On word order and a negative conversation using wabma and wabdan….

On word order

Msén wgi-dgenanen o kwé

Wgi-dgenanen o kwé msén

Wgi-dgenanen msén o kwé

Msén o kwé wgi-dgenanen

O kwé msén wgi-dgenanen

O kwé wgi-dgenanen msén

Ngi wabma o mko wnago

O mko ngi wabma wnago

Wnago ngi wabma o mko

Wnago o mko ngi wabma

O mko wnago ngi wabma

Ngi wabma wnago o mko

Ngi baskswa o seksi ngom

O seksi ngi baskswa ngom

Ngom ngi baskswa o seksi

Ngom o seksi ngi baskswa

O seksi ngom ngi baskswa

Ngi baskswa ngom o seksi

Nwi bagjige bnoch I bkwakwet

I bkwakwet bnoch nwi bagjige

Bnoch nwi bagjige I bkwakwet

Nwi bagjige I bkwakwet bnoch

Bnoch I bkwakwet nwi bagjige

I bkwakwet nwi bagjige bnoch


A:  Njeshek ne gi bya?                                         Did you just arrive?

B:  Cho, zagech ngi nibwe égi wdeméyan           No, I was standing outside smoking

A:  Hau, Gi wabma ne o Mani zagech ?              Oh, did you see Mani outside ?

B :  Cho weye ngi wabmasi zagech                      I didn’t see anyone outside

A:  Hau? Cho ne gi wabmasi o Mani?                 Oh?  Didn’t you see Mani?

B: Cho she Mani ngi wabmasi, cho she weye ngi wabmasi zagech 

                             No, I really didn’t see Mani, I really didn’t see anyone outside

A:  Hau? Ni pi je o Mani?                                   Oh, where is Mani ?

Mani :  Hau, bozho                                             Oh, helllo

B :  Hau, gin negwne.                                           Oh, so it’s you

A :  Cho zagech ne gi zhyasi ?                              Didn’t you go outside ?

Mani :  Cho zagech ngi zhyasi.  Ngi sakem.               No, I didn’t go outside.  I went to the bathroom.

A: Gi yapjemaji o Mani ngi shedé’a gé nin         I thought that Mary had left for good/implication here is to run off.

Mani: Cho gi yapje maji si ngoji weye                No I didn’t run off anywhere.

Mani: Zamjesh éshede’ayék ginwa ézhechkéyan shna

You people are thinking way too much of what I do.                               

Folks: translate the following phrases from Bodéwadmi to English with the following attached glossary.


Ni pi je éshya yen ngom?

Gwi wabdan ne i ézhechkéwat ibe kcheodan ?

Manédon ni wigwamnen wa je wzhegét o kchemokman.

Géchwa she pené  éwzhegéwat ibe édneswat gi wkchemokmanek.

Ngi wabdan pené she ézhechkéwat jag ébmadsiwyan.

Gin je ? Wgi wabdan ne i gé gin ?

Watiya. Nkche mamkaz ézhechkéwat gé winwa…. 

Gin je ? Ni je énendemyen i ?

Glossary for Wabdan Section

Gé                        Too – prefix

Gé-gin                  you too

Gé-winwa            Them too

Géchwa                It’s as if – idiom

Gi                         Those – animate not-close plural demonstrative

Gin                       You – singular pronoun

Gin je                   And you?

Gwi                      You future – future tense marker

I                           That – inanimate not-close singular demonstrative

Ibe                        There – a place adverb

Jag                       All

Jag ébmadsiwyan –  All my life – idiom

Je                         adversative

Gin je?                 And you?

Kchemamkaz      VTA – To be really surprised, shocked, amazed

          Nkche mamkaz             I am really surprised, shocked, amazed

Kchemokman      White man, American – noun animate

Wmigkchemokmanek – Strange white people – noun animate plural

Kcheodan            City – noun inanimate

Mamkaz              VTA – To be surprised, shocked, amazed

Nkche mamkaz              I am really surprised, shocked, amazed

Manédon             Mané – an adverb used as a verb – inanimate plural

Ndenes                 To hang about a place

Édneswat             They hang around – conjunct form

Ne                        an interrogative

Ngi                       I did – past tense marker

Ngom                   Now/Today – a time adverb

Ni                         Those – inanimate not-close plural demonstrative

Ni je                     What – an interrogative

Ni pi je                 Where – an interrogative

O                          That/him/her/who – animate not-close singular demonstrative

Pené                     Always – a time adverb

She                       Emphasizer

Shedé                   VAI  To think

Éshedéyen            You think – Conjunct form

Shya                    VAI   To go

Éshyayen             You go – Conjunct form

Wabdan              VTI   To see Something Inanimate

Wa je                   Future conjunct tense

Watiya                 Man’s expression of surprise

Wgi                      He/she did – past tense marker

Wigwamnen        Houses – noun inanimate

Winwa                 Them/They – pronoun

Wzhegé                VTI – To build something, to make something

Éwzhegéwat        They build something – conjunct form

Wzhegét               He/she builds something – conjunct form

Zhechké               VAI To do

Ézhechkéwat        They do – conjunct form

Kadek                  what something is known as

I ye I eshnekadek

Oshkanseng zibe esnekadek I gchezibe

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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