Bgeji Ode Bodewadmimwen

Ekenomageyak Jibamnek – Teaching Spirits

Understanding the various ways of speaking and writing the Potawatomi Language.

When one learns a new language like Potawatomi, as so many of you are learning today, it is important for you to become exposed to the many variants of writing and spelling this language.

This booklet will give you many new ways to introduce yourself and to introduce others, as well as giving you some helpful pointers to better carry on a conversation in Potawatomi. It gives you a look at the way other speakers approach the gentle art of conversation, from the Potawatomi persuasion.

Have fun experimenting with your language and learning new ways to express yourself as you speak to others in the coming days of your language learning experience.

Compiled and edited by Donald A. Perrot aka Neaseno 

Table of Contents

Ekenomageyak Jibamnek – Teaching Spirits. 1

Bkan dwe ode kedwenen wa je kedot weye eyajmot 3

Upon Meeting Someone/Somebody. 4

Émnokmek. 9

Bodéwadmi Deshemwen. 10

Some simple commands: 11

Some questions: 12

Clans. 16

Where do you live?. 19

Introducing Someone: 22

Vocabulary: 29

Variants on Orthography. 36

Classroom Commands. 47

Megwa ode kedwenen. 53


Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over Windows versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs. -Jack Lynch, English professor, author (b. 1967)

Bkan dwe ode kedwenen wa je kedot weye eyajmot

Ni je na ode wewene gishek

Hau mno wi she anwe ebmadziyan, migwej enajdoyen

Gin je, mno she bmades ne ngom

Hau kyet nam she mno gishget ngom

Wewene enozhegenenan se eyawyak

Manek ne gode neshnabek ga wje byewat shote

Anake gode bemadsejek ebyembetowat ebsendagewat

Wegwendek ekedwat shote ngom

Gkendan ne wa je kedwat gode gdogmamnajek

Énkwéshmo’ayen Weye

        Upon Meeting Someone/Somebody

Bo zho                                                       hello/a greeting

Some queries after the initial greeting:

Ni je na                                            how are you?

Neshnabé ne gdaw                          are you Indian?

Bodéwadmi ne gdaw                      are you Potawatomi?

Ni je ésh ne kas yen                       what is your name?

Ni pi je wéj bya yen                       where are you from?

Ni je énwéyen                                 what’s your tribe?

A possible answer you might get:

_______________ shkwon genek ndoj bya

          I come from the ________________________ reservation.

Some more queries:

Ni je épichiyak ne i gshkwongenek

          How far is it to your reservation?

Manék gi neshnabék ne ibe gdoj bya yen

          Are there a lot of Indians where you’re from?

Gde wichewé ne                    are you married?

Gdo nijanes ne                      do you have children?

Éhé ndo nijanes                     yes, I have children.

Jo wi nde nijansesi                no, I don’t have children.

Gdo nosemesek ne                do you have grandchildren?

Ehe ndo nosemesek              yes, I have grandchildren.

Jo wi nde nosemesesi            no, I don’t have gchildren.

Jo mshe nde nosemesi          no, not yet!

Ni je étsowat gi gnijansek

          How many are there, your kids?

Some more answers:

Nizh yawik.  Ngot kwézés mine ngot gigabés.

          There are two.  One little girl and one little boy.

Nswéo yawik, ngot gigyagos mine nizh gigabések

          There are three.  One little girl and two little boys.

Some possible responses to initial queries:

Hau, bozho

___________________________ ndezh ne kas

Bodéwadmi ndaw

Ode shkongenek ndoj bya

          I come from this reservation.

Jigwé ndotém                                  I am thunder clan.

Ni je o gdotém                                What is your clan?

Neshnabémo ne                             

Hau, gda neshnabémen

Some more possible queries:

Gi bya ne éméndokasyen

          Did you come for ceremonies?

Gwi nimedi ne wa je zéksowat

          Are you going to dance when they have their doings?

Gwi nimedi ne wa je jingtemwat

          Are you going to dance when they pow-wow?

Gnegmo ne?

          Do you sing?

Gwi ggemo ne

          Are you going to sing?

Manék gode neshnabék énimediwat shote

          There are many these Indians that dance here.

Ode ngot mawjeshnowen mésham ngoji pi shote

          This is one of the biggest gatherings hereabouts.

Énchiwénmoyak i

          We’re proud of that!

Ode se nde kwéyom                      

This is my wife

Gode se nde penojéyek                          

These are my children

Ibe édayan                                      

I live over there

Ézhi ne                                                

Over there?

Ndo dabyan ndeto ne                    

Do you have a car?

Éhé dabyan ndeto

          Yes, I have a car.

Cho dabyan ndetosi

          No, I don’t have a car.

Mbusen nde shona gishpen éshyayan ngoji pi

          I go by bus if I go someplace.

Cho she dabyan ndetosi éwzgabyénma

          I really don’t have a car to drive.

Medagwéndan éyajmoyak nomek ngom

          I’m glad we could talk today for a while.

Ébgosénmeyan émedagwéndemyen gawje kigdoyak

          I hope you liked our talk.

