Ojibwe Language Described by Red Lake Elder by: Jennifer Kruse, LMT CRMT Fargo, ND
Interesting insights on Ojibwe Language... READ MORE
Among the topics of discussion...
I asked about the word parts which make up Ojibwe words,
he used the example below:
makade-mashkikiwaaboo = Coffee
CLICK HERE to LISTEN to pronounciation
The Ojibwe term above means Coffee, however it is actually THREE WORDS, which describe what it is and what it does. Larry Stillday, Sr. explained the following 3 word parts which create the Ojibwe "phrase" describing "coffee."
makade = Black. (describing the color of coffee)
mashkiki = Medicine (describing what it does or how it's used)
waaboo = Water (describing the liquid used to make it)
I used the Ojibwe People's Dictionary website to locate the word parts above.
If the words are listed in BLUE, they link to their website.
I could not locate "waaboo" on their website as a listing for "water." I did find it listed under "coffee," then followed the breakdown to arrive at it's listed meaning: waaboo = Liquid
mashkikiwaaboo = Liquid Medicine
Ojibwe language requires interaction in order to make the description.
One could simply memorize the above "phrase" as the Ojibwe word for "coffee," however, in doing so, it's interactive description and understanding of it's true meaning would be lost.
Ojibwe "word" below:
Ojibwe word for Drum: dewe'igan
de = my heart, we = echo, igan = forever
dewe'igan = my heart echoes forever
"My Heart Echoes Forever" describes the Ojibwe interactive relationship with a "drum."
a Mide drum: mitigwakik
drum on: madwe'
s/he sits at a drum: baaga'akokwe
None of these other Ojibwe "words" contain: dewe'igan...
yet they are the "words" describing drums?
If English is your first language, this could seem all wrong.
In the English language: drum = an object.
dewe'igan (meaning drum) should be part of each one of those other words which represent a type of drum, to continue drumming and someone sitting at a drum, right?
Understand that Ojibwe words describe HOW THEY INTERACT with the world.
That's why dewe'igan is NOT found in those other Ojibwe words, which make reference to a drum. Those other Ojibwe words are describing a different interaction with a drum.
This makes learning the Ojibwe Language via memorization extremely difficult!
Without understanding the ways in which the Ojibwe live, while interacting with the Ojibwe language... how could anyone truly become "fluent?"
Ojibwe is truly a Living Language!
The description of EVERYTHING makes experiences so much more meaningful!
Ojibwe Elders have expressed concern about assigning Ojibwe words to objects, like the English language does. The examples given within this article show that a person cannot fully understand the Ojibwe language without the full description of the word parts.
The beauty is in understanding the interactions described with the Ojibwe language.
I would LOVE to see a resource which clarifies EACH of the Ojibwe WORD PARTS,
so that the wisdom contained within the beautiful and deep LIVING MEANINGS may be more easily learned and preserved by others.
This would ensure that the Ojibwe Language would continue LIVING through more people who wish to learn to speak Ojibwemowin.
If anyone knows of a reference which provides this... PLEASE LET ME KNOW! :)
Wells Family of Red Lake Nation
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