Native Americans * Indian languages * Native American tribes

Article Archives: Ojibwe Reference Sheet [archive]

This article has been archived from the now-defunct Booshge Giniin site ( for educational purposes. Contents are the property of the authors. Please visit our Article Archive Index for further information. If you are the author of this article and would like to make changes to it, or if you are the author of another article you would like us to add to our archives, please contact us.

Ojibwe Reference Sheet


Long Vowels : AA as in aaniin - Baa

E as in Ojibwe – Say

II as in Giin –T een

oo as in Boozhoo Tooth

Short Vowels: A as in mazina’igan –sun

I as in Mazina’igan – tin

O as in Odamino - bone

PronuctiationConsonant Vowel

Ex – Ma/noo/mi/ni/ke




VAI From Conjugations – A form

First Person – I am (ni, nind, nim, nin)

  • If verb starts with a vowel- NIND
  • If verb starts with B – NIM
  • If verb starts with D, J, G, Z, Zh –NIN
  • If verb starts with begins w/other then Ni
  • If verb begins with 0 prefix NIND and add double o Nindoojaanimiz
  • Drop last short vowel when prefixing Ni-nim nin nind.

Second Person You are (gi, gid)

  • The second person stands for you or your.
  • Add Gi or Gid
  • Prefix Gid when the verb begins in a vowel
  • Prefix Gi when verb begins with a consonnt
  • If verb ends in short vowel .. the short vowel is droped
  • In first and sencond person you always drop the short vowel at end of verb

Examples of First Person

Ni-minwendam -I am glad

Nindaakoz – I am sick… Notice the droped I

Nim+bakade – I am hungry

Ningiiwanaadiz – I am crazy

Examples of Second Person

Gigiikaj – you are cold

Gidabwez – you are sweating

Gidaakoz- You are sick

Gigiiwanaadiz – you are crazy

Third Person- They are (wag, oog)

  • Suffix has to be added to the end of the verb
  • If Verb ends in vowel suffix WAG
  • If Verb ends in consonant suffix OOG

We Exclusive- Prefix ni,nind,nim,nind

Suffix min,imin,amin

  • If verb ends in Vowel – MIN
  • If verb ends in Consonant –IMIN
  • If verb ends in am double a and add min

Examples of Third Person

Doondendamoog – they are jealous.

Mino-ayaawag.- They are well

Giizhooziwag – They are warm

We Exclusive Examples

Niwiisinmin – we (exc) eat

Nidaakozimin – we are sick

Ninoondaamin- we hear

We Inclusive Prefix Gi, or Gid

Suffix min,imin,amin

  • Vowel Ending – min
  • Consonant ending – imin
  • Amin – am ending

You (Plural); You all

  • Prefix gi or gid.. (rules shown above)
  • Suffixing – m, im, amm

Examples of We Inclusive

Gimino-ayaamin – we are well

Gibaapimin – We laugh

Giminwendaamin – We are glad.

Examples of You all

Gidanokiim – you all work

Gidagoshinim – you all arrive

Gigashkendaam – you all are sad.

Future Tense –(going to, want to, shall, will)

  • For future tense "Will" or "Want too" prefix WII
  • For future tense (positive) "shall" prefix ga – or da
  • Format (Personal prefix / tense marker / verb

EXAMPLE Gi – wii – wiisin

Past Tense

  • Past Tense use GII
  • Format (Personal Prefix / tense marker / Verb)

Example Nin- gii - minikwe




Weak ConsonantsThere are five weak consonants at the beginning of a verb that become strong when prefixing a tense marker They automatically change in speech so we shall change them as we write the language as well.

B -> P

D ->T

G -K

J -> Ch

Z -> S

Example Ningii – Pakade / Ningii – Tagoshin

Ningii – kigaj / Niwii – chibaakwe / niwii – saaga’am

Commands Form

  • Suffix "n" for a singular command (used most)
  • Suffix "g" for a plural command
  • Suffix "in" for verbs that end in N for singular commands
  • Suffix "og" for verbs that end in "N" for plural commands
  • Change the "m" in m-ending verbs to "n" for singular commands
  • Suffix "og" to m-ending verbs for plural commands.


Wiisin c/t Wiisnin (sngl)

Wiisining (plural)

Dagoshinin (singular)

Dagoshinog (plural)

Minwendan (singular)

Minwendamog (plural)

Asking A question

(yes or no)

To ask a question place the word na or ina as the second word of the sentence.


Gii – kitchi –noodin ina aquajiing – it was very windy, was it, outside

Locative Endings For Nouns:

(to the, in the, on the, by the)

  • Suffix – ang for the nouns that end in "a" or "an"
  • Suffix –ing for the nouns the end in "n"
  • Suffix – ong for the nouns that end in "g"

Negation For VAI

  • In A form gaawiin always must precede the verb for negation
  • Thense marker rules still aply in negation
  • For VAI’s ending in a consonant suffix ZII
  • Vai’s ending in M change to N and add ZII
  • The plural persoanl pronoun suffix OGG they is changed to WAG in the negation


Wazh – cave – Waazhang – to the cave

Adoopowin – Table – Adoopowining – btt

Aakoziwigamig – aakoziwigamigong.


Gaawiin nimbakadesii I am not hungry

Gaawiin gibakadesiim You all are not hungry

Gaawiin Nimbakadesiimin We are not hungry (ex)

Negating VII’s A-Form ( it is verbs)

  • Always use gaawiin before the verb
  • If the verb ends in AN or IN add ZINOON
  • If the verb ends in a couel, add SINOON
  • If the verb ends in D drop the D and add SINOON


Gaawiin gimiwanzinoon – it is not raining

Gaawiin gisinaasinoon – it is not cold.

VAI "B" Form Usage IF, WHILE, WHEN

I, my: YAAN if verb ends with vowel

AAN if verb ends in consonant.

You, Your: YAN (vowel)

AN (consonant)

He/ She: D (vowel)

G (consonant.)

WE (exclusive): YAANG (V)


WE(inclusive): YANG (V)



EG (C)






Aaniin Ezhinikaazoyan? How are you called

Aandi Wenjibaayan? Where are you from

Aaniin ezhichigeyan? What are you doing

Aaniin ezhi-ayaayan? How are You

Aandi ezhaayan? Where are you going

Gibakade na? are you hungry

Aaniin ezhiwebak aqwajiing? Whats going on outside

Gidayaa na omaa? are you in a place here

Additional Reading

 Ojibwe People
 Chippewa Indians
 Chippewa Legends
 Chippewa History
 Minnesota Indian Reservations

Sponsored Links

Return to our main Amerind site
Read our article submission guidelines

Native Languages

Alaska language * Haida Gwaii * Quapaw * Cherokee county * Black-Cat

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?