Iw se she na ngom

          That’s all for today!

Ode se ndenim

          This is my husband.

Ni pi je ga ye yen wnago

          Where were you yesterday?

 Ni pi je enokiyen

          Where do you work?

Ni je etse edbegazyen ibe enokiyen

          How much are you paid there where you work?

Ngi nkweshmo’a o wenze kwe ngodek egi weshkgeyan

          I met a pretty lady once when I was a young man.

I ye o ga wje widgeyan

          That is whom I married.

Nyanok gi penojek etoyak, wenzik

          We have five children, they are good.

Wenet i widge’ewen

          Marriage is good

Memejek enkweshmoyen o wewene wijewagan

          Especially when you meet the right partner.

Émnokmek                                   It is spring!

Gaga she nibnek                             Soon it will be summer.

Gwi gtegé ne                                   Will you plant?

Gde gtegé ne                                   Do you plant?

Gde gteganké ne                             Do you garden?

Nwi gtegadan ni zawjisésen

          I’m gong to plant those carrots

Nwi gteganak gi shegagoshek

          I’m going to plant those onions

Gwi gteganan anet ne shegagoshek

          Are you going to plant some onions?

Ni je éshgowat gi shegagoshek

          How are they growing those onions?

Téya méshan i ggtegan

          Wow, your garden is big!

Gachnwadon i ngteganés

          My garden is small

Ma she na mjésh méndamnek éshegoyan

          But I grow a lot of corn!

Gin ne?                Do you?

Ahau, bama shkejimeyek gwi kigdomen mine……

Ok, later on we shall speak some again…….

Bodéwadmi Deshemwen

Potawatomi, the way we speak it

Bo zho                                             hello, a greeting




Nin (I)  Gin  (you)  Win  (he/she)

Bo zho (n)nikan                    hello my friend

Bo zho (n)nikanek                hello my friends

Ni je na                                   how are you

Ni je na gin                            how are you

Ni je na (n)nikan                   how are you my friend

Ni je na (n)nikanek               how are you my friends

Mno bmades                          I’m well

I she anwe                              I’m fine

Jo she mno ye’si                    I’m not well

Mno wi she anwe                  Oh, I’m doing well

                                                Oh, I’m fine

I je ye’ i e’mno bmadziyan  So it is that I am doing well

Get makes ma she na anwe e’bmadziyan

          Doing poorly, but still alive

Gin je                                      and you?

Gin je na gmno bmades ne

And you, are you well?

Some simple commands:

Nibwen                                   stand  (sing.)

Nibwek                                   stand  (pl.)

Bsetage’n                               listen

Bsetweshen                            listen to me

Bsetweshek                            listen to us

Bsetwe’ a o                            listen to him/her

Bset we’ a shek                     all of you listen

Kye’knotoshen                      repeat after me

Kye’knotoshek                      repeat after us

Nemetsena                              I don’t know

Win nato                                ask him/her

Dokem                                    quiet

Dokmeben                             sit quietly  (sing.)

Dokmebek                             sit quietly  (pl.)

Dadokmeben                         behave yourself

Dadokmebek                         behave yourselves

Jibdeben                                 sit down  (sing.)

Jibdebek                                 sit down  (pl.)

Kwiwe’bye’wimen                We are going to begin

Kwi kwe’n washmomen       We are going to take a break

Nomek kwi we’n wash momen

          A little while, we are going to rest

Nomek                                    a little while

Gaga                                       soon

Bwamshe                                before

I ye’ i                                      that’s it, that’s right

Wi ye’ i                                  that’s it, that’s right

Some questions:

Ni je e’she ne kasyen

What is your name/what are you called?

Ni pi je we’ch byayen

Where are you from?

Ni je o gdote’m

What is your clan?

Ni je e’neshnabe’ ne kasyen

What is your Indian name?

Ni pi je e’dayen

Where do you live?

Ni pi je e’ndebe’ndagziyen

Where are you enrolled?

Literally: where do you belong?

Ni je pi ne gi byayen

When did you arrive/come?

Neshnabe’ ne gdaw

Are you Indian?

Ni je e’niyen

What tribe/what kind?

Bode’wadmi ne gdaw

Are you Potawatomi?

Ni je e’neshnabe’ ne kasot o

What is that person’s Indian name?

Ni je e’neshnabe’ ne kasye’k

What are your Indian names?

Ni je e’neshnabe’ ne kaswat

What are their Indian names?

Ni je e’shne ka sot

What is her/his name?

Ni je e’shne kaswat

What are their names?

Some responses:

Nin  (I)  Gin  (you)  Win  (he/she)

______________ndesh ne kas

I am called/my name is

______________gdesh ne kas

you are called/your name is

______________shen ka na ye

he/she is called/his/her name is

______________shen kaso           same

______________shne kaso           same

______________nde shen kan gomen

We are called/our names are   (excl.)

______________nde shen kan gomen

we are called/our names are  (incl.)

______________gde shen kan gom

Ya all are called/ya all’s names are

______________shen ka na wik

They are called/their names are

Nin  (I)   Gin   (you)   Win  (he/she)

Ni je na gin wa                       how are ya all?

