure brings out lots of hustle and bustle, more events, weddings, birthdays and graduations and open houses to attend…. not to mention planting things  gitigaaning (in the garden).

I will cover the four colors and other colors another time, as there are two sets, animate and inanimate… which is confusing to a beginner.

Also, Barb Nolan a fluent speaker and immersion teacher has started a website were she has posted immersion videos to help in teaching the language to beginners. I strongly encourage you to check them out and listen to them over and over again. You can click the link for her site in the blogroll on the right side of the page. Immersion is the best and fastest way to learn Anishinabemowin… or any language for that matter. Immersion is how we learned English as babies, from hearing it all the time.

Don’t forget to practice, practice, Practice!

Bama pii giwaabamin!

Study Tips


Aanii Niijiikwenyaag!

I am home from work, and thought I would make a quick post about studying the language. You should try and listen to the language as much as possible of course, and practice saying the words with someone. Finding an Elder to speak with is the best idea, but if you are an Urban Native or live away from your people, sometimes you can find language tables at Universities like the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. You could look up language videos on Youtube, or practice with some of the sites and videos I have listed in the Blog roll.

For learning and memorization, each of my teachers and Elders had different recommendations for this. Some said that we should not focus on writing the language, only listening to it to learn the words and phrases. Which is good advice. Other teachers had their students write each new word / sentence 10 times to help them remember it, and use index cards as language flashcards for themselves, and label things in your house with the word only in Anishinabemowin on the item being labeled. Others had you string the words together in a song to help with remembering the words, or playing games in the language.

I personally have used all these methods. But I will tell you because I was learning to read and write the language in the beginning without having many opportunities to hear it spoken in person, I became somewhat dependent on the written word. However, today I have built up hundreds of hours of listening to fluent speakers and I can understand much of what they say. YAY!

My advice is to learn the words however works best for you, as you will know how you learn. Also, when beginning with the language, do not fear making mistakes in pronunciation, if you make a mistake you are more likely to remember the correct way to say it once you have been corrected.

I will tell you the most embarrassing mistake I ever made…

I was at a pow wow, helping my relatives with their booth, and we were talking about anishinabemowin words, and what I was learning. Long story short, I was standing there with my Auntie  and Uncle and they said what is the word for pipe? I said pojagawin? My Auntie burst out laughing and I turned 10 shades of red and I said “what did I say?”  She said “Ask your Uncle, he has one.” I instantly figured out what I said. I was sooooo embarrassed. So I then asked how to say it properly and learned the word for pipe and penis, and never made that mistake again. Just so you do not make that mistake,  the word for pipe is (opwaagan) and the word for penis is pojagawin

Keep learning!!

Please feel free to leave me comments or questions!!

Bama api gi waabamin

How do you say …?


Aaniin Niijiikwenyaag!

I thought I would do another quick post on how to ask someone how to say a word in Anishinabemowin.

You can post questions like this in the comments section and I will try to answer your questions as soon as possible.

For example:

Anish keya ikido … little bear? – How do you say … little bear?

Makoohns – little bear / young bear.

Anish keya ikido … door? –  How do you say … door?

Ishkwaandem – door.

I am still trying to figure out all of the features I can use on this blog. I have learned this evening that because I have a blog instead of a self hosted site I cannot use plug-ins. So I am still working on trying to figure out how to add audio, so that you all can hear the pronunciations of the words.

Also I am developing a little pattern here, I am giving you words to learn, and trying to include a sentence that you can learn to say to use those words you are learning. As we get farther into this blog, I will try to clue you in to more of the linguistic side of our language and explain some of the mechanics of how it works. But for the beginner, I think it is better to see it this way, just to get your feet wet and not overwhelm you. Any suggestions or comments are appreciated, as well as any questions you may have, I will promptly answer.

Mino dibikad! – Good nite!

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