Little words that need good use

Yé and Té

Yé and Té indicate location.  Yé is used for people, and té is used for things. 

Ni pi je éyéyen?                                               Where are you?

Shote se éyéyan                                              I’m right here

Mégwa  éyéyan                                               I’m still here

Mbagnek éyéyan                                             I’m in bed

Ni pi je éyé’et o nene?                                    Where is the man?

Shkwadémek éyéyet o nene                           The man is at the door

Ni pi je étémget i kwabegas?                          Where is the cup?

Dopwenek étémget i kwabegas                     The cup is on the table

Ni pi je éték i kwabegas?                                Where is the cup?

Dopwenek éték i kwabegas                            The cup is on the table

Ni pi je étémgedénon ni mkesnen?                Where are the shoes?

Shkwadémek étémgedénon ni mkesnen        The shoes are by the door.

I ye i/I ye o

Wéni je égi bidgét?                                   Who came in ?

I yé o égi bidget                                        That’s who came in.

Ni je ga zhewébek?                                   What happened?

I yé i ga zhewébek                                     That’s what happened.

Ni je wa zhewébek?                                  What will happen?

I yé i wa zhewébek                                    That’s what will happen

Ni je éshnekadék?                                     What is it called?

I yé i éshnekadék                                       That’s what it’s called.

Wéni je énégmot?                                     Who is singing?

I yé o énégmot                                          That’s who is singing

Wéni je égi bmosét shote?                       Who was walking here?

I yé o égi bmosét shote                             That’s who was walking here

Wéni je gwi widmo o?                              What will you tell him?

I yé i éwi widmoyan                                  That’s what I’ll tell him

Ni je épandewébneyen?                            What are you looking for?

I yé i épandewébneyan                             That’s what I’m looking for

Wéni je gi wisnet i?                                   Who ate that?

I yé o égi wisnet I                                      That’s who ate it

Ni je ga wje wisneyen?                              What did you eat?

I yé i égi wisneyan.                                    That’s what I ate

Wéni je o égi pambetot shote?                 Who was running here?

I yé o égi pambetot                                   That’s who was running

Wéni je éyayénot?                                    Who is laughing?

I yé o éyayenot                                          That’s who is laughing

Wégni je éyayénot o?                               What is he/she laughing at?

I yé i éyayénot o                                        That’s what he/she is laughing at

Ni je émnekwéyen?                                   What are you drinking?

I yé i émnekwéyan                                    That’s what I’m drinking

Ni je éwjandayen?                                     What are you cooking?

I yé i éwjandayan                                      That’s what I’m cooking

Ni je éwdeméyen?                                    What are you smoking?

I yé i éwdeméyan                                      That’s what I’m smoking

Ni je énimédit?                                          Who is dancing?

I yé o énimédit                                          That’s who is dancing

Ni je égasknezoyen?                                  What are you whispering?

I yé i égasknezoyan                                   That’s what I’m whispering

I yé i ne gbiskewagen?                              Is that your coat?

I yé i nbiskewagen                                     That’s my coat

I yé i ne gdabyan?                                     Is that your car?

I yé i ndabyan                                            That’s my car

I yé i ne wdo dabyanen                             Is that his/her car?

I yé i wdo dabyanen                                  That’s his/her car

Wégni je gaktoyen?                                  What did you say?

I yé i gaktoyan                                           That’s what I said

Wégni je gaktot o?                                    What did he/she say?

I yé i gaktot o                                            That’s what he/she said

Wégni je gaktowat géwinwa?                   What did they say?

I yé i gaktowat                                           That’s what they said

Wégni je édapnayen?                               What are you picking up?

I yé i édapnayan                                        That’s what I’m picking up

Wégni je ga wje zhechkéyen wnago?       What did you do yesterday?

I yé i ga wje zhechkéyan wnago                That’s what I did yesterday

Wéni je ga wje wabmayen wnago?          Who did you see yesterday?

I yé o ga wje wabmayan wnago                That’s who I saw yesterday?

Wégni je gwi byédoshen?                         What did you bring me?

I yé i égi byédoyan                                    That’s what I brought

Wéni je édémenkét?                                 Who is picking strawberries?

I yé o édémenkét                                      That’s who is picking strawberries

Wéni je égdemojgét?                                Who is fishing?

I yé o égdemojgét                                     That’s who is fishing


Gégo has more than one meaning.  The most common use is as a “Prohibitive.”


Gégo i zhechkéken                  Don’t do that

Gégo bmeptoken                    Don’t run

Gégo majiken                          Don’t leave

Gégo moken                            Don’t cry

Gégo does not always mean “Don’t.”

Cho gégo ngi zhechkési                       I didn’t do anything

Cho gégo ngi wzhetosimen                 We didn’t make anything

Cho gégo ngi nodasimen                    We didn’t hear anything

Cho gégo ngi wabdesin                       I didn’t see anything

Note – Gégo usually refers to something inanimate.  If you want to say I didn’t see anyone, it would be Cho weye ngi wabmasi.

Cho she gégo ngi wabdasin                I really didn’t see anything.

Cho gégo ngi wisnesin                        I didn’t eat anything

Cho she gégo ngi gishpnedosin          I really didn’t buy anything

Cho gégo nge kendasin                       I don’t know anything

Cho she gégo nge kendasin                I really don’t know anything

Jak gégo égi zhetot                              He/she made everything

Jak gégo ngi wisen                              I ate everything

Jak gégo ngi gishpnedosin                   I bought everything

Jak gégo ngi zhechkén                         I did everything

Jak gégo ngi wabdan                           I saw everything

Gégo shna égi zhechkét                      He/she did something

Gwi zhechkén gégo ne pkonyak         Are you doing something tonight?

Gégo ne gwi wisen?                            Are you going to eat something?

Épandewebneyan gégo                      I’m looking for something

Émikwéndemyan gégo                        I’m remembering something

Gégo ne ga kedyen?                            Did you say something?

Gégo ne émikwéndemyen?                Do you remember anything?

Gégo ne ga gishpnedoyen?                 Did you buy anything?

Gégo ne ggi zhechkén ode waben      Did you do anything this morning?

Ggi mkan ne gégo ibe égi zhyayen     Did you find anything there where you went?

Gégo ne gwi zhya ne wabek               Are you going somewhere tomorrow?

Gishpnedoshen gégo                          Buy me something

Gégo éwi gishpnedoyan gishpen nwi odanke

                        I will buy something if I go to town

Gego ne ggi dapnan ne ibe biskemgemek

            Did you pick anything up at the clothing store?

Author: neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

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