Ni je na ge win wa                how are they?

Ni je na o                               how is he/she?

Ni je na gde wenmagnek      how are your relatives?

Ni je na ggetsimnanek          how are your parents?

Ni je na ga zhikayen             how did you make out?

Ni je e’zhechkeyen               what are you doing?

Ni je e’zhechkeye’k              what are ya all doing?

Response: I am good/well/fine.

Nin                      nde mno bmades          I am g/w

Gin                      gde mno bmades          you are g/w

Win                     mno bmadse                 s/h is g/w

Ninan                  mno bmatsemen we are g/w

Ginan                  gmno bmatsemen         we are g/w

Ginwa                  gmno bmadsem  ya all are g/w

Winwa                 mno bmatsik                they are g/w




Mko/mkwa                            bear

Jigwe’k                                   thunder

Gigo                                       fish

Nanimwe’                               coyote

Moewe’                                  wolf

Mshike’                                  turtle

Bkoj bsheke                           buffalo

Kno                                         eagle




Mshiwe’                                 elk

Wawashkeshi                         deer


Wasi                                        bullhead/catfish

Nabe                                        man

mskwabiskeno                       red tailed hawk

Name’                                     sturgeon

Negdosha                               horse


What is your clan?

Gin                                we ni je (o) gdote’m

                                      What is your clan

Win                               we ni je (o) wdote’men

                                      What is h/h clan

Ninan                            we ni je (o) ndote’mnan  (excl.)

                                      What is our clan

Ginan                            we ni je (o) gdote’mnan  (incl.)

                                      What is our clan

Ginwa                           we ni je (o) gdote’mwa  (ya all)

                                      What is ya alls’ clan

Winwa                          we ni je (o) wdotemwan

                                      What is their clan

Some more on clan(s)

Nin                                _________ndote’m

                                      My clan is                             

Gin                                _________gdote’m

                                      Your clan is

Win                               _________wdote’men

                                      H/h clan is

Ninan                            _________ndote’mnan

                                      Our clan is  (excl.)

Ginan                            _________gdote’mnan

                                      Our clan is  (incl.)

Ginwa                           _________gdote’mwa

                                      Ya alls’ clan is

Winwa                          _________wdote’mwan

                                      Their clan is

Berries for clans:

De’men                         strawberry

Mskomen                      raspberry

Minen                           blueberry

Mkede’men                  blackberry

Where do you live?

Gin                                ni pi je e’je dayen

                                      Where do you live

Win                               ni pi je e’je dat

                                      Where does h/s live

Ninan                            ni pi je e’je ndaygo

                                      Where do we live  (excl.)

Ginan                            ni pi je e’je gdaygo

                                      Where do we live  (incl.)

Ginwa                           ni pi je e’je daye’k

                                      Where do ya all live

Winwa                          ni pi je e’je wda wat   

                                      Where do they live

I live in:

Nin                                __________nde da/e’dayan

                                      I live in

Gin                                __________gde da/e’dayen

                                      You live in

Win                               __________wdawat/e’dawat

                                      H/s lives in

Ninan                            __________nde damen

                                      We live in  (excl.)

Ginan                            __________gde damen

                                      We live in  (incl.)

Ginwa                           __________gde dam

                                      Ya all live in

Winwa                          __________wdawat/e’dawat

                                      They live in

Where are you from?

Gin                                ni pi je wech byayen

                                      Where are you from

Win                               ni pi wech byat o

                                      Where is h/s from

Ninan                            ni pi je wech byaygo

                                      Where are we from  (excl.)

Ginan                            ni pi je wech byaygo

                                      Where are we from  (incl.)

Ginwa                           ni pi je wech byaye’k

                                      Where are ya all from

Winwa                          ni pi je wech byawat

                                      Where are they from

I am from:

Nin                                ________ndochbya

                                      I am from

Gin                                ________gdochbya

                                      You are from

Win                               ________wje bye’wak

                                      H/s is from

Ninan                            ________ndoch byamen

                                      We are from  (excl.)

Ginan                            ________gdoch byamen

                                      We are from  (incl.)

Ginwa                           ________gdoch byam

                                      Ya all are from

Winwa                          ________wje bye’k

                                      They are from

Introducing Someone:

Njo, byan shote byénkwéshkew Bob.

Joe, come here and meet Bob.

Bozho, Bob, ni je na?

Hello Bob how are you?

Bozho, Iw she anwe, gin je

Hello, just fine, and you?

Iw she anwe gé nin.

I’m fine too.

Variations on basic greetings.


Hey, calls to get attention.

Wa, gin negwne.

Well, so it’s you!

Ni je ézh bmadziyen?

How are you getting along?

Iw she na ayapen, gin je?

Just the same, and you?

Nmeno bmades.

I feel well.

Other answers.

Iw ayapen, or Iw she na ayapen.

Just the same.

Cho/kawin, nmeno yési.

I’m not doing too well.

Nmeno bmades.

I feel well, I’m getting along.

Hau, ngetmakes she anwe.

Oh, I’m poor but I’m living/alive.

Cho, shna apje kwéch.

