Enrich your Bodewadmi knowledge

Zhewébze and Zhewébek

Zhewébze and Zhewébek are animate/inanimate counterparts that are highlyidiomatic.  Idiomatic means they are difficult to translate into English, for their meanings are culturally specific.  Roughly speaking, Zhewé means “to happen.”

MNO is a prefix meaning “good” or “well”.  It only has this meaning when attached to a word – it cannot stand alone! 

            Mno zhewébze                        To go well, happen in a good way

            Mno bmadze                           To have good life/health

            gMno bmades ne?                  Are you living well?  Are you healthy?

            gMno zhewébes ne?               Are things going well for you?

            Ni je ézhwébziyen?                  What’s the matter with you?

            Ni je ézhwébziyék?                  What’s the matter with you all?

            Ni je ézhewébek shote?          What’s happening here?

            Ni je gaw je zhewébek?           What happened?

            Ni je wa je zhewébek?             What will happen?

            I yé i ézhewébek                      That’s what’s happening

            I yé i gaw zhewébek                That’s what happened

            I yé i wa je zhewébek              That’s what will happen

            Ggi mno zhewébes ne ibe?                 Did it go well for you over there?

            I yé i égi zhewébzet o              That’s what happened to him/her

            Ni pi je gaw je zhewébek i ?                Where did that happen?

            Ni je pi gaw je zhewébek i ?                When did that happen?

            Hau, nMno zhewébes             Oh, it’s going well for me

            Hau, nMno bmades                            Oh, I’m in good health

            Gégo wdemaken éwi mno zhewébziyen éwi mno bmadziyen

                  Don’t smoke so it will go well for you and you will be healthy


Mbe bamse                                                     I am walking around.

Pa msewak                                                      he/she is walking around.

Gbe bamse                                                      you are walking around.

Pa msewek                                                      they are walking around.

Wi pamse                                                        he/she is going for a walk.

Nwi pamse                                                      I am going for a walk.

Nwi pamsemen                                               we are going for a walk/exlc.

Gwi pamsemen                                               we are going for a walk/incl.

Ke pamsemen                                                 let us go for a walk.

Bebamset                                                        one who walks/sing.

Bebamsejek                                                    those that walk–also all the/plural.

Bmose or bmosewak                                       walking or walking by

Bmosek                                                           walking or walking by/plural

Egi shke wepset                                               when h/s first started walking.

Ni je pi ga ne wepset                                       when did h/s start out walking?

Ni je pi wa ne wepseyen                                 when are you going to start out walking?


Ggi boston ne?                                    Did you load it ? (Mail it?)

Wgi boston ne?                                   Did he/she load it? (Mail it?)

Wgi boston a we ne?                          Did they Load it? (Mail it?)

Gi bosjegadé ne?                                 Was it loaded? (Mailed?)

Gi bos we bnegadé ne?                       Was it thrown on? (Loaded?)

Gi boswa bna na wa ne?                     Did you guys throw it on? (Load it?)

Gi bose ne?                                         Did he get on? (Vehicle)

Gwi bos ne?                                        Do you want to get on? ( A vehicle)

Bosen                                                  Get in (A vehicle)

Gi boswek ne?                                     Did they get on? (A vehicle)

Ggi bose ne?                                       Did you give him a ride?

Ggi bos aye ne?                                   Was he given a ride?

Gi bos eywik ne?                                 Where they given a ride?

Gwi bos ego men ne?                         Are we getting a ride?

Ggi bos ne?                                         Did you ride?

Ne mbo se                                           He’s going the other direction

Bi jbose                                                He’s coming this way

Inside and Outside

Zagech                                    Outside

Bidek                                       Inside

Bidgé                                       To Enter (go inside)

Zagjesé                                    To Exit (go outside)

Bidgedon                                 bring it or take it inside

Bidgedon I                               bring it or take it inside (sing.)

Bidgedon ni                             bring those or take those inside (pl.)

Bidgebton                                run inside

Bidgebowen                            run inside (from something) (sing.)

Mbidgebowemen                    we’re running inside (from s.t.) (pl.)

Bidgebewek                            you guys run inside

Zagdowton                              take it outside

Zagjowton I                             take that outside  (sing.)

Zagjowton ni                           take those outside (pl.)

Zagjebowen                            run outside (from s.t.) (sing.)

Nzagjebowemen                     we’re running outside (from s.t.) (pl.)

Zagjepton                                run outside  (from s.t?)

Zagjebowek                             you guys run outside (from s.t?)

Zagjeptok                                you guys run outside (from s.t.) (pl.)

Bidgewdon ni msen                haul the firewood in

Bidgensén                               haul the firewood inside

Bidgenesh                               let h/h in

Bidgeyawnedwek                    they are marching inside

Bidgeyawnedek                       you guys file inside

Zagjowdon                              take it outside

Zagdenesh                               let h/h out

Zagdawnedwik                        they are filing out

Zagdawnedek                          you guys file out

Bidgenashko                            chase h/h inside

Bidgenashko gi                        chase them inside

Zagdenashko                           chase h/h out

Zagdenashko gi                       chase them out

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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