Some simple phrases

Bodewadmi Gigdowen

Negekshkan                            ear wax

Wnegekshkan                         his/her ear wax

Wne gekshkanwa                    their ear wax

Negagset                                 sole of either shoe or foot

also the iron covering on              wagon wheels or sleighs

Negagsaten                             plural

Negagsetwan                          their soles

Doden                                     heel

Ndoden                                   my heel or could mean; ask for something

Gdoden                                   your heel

Bmekwe                                  someone’s tracks

Ngi na gjege                           I trailed something/not specific

Nginagna                                I trailed him/her or an animal/specific

Wdeonagnan                           he is going to trail him

                                                animate (deer?) present tense

Wgi onagnan                           he trailed him—past tense

Nabtoan                                  I trail him                                       

Ndegwdekto                            I told him/her

Zet                                           foot

Zetesen                                    toes or little feet

Zeten                                       feet

Zetes                                       little foot/small foot

Negagset                                 sole

Zheton                                     make

Gipdon                                    chapped lips

Gipnoye                                  chapped cheek (s)

Noye                                       cheek (s)

Kibdon                                    mute (unable to speak)

Gegibtok                                 one who is mute

Mine kwe gego                       if it isn’t one thing it’s another

Ginkwetak ne                          did he/she measure you?

                                                also; did he/she argue with you?

Ngi nkwe twa                          I answered him/her

                                                or; I argued with him/her

Ngi nkwe twak                        I answered them or I argued with them

Ngi batama                             I reported them/on them

We ni je ga mej wa bne gyen who woke you up?

                                                who shook you awake?

Ngi mje doki she na                I just woke up

                                                without the alarm clock or being


Ne sha shna mba bi mskwe gé        h/s is about to spin around

Mej we ben o ksese i she gaga ewi wisniy go                go get your brother we are going to eat soon

Mej we ben o ksese i she mami ewi wi sney go     ditto

Gi bse gwi gben ma o                     I helped raise h/h up

Kwe tan na pa gi wse dek               they surely went about hunting

Nin nde ben ma o                            I own h/h

Nin nde ben dan i                            I own that/it

Nin ma nde ben ma o                      I am the one who owns h/h

Nin ma i nde be ndan                      I am the one who owns that/it

Nin se nde ket                                 I said it/I said so

Nin ma nde ket                               I am the one who said it

Bye don i gde nen                           Bring it I told you

Bye don i gde nen ma                     I am the one who told you to bring it

Ke wi dmowen                                I shall tell you

Nin se nde ket                                 I say so

Nin ma nde ket                               I am the one saying this

Nin se gwi dmon                             I am telling you

Nin ma gwi dmon                           I am the one telling you

Bo niken i gdenen                   I told you to leave that alone!                

Bo niken i gde nen ma            I told you all to leave that alone!

Jo wi nin nde bwet sin i          not me, I don’t believe it

Jo ma nin nde bwe tsin i         no, myself, I don’t believe it

Gego gi kshe dso ken              don’t cut yourself

Gego ke gshe des                    don’t, you’ll cut yourself (axe)

Ngi pje kwne des                    I cut myself accidently carving

Ngi pje gna ma                       I hit him accidently

Ngi pje gna ndes                     I hit myself accidently

Ngi pje gwap an                      I ladled it up accidently

Ngi pje ngwe                           I saw him but was mistaken

Ngi zam we bnan                    I spun it too far or

                                                I pushed it too far

Ndo zam shke ne                    I am too full

Zam aj mo                               he/she is saying too much

                                                not truthful

Zam bye                          he’s too drunk

Some body parts:

Tog                                  ear

Togen                              ears

Winsesen                        hair

Shki zhek                        eye

Shki zhgon                      eyes

Jash                                 nose

Ojash                               another nose

Don                                 mouth/lips

Damken                          chin

Shkiw en                         cover it up

Ngi shkiw an                   I covered it up

Ma ji gda zo                    he’s leaving mad/angry

                                        he’s mad so he’s leaving

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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