Ahau, gda nweshmon

Lesson 10:  Gda nwéshmomen – We should rest   

This lesson shall discuss other miscellaneous household activities

Wabnotakjegen gde wabdamenWe are looking at the TV
Wabnotakjegen gde kewabdamenWe are watching the TV
Wabnotakjegen gde kanabdamenWe are staring at the TV
Notakjegen gde bsedomenWe are listening to the radio
Msenegen nde nebyégé’anI am writing a letter
Msenegen nde wawidanI am reading a letter or a book
Msenaksegen nde kewabdamenWe- are watching a movie
Gda mbwach’ewémen nomekWe should visit a while
Byéwidbemshen émbwach’ewéygoCome sit by me and we will visit
Nishwabtek dbégasnen nwi wawjigéI will read for 20 minutes
Ni je wa zhewébek gojek wabek?What will it be like outdoors tomorrow? (weather)
Kewabdan ode wa je zhewébzewenWatch the news
Wi gméyamget wabekIt will rain tomorrow
Wi bonimget wabekIt will snow tomorrow
Wi ngwanket wabekIt will be cloudy tomorrow
Wi ksenyamget wabekIt will be cold tomorrow
Wi gshatémget wabekIt will be hot tomorrow
Ni je ga byédot o bébamodot?What did the mail carrier bring?
Gégo ne byédot o bebamodojgét?Did the mail carrier bring anything?
Mkekwen gi byédot o bébamodotThe mail carrier brought this box
Gda bodwanashenYou should make a fire for me
Byéwidbemshen jig-shkwewdéCome sit with me by the fire
Gojek gda o chikasomY’all should go play outside
Wawatesiyek nde wabmamen épabmiséwatWe see fireflies flying about
Negosek nde kanabmakI am staring at the stars (star gazing)
Skonozhechkéwen ngi gizhtonI finished my homework

Here is miscellaneous vocabulary to go with our miscellaneous activities

NounsVerbsOther wordsParticles
Wabnotakjegen – tv, device that makes noise that you look atWabdan – see/look at somethingNomek – for a whileGde – you or we are doing something, check verb ending
Notakjegen – Radio, device that makes noise, can be a speaker or cd playerKewabdan – watch somethingNishwabtek – 20Gda – you or we should do something, check verb ending
Msenegen – paper, book, letter, bill, magazine, etc.Kanabdan – stare at something, study itGojek – outdoorsNwi – I or we will do something, check verb ending
Msenaksegen – movie, moving picture, tv show, videoBsedon – listen to somethingWabek – tomorrowNi je – combination asking who or what
Dbégasen – minuteNebyégé – to writeOde – thisWa je – future purpose or direction
Zhewébzewen – news, happeningsWawidan – read somethingGégo – somethingWi – something will happen in the future
Bébamodot – mail carrier, delivery personMbwach’ewé – visitO – “that” if it’s animate, go do something if in front of a verbGa – past purpose or direction
Bébamodojgét – mail carrier, delivery personByéwidbemshen – come sit by me Jig – by, near, next to
Mkekwen – boxWawijgé – to read Ngi – I or we did something in the past, check verb ending
Shkwewdé – fireZhewébek – to happen, an inanimate form  
Wawatesiyek – firefliesZhewébze – to be a certain way, personal happenings, an animate form  
Negosek – starsGméyamget – it is raining  
Skonozhechkéwen – homeworkBonimget  – it is snowing  
 Ngwankwet – it is cloudy  
 Ksenyamget – it is cold  
 Gshatémget – it is hot  
 Byédot – bring something  
 Bodwana – make a fire for someone  
 Chikaso – play  
 Kanabma – stare at someone  
 Gizhton – finish something  

Let’s take a closer look at these phrases:

  1.  Modern day events are difficult to describe in an ancient language, but it can be done. 
    1. A radio is a device that makes noise, so notakjegen
    1. A TV is a device that makes noise that we watch, so wabnotakjegen
    1. Skonozhechkéwen does not literally mean homework, it refers to “school doings.”  Whatever was assigned at school that needs doing.
    1. A mail carrier or delivery person is someone who walks around carrying a load.  Hence Bébamodot or Bébamodojegét.
    1. Msén is wood.  We make paper from wood.  Msenegen is pretty much anything made from paper, including books, bills, letters, paper, magazines, newspaper, etc.  We can get specific if we want, for example, Gizo-msenegen would be a calendar, or a “moon-paper.”  But we don’t have to.
    1. Msenatsegen is a moving picture.  Pulling from the books and the pictures, all on paper, now brought to life on the screen, it’s a moving story on screen.  As it has evolved, it can now refer to a video in any form.
  2. The “seeing” verbs can be in animate or inanimate form, depending on what you see.  Wabma is seeing someone, Wabdan is seeing something.  Kewabma is watching someone, Kewabdan is watching something.  Kanabma is staring at or studying someone, Kanabdan is staring at or studying something. 
  3. Zhewébze and Zhewébek are idiomatic verbs.  They refer to things that are happening. 

Zhewébze and Zhewébek

Gmnozhewébes ne?Is it going well for you?
Éhé mnozhewébesYes I’m doing well             
Ngi mnozhewébzemen shote ngomIt went well for us here today
Gi mjezhewébes ngomIt went badly for me today
Ni je ézhwébziyen?What’s the matter with you?
Ni je ézhwébzet o?What’s the matter with him/her?
Ni je ga zhewébek?What happened?
Ni je wa zhewébek?What will happen?
Ni je ézhwébek?What is happening?
I yé i ga zhewébekThat’s what happened
I yé i wa zhewébekThat’s what will happen
I yé i ézhwébekThat’s what’s happening
Ni pi je ga zhewébek?Where did it happen?
Ni je pi ga zhewébek?When did it happen?

Wabdan, Wabma and Wabmek

Potawatomi verbs do not function the same way English verbs do, and sentences in Potawatomi are not formed the same way they are in English.  Instead of using the order of the words to show who is doing what, we use the verb itself. 

Msenegen nwabdanI see a paper
Mko nwabmaI see a bear
Mko nwabmekA bear sees me
Msenegen nde kewabdanI am watching a paper
Mko nde kewabmaI am watching a bear
Mko nde kewabmekA bear is watching me
Msenegen nde kanabdanI am staring at/studying a paper
Mko nde kanabmaI am staring at/studying a bear
Mko nde kanabmekA bear is staring at/studying me
Msenegen nde dbabdanI am checking on a paper
Mko nde dbabmaI am checking on a bear
Mko nde dbabmekA bear is checking on me
Tetagen nnodanI hear a bell
Mko nnodwaI hear a bear
Mko nnodwekA bear hears me
Tetagen nde bsedonI am listening to a bell
Mko nde bsedwaI am listening to a bear
Mko nde bsedwekA bear is listening to me


Shema (feed someone) and Shemgo (be fed) are similar to Wabma and Wabmek.  Try using them in phrases and sentences. 

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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