I’m not real well.

Mji’ na anwe(k).

A little better, I guess.

Iw she anwe.

Just fine.

Will/want to.

Ngiwé                           I’m going home.

Ni je wi?                       Why?

Nwi giwsé                     I want to hunt/I will hunt.

Gge wijéwen                I’ll go with you.

Gwi wijéwe ne             Are you coming along?

                                      Are you going along?

Ni pi je                          Where?

Odanek                         To town.

Ahau, nge wijéwe        Okay, I’ll go along.

                                      Okay, I’ll come along.


Bidgé   (mbidgé)                   go in; enter.

Biskonyé (mbiskonyé)         get dressed.

Giwé (ngiwé)                          I will go home.

Giwsé (ngiwsé)                      I will hunt.

Wijéwe (nwijéwe)                 I will go along.

                                                I will come along.

The verb, Gge wijéwen, is a transitive form

and not based on, wijéwe, although it is related

to it.

Future tense prefixes:

Nmaji                            I am leaving/going.

Gmaji                            You are leaving/going.

(W)maji                        He/she is leaving/going.

*or ni maji.

A future tense prefix wi appears in front of the

main part or stem of the verb put after any personal prefix:

Personal prefix             Tense prefix       Stem

          N                                   wi               maji           nwi maji

          G                                   wi               maji           gwi maji

                                                Wi              maji           wi maji

The wi future often indicates intention, expectation, or desire about the action or event.  It can often be translated with want to as well as will. 

The combination nwi often contracts to ni.

Another future prefix ge used primarily with n and

g can be used when the action or event is not strongly intended, expected, or desired.

Nge maji                                I’ll leave/go.

Gge maji                                You’ll leave/go.

Future time words:

You can use wi or ge verbs to future words such as:

Bkonyak                                in the evening.

Gishnawkwék                        afternoon.

Nawkwék                               at noon.

Shkejiméyek                          a little while later.

Wabek                                    tomorrow.

Weswabek                              day after tomorrow.

Gishnawkwék nwi maji.

I’ll leave/go in the afternoon.

Wabek nge giwé.

I’ll go home tomorrow.

Bkonyak nwi giwsé.

I’ll hunt in the evening.

Word Order:

Although some words have fixed positions in Potawatomi sentences, many others may change positions.

Example:   Nwi giwé wabek          and

                   Wabek nwi giwé          are equivalent.

In general, the 1st word becomes the most emphasized one.


Gwi nim edi ne?

Éhé, nwi nim edi!

Asking after someone else:

Ni je na njim?                        How’s Jim?

Iw she anwe.                          He’s fine.

O, Igwien.                     *Oh, that’s good.

*The translation here fits the way this phrase is

used, but note you can also use the phrase after

someone thanks you.

Kche mikwech             or                O, Igwien.

Expansion of this conversation:

O, égi byayen                        Oh, you came.

Njezhek she ngi bya    I just got here.

Ni je na Mani?                      How is Mary?

Iw she anwe                           Just fine.

Njim je?                                 And Jim?

Iw she anwe géwin               He’s fine too.

Other Answers:

You can ask ni je ézhe bmadzet as well as ni je na about someone.

Here are some other ways to answer when asked about

someone else.

Note:           Many of them are the same as when you

                   answer for yourself.

Iw she anwe                           Just fine.

Iw she ne ayapen                   Just the same.

Cho mno yési                        He’s not well.

Cho she apje kwéch              Not real good.

Mji na anwek                         A little better, I guess.

Yaknogé                                 He’s sick.

Mno bmadze                          He’s feeling fine.

*It is commonly understood that when one refers to he, it could also be she, thus; it could be he/she.

To good responses, the questioner might say;  O, Igwien and to other responses; O, géte se, Oh, so!

Ni je éshe ne kas yen?

Your name                             ndesh ne kas.

Wi yé I                                   That’s it/that’s right.

Mine kedon                           say it again!

Gisha je gin                           you do it now. (sing.)

Gisha je ginwa                       you do it now. (pl.)

Wéni je gin                            how are you?

Nmeno yé                               I’m fine.

Cho nmeno yési                     I’m not so good.

Bama gge wabmen                I’ll see you later.

Ni je éshene kazot o              What’s his/her name?

Some name                            zhen kazo.


Byak or shote byak                        come here. (pl.)

Néyap zhyak                                   go back. (pl.)

Iw                                                     that’s it or stop.

Bzegwik                                           stand up.(pl.)

Jibdebwik                                        they are all sitting.

Jibdebek                                          sit down (pl.)

Bye’m skon wik                              turn around (pl.)

Gwash kswéok                                jump (pl.)

Bmosék                                            walk along  (pl.)

Bmebtok                                          run along. (pl.)

Nimetik                                            dance  (pl.)

Kewézi                                             old man

Mdemozé                                         old lady

Zésksi                                               teenage girl

Gigabé                                              teenage boy

Gigyago                                           girl

Gigabé                                              boy

Nene                                                 man

Kwé                                                  woman

Penojé                                              child

Penojés                                            baby

Gigabé ne ode yawe?

Is this a boy?

Éhé gigabé o yawe.

Yes, that is a boy.

Gigyago ne ode yawe?

Is this a girl?

Éhé gigyago o yawe.

Yes, that is a girl.

Gigabé ne gdaw?

Are you a boy?

Kewézi ne gdaw?

Are you an old man?

Cho, kwé o yawe. (Kwé yaw) (Kwé ndaw)

Cho mdemozé o yawe. (Mdemopi yaw) (Mdemopi ndaw)      

Wéni je ode?                                   Who is this?

Name of someone                          o yawe.

Ni je éktoyen?

What are you saying?

Ni je nda kedyen i radio?

What would you call a radio?

How would you say radio?

Widmo o zésksi éwi biskon wet.

Tell that girl to put some clothes on.

Ahau, bzegwin, éwi mikjéwiyen.

Oh, get up so you can work.

Neshnabé ne gdaw?

Are you an Indian?

Bodéwadmi ne gdaw?

Are you Potawatomi?


                   The wise ones.

                   The wisdom keepers.

                   The old ones.

                   Those who know.

Nakéndemwajek gwi kigdowik.

The wise ones are going to speak.

Zagech ne gwi zhya?

Are you going outside?

Énédwéndayan éwi deméyan/ndema.

I want to take a smoke.

Nétwéndan i?

Do you want that?

Nétwéndan ne ode?

Do you want this?

Nin ma ode gokbenaken.

This is my basket.

Nin ma ode dabyan.

This is my car.

Nin ma ode msenakseken.

This is my picture.

Nin ma ode msenakaken.

This is my poster.

Nin ma shows ownership.


A                ah  as in father

É                 eh  as in bet

I                  ee  as in peel

O                oh  as in bowl

E                 uh  as in put

Noég meshomsenanek          Seven Grandfathers’

Éwetodének; Bwakawen                                   wisdom

Kechitwawénindowen; Wdentanmowen         respect

Débwéwen                                                          truth

Édbeséndowen                                                   humility

Zagidowen; Debanawen                                    love

Gwékwadzewen                                                  honesty

Shiwéndowen; Wédaséwen                               bravery

Medagwéndowen                            something liked

Medagwéndeman                            I like something

Mnopkot                                          tastes good

Shkwéyak                                        turn around

Néyap                                               go again/do it again

Mégwa                                              again/more

Naké                                                  and, but, or, etc.

Mine                                                 and

Ngot                                                 one

Nish                                                  two

Nswé                                                three

Nyéw                                                four

Nyannen                                           five

Ngotwatso                                        six

Noég                                                 seven

Shwatso                                            eight

Zhak                                                  nine

Mdatso                                             ten   

Ponok                                               winter

Ngot pon                                          1 year

Ngot kises                                        1 month

Ngot neméwgishek                         1 week

Nish neméwgishek                          2 weeks

Nso neméwgishek                           3 weeks

Ngom                                               today

Njezhek                                            just now

Nomye                                              awhile ago

Wabek                                              tomorrow

Wnago                                              yesterday

Wesnago                                          day before yesterday

Zhéba                                               early this morning

Dbekok                                            last night

Weswabek                                        day after tomorrow

Ngotgishget                                      first day/Monday

Nishgishget                                      second day/Tuesday

Nsogishget                                       third day/Wednesday

Nyéwgishget                                    fourth day/Thursday

Nyannogishget                                 fifth day/Friday

Ngotwatsogishget                            sixth day/Saturday

Noéggishget                                     seventh day/Sunday

Nemé’gishget                                   prayer day

abtogishget                                       half week day (Wednesday)

Odankégishget                                 town day (Saturday)

Manigishget                                     Mary’s day/confessional day (Sat.)

Gishek                                              heavens/sky

Kijik                                                  above the horizon

Jik                                                     the horizon

Dbekises                                           moon

Kises                                                 sun

Negos                                               star

Negosek                                           stars

Ankod                                              cloud

Ankwedon                                        clouds

Jigwé                                                 thunder

Jigwék                                              thunders

Wawasmok                                      lightening

Ni je éshena ka don ode?

How would you say this?

How would you call this?

Tédbesé nda shena kaden i.

I would call that a wheel.

Wégni je wa kedyen gishpen éwi maji yen?

What would you say if you are going to leave?

Hau, bama pi mine kewabmen.

Oh, until another time I shall see you.  Until I see you again.

Iw kshe zhe anwe égi widmoyak wa je kéndemyan bgéji.

Now I have told you a little of what I know.

Bama pi mine gwi kigdomen ngoji,

Until another time when we shall speak again somewhere.

Variants on Orthography

Folks: Following you shall find another way of writing the Potawatomi language. It is often referred to as the old Potawatomi style of writing. It is important you find and see other/all ways of writing this language.

The word for “no” is “TTHO” and also “TTHO WI.”  Remember, the CH/J sound is written as TTH.  So the pronunciation for “TTHO” is joe.  Likewise, “TTHO WI”.

Another word used in the negative sense is “KE GO.”  Basically it means “don’t.”  it means “stop what you are doing immediately.”

Now we’ll use these words in response to some of the phrases that we just learned.

REMEMBER:     A-ah          as in father

          E-eh        as in letter                    

          I-ee            as in peel            

          O-oh       as in bowl


Gbe ktem ne?                                  Eh hengh.

Are you people hungry?                Yes.

Gbe ktem ne?                                  Ttho wi, ngi gish wi sne men.

Are you people hungry?                No, we have eaten alredy.

Ki wi sen ne?                                  Ttho, shna gi wi sne si.

Have you eaten already?                No, I have not eaten yet.

Gwi wi sen ne?                     Ttho, ngi gish wi sen.

Do you want to eat?              No, I have eaten already.

Wi se nen!                             Ah how, ma no nge wi sen.

Eat!                                         O.K., I’ll eat anyway.

Script of a possible conversation.

A simple conversation:

Hello                                                1st Person: Hau, Bo sho

How are you feeling                       Ni je na gin, mno bmades ne

Hello, I am fine                               2nd Person: Hau, I she an we, gin she

I am fine to                                      1st Person: I she an we ge nin

Where are you from                       1st Person: Ni pi je wech byayen

I am from Kansas                           2nd Person: Kansas ndoch bya

When did you come?                     1st Person: Ni jo pi ne gi bya yen

I got here day before yesterday     2nd Person: Wesnago e’gi she bya                                                          yan

What is your name                         1st Person: Ni je e’shna kas yen

Luke warm water I am called        2nd Person: Yab wam mbish e’she                                                         ne kas yan

                                                          Or Yab wam mbish desh ne kas

What is your clan                           1st Person: Ni je gdo tem e’dben                                                            dag zi yen                    

                                                          or Gde ton ne o gdo tem

My clan is Thunder clan                2nd Person: Chi kwe Ndo tem de ben da gwes

I don’t have a clan                          1st Person: Cho she ndo tem de ben dag si

Will you walk with me &              1st Person: Ahau, wi jew shen e’ bmose yak

Maybe we can visit your relation shode no mek gishpen gwi wabdi yak o

or some other Indian                      den we mag nek, mine bkan ek neshnebek

Yes, I will walk with you or go    Ahau, da wi jew wen

with you that’s all

We will expand on the sentence a little further.

Bo sho ni tthe na?  Ni pi tthe wetth bya yen?

                                                                   Traditional Writing

Bo sho nee che na?  Nee pee che wetch bya yen?            Pronunciation

Hello, how is everything?  Where are you from?             Translation

The response you may get might go like this:

I she an we.  Hannahville ntotth bya.                                

                                                                   Traditional Writing

Ee zhe ahn we.  Hannahville ndotch bya.                          Pronunciation

Everything is o.k.  I come from Hannahville.                    Translation

The same sentences appear below without any explanation, so pay

Particular attention to vowels and method or writing.

Bo sho ni tthe na?  Ni pi tthe wetth bya yen?

I she an we.  Hannahville ntotth bya.

Literal translations of Indian sentences into English is usually not possible so you have to structure the English language around the Indian sentence to come up with a viable translation.

Now we will proceed and start using sentences that would be part of any dialogue that you might encounter on any given day.  You have already been introduced to some general phrases of greeting.

Gin je.        And you.             Iw zhe anwe ge nin.    I’m fine, too.

This lesson will cover phrases dealing with the word sit or sitting.

Remember the one vowel – one sound concept.

Sit or sit down.                     Tthi be de ben

(addressing one person)

Sit or sit down.                     Tthi be de bek

(addressing more than one person)

Do you want to sit down?            Kwi tthi be dep ne?

Do you all want to sit down?                Kwi tthi be de bem ne?

He/she is sitting down.                           Tthi be de be

They are sitting down.                            Tthi be de be wik                 

Let us sit down.                             Ke tthi be de be men

Were you sitting down?               Ki tthi be dep ne?

Were you all sitting down?          Ki tthi be de bem ne?

You will notice that all the question end with the syllable “NE”. This syllable is on the very end of a lot of sentences, as you will see as we go along.

The next set of phrases has to do with something very important to most Indian People.  It has to do with eat and eating.

Telling one person to eat.                        Wi se nen

Telling more than one person to eat.      Wi se nek

Food, groceries, etc.                                 Wi se ne wen

Have you eaten?                                       Ki wi sen ne?

Have you people eaten?                          Ki wi snem ne?

Do you want to eat?                                 Kwi wi sen ne?

Do you people want to eat?                    Kwi wi snem ne?

I have eaten already.                                Ngi kish wi sen

We have eaten already.                            Ngi kish wi sne men

He/She is done eating.                                       Gi kish wi sne

They are done eating.                               Gi kish wi sne wek

Have you eaten yet?  Or                          Gi kish wi sen ne?

Have you finished eating?

Have you people eaten yet or                 Gi kish wi snem ne?

Are you people finished eating?

I will eat.                                                   Nge wi sen.

We will eat.                                               Nge wi sne men.

Now we will review some of the sentences we have just learned dealing with sitting and eating.  Compare the use of the singular and plural syllables.  In these two instances they are the same.

Do you want to sit down?                       Kwi tthi be dep ne?

Do you all want to sit down?                  Kwi tthi be de bem ne?

Do you want to eat?                                 Kwi wi sen ne?

Do you all want to eat?                            Kwi wi snem ne?

Notice that at the beginning of sentences N signifies “I” and K signifies “You.” 

(The K is also written as G, depending on the sentence and the writer.)

Do you want to eat?                                 Kwi wi sen ne?

I have eaten already.                                Ngi kish wi sen


I means Nin                 ____

You means Gin            ____

Him/her means win     ____

Also notice in the first syllable the way in which future and past

tense is indicated.

Do you want to eat?                                 Kwi wi sen ne?

I will eat.                                                   Nge wi sen

I have eaten already.                                Ngi kish wi sen

Next we will go into phrases dealing with being hungry and not being hungry.

I am hungry.                                             Ne be kte

We are hungry.                                          Ne be kte men

Are you hungry?                                      Ge be kte ne?

Are you people hungry?                          Ge be ktem ne?

He/she is full.                                           De pse ni

I am full.                                                   Nde pe se ni

We are full.                                               Nde pe se ni men

Are you full?                                            Gde pse ni ne?

Are you people full?                                 Gde pse nim ne?

Now we will go into phrases using where and where at.

“WHERE?”        is       NI PI TTHE

Where are you going?                    Ni pi tthe e sha ya yen?

Where are you people going?       Ni pi tthe e sha ya yak?

Where do you come from?            Ni pi tthe wetth bya yen?

Where do you people come from?         Ni pi tthe wetth bya yak?

WETTH is pronounced wetch.

Where are he/she going?               Ni pi tthe e she yat?

Where are they going?                   Ni pi tthe e sha ya wat?

Where is it at?                                 Ni pi tthe e tthe tek?

Where did you put it?                    Ni pi tthe ga tthe to yen?

Where did you guys put it?           Ni pi tthe ga tthe to yek?

When asking about a specific object, I pronounced ee, is used after NI PI TTHE:

Where is the knife?                        Ni pi tthe I ko man?

The syllable ndo is used in a possessive manner indicating ownership as follows:

Where is my knife?                        Ni pi tthe I ndo kman?

Where is my stocking?                  Ni pi tthe I ndo ke me das?

Where is my pet? (usually a cat)   Ni pi tthe o ndo kyan?

Where is my car?                            Ni pi tthe o ndo da be yan?

Where is my glove?                       Ni pi tthe o ne metth ka wen?

That’s all – ia tso

You’re a good cook-Kte wi kes ew ttan ta yen / kte mno se qe

Are you going to cook – Qe ttan ta na? Qi wttan ta ne

                             Qe kis ken ne? qi ki ken ne

Sit here and eat – sho te ttib ta ben e wi wis ne yen

Come and eat soon – na kett ka bye e wi wis ne yen

                        na kech kby a we we snee yen

make some fried bread – sas ko qa tuk pa qash kin wshe ton

fry some potatoes – ktah sos ko qa swak pin yak

and make some gravy — ka wshe ton me na pqash kin na

                                      bo kta shi tone

We’ll eat pretty soon – ka ka qi wis na men

We’re hungry – mbak te men

Starving to death – mbi ke na ta men

I ate too much – tow som we sen      nki wsam ktte wi sen

I’m full – ntow sam shke ne

I’ve had enough – nki teb sa iw tso

          deb sin ye na? – did you get enough to eat?

They’re sour – siw shin wik

Eat breakfast – wis nen

When are we going to eat?—ni tte o wbi wa wis niy ki

What’s for supper? –wek ne tte wa mitt ye ko

He’s really eating – ktte wis ne o

Do you want some too? – kin ne ke

Eat it – mi tten

Drink it – mne qen

Dump it out – si qeb nen

They’re going out hunting – wi kiw sek

Just a little – bke tti

Fry that chicken or make some soup – kta sas qes o bka a qa a ne ke mbob

Classroom Commands

Listen                                      Bse don (den)

Sit down                                 Tthi be e ben

Quiet                                       Dok me ben

Stand up                                 Nib wen                        A – ah

Get up                                    Bze gwin                      É – eh

Say it                                      Ke don                          I – ee

My turn                                  Nin nétem                     O – oh

Your turn                               Gin nétem                     E — uh

Their turn                               Win nétem

That’s right, that’s it             Wi ye I

Behave                                   Da dok me ben

Don’t                                      Ke ko

That’s enough                       Iw-dso

Stop it!                                   Bo nik en

Stop it!                                   Kash ton

Say it again                            Ki don mine

Come in                                  Bidgen

Wait                                        Bama

OK                                          Ahaw

No                                           ‘Ttho

No (with emphasis)               ‘Ttho-wi

Wait till later                         Bama na gech

OK, leave                                Ahaw – ma jin

Come here                              Sho te byan

Read                                        Wa wich ké

Write it                                   Nab ye ken

Thank you                              Mikwech

I am grateful                          I kwe yen

How was it?/How did it go?                   Ni tthe na tthe?

How did you do?                            Ni tthe ga shi kas ye ‘n?

Hello, how are you?                       Ahau, ni tthe na?

What are you going to do today? Ni tthe wa shetth ke yen nkom?

Are you busy?                                Ktot mes ne?

I have to go to work.                      Nwi we mik tthe wi.

I have a lot to do.                            Ma ne wa shetth ke yan.

I’ll be late.                                       Nwi wi ka yow.

It’s good to see you.                       Iw se na qi yen e wab ma ko yen.

                                                          O we net e wab me nen.

I’ll see you again.                           Ba ma mi ne ke wab men.

Do you need a ride?                       Wi ye ne qi ne bos?

Wake up, it’s time to get up.         To kin, iw shye e wi bse qi yen.

Hurry/wash up and get dressed.    Ksi qan, bis kon yen.

The bus is coming.                         Bye wak o wtab yan.

It’s 7:30, I hope you’re not late.    No ak mi ne ab te ya wen.

                                                          Kta ne bnon ka yow.

I’m going to be late, have a nice day.

I’ll see you later                     Nwi wi ka yow, ba ma ke wab men.

Give me a kiss.                               Nko we wtthem shen.

I’m home, I’m tired, I’m hungry. Nki bya, nte ye qes mi, ne mbak te.

Go out and play.                             Ba tthik ka son.

Get ready for bed.                           Wshen win e wi mba yen.

I’ll see you in the morning.           Kesh yeb ke wab men.

The kids are running around.        Bam be tok be no tthe yek.

The birds are flying around.          Ba mosh kok bne shi yek.

Who is he?                                                We ni tthe o?

Who are you?                                 We ni tthe kin?

Which is yours?                              Ni tthe kin I?

This is mine.                                    Nin o te.

Can I go too?                                  Nin ne ke nta shya?

She is staying home.                      Kshat ke.

It’s spinning.                                   Byem sko bo te.

That’s lost.                                                Ne ke te.

It’s raining.                                      Kmow win.

Light rain, drizzle, sprinkling.      Kmo wes wen.

It’s raining hard.                             Ktthe kmo wen.

Flooding.                                         Moshk en.

He/she is crazy.                               Ya gwad ze.

I’m lonesome.                                 Nki wa tes.

I’m crazy.                                        Nyak wa tes.

He’s lonesome.                               Ki wat se.

Your crazy.                                      Ktok wa tes.

It rained a lot today.                       Ki ktthe kmo wen nkom.

It was very cloudy today.              Kim nqan kot nkom.

Now it is starting to get cold.        I shye e ksin yak.

It was very windy today.               Wish kan mit nkom.

It is foggy today.                            Wen si wen nkom.

It is cold.                                          Ksen ya.

It is snowing.                                   Bo nim ket.

We are going to town.                    O tan nak wi shyek.

Tomorrow I am going to town.     O ta nak nwi shya wa bek.

Today I am going.                          Nwi ma tthi nkom.

I will come there tomorrow.                   Wa bak nwi bya shi.

We will come here.                        Sho te ni bya min.

Can you talk?                                  Ka ta no kik to ne?

Can you see?                                   Kmen wab ne?

I will not be there.                          Ttho she mwi ye si.

Sit here and eat.                              Shote tthibteben e wi wis ne yen.

Come and eat soon.                        Na ketth ka bye wi sen.

Watch the baby.                              Ko wa bam o be no tthe.               

I’m going outside.                          Sa ketth nwi shya.

Where are you going?                    Ni pi tthe esh ya yen?          

Come here.                                      Sho te byan.

I’m lazy.                                          Nya bye tes.

He’s lazy.                                        Ya byet se/nshow nat se.

Hurry and go to sleep.                    Wi ne mban.

I fell.                                                 Nke bak shen.

Did you fall?                                   Ke bak shen ne?

You dance.                                       Nim e tin.

Someone is coming.                       Wi ye bye wak.

One who knows all.                        Neb wa kat.

Look at it.                                        Wab ten.

Because of you.                              Kin ma bshe.

Are you going to have enough?    Oi teb sa ne?

                                                          Nish ma sha na?

                                                          Ta om yen?

Are you telling the truth?              Kteb we ne?

Oh yes.                                             Ke te.

On the window.                              Wa setth ke nak.

She’s baby sitting.                          Ksa taw so/ksha taw so.

He’s lying.                                       Ken wes ke.

He/she is running away.                 We bi e we.

They’re having fun.                        Mta qay wik.

May apple (for medicine.)             Bok te e men.

Some other time.                             Ba ma she na ngot dek.

Leaders.                                            Na ka ni tthak.

It’s broke.                                        Bok shke.

I broke it.                                         Nki bok be ton.

They’re haying                               Mosh ko ke tthak.

Baby swing                                      We web so wen.

They’re all laughing                       Ya yen wik.

He/she laughed.                              Ki ya ye no.

That child is crying.                       Mo wak o be no tthe.

They are smiling.                            Sho mi kwek.

This person is at it again.               Iw she mi ne o te.

Sit there in that chair.                     Tthib tab we nok shi ta ben.

You can lie down on that be.         Shi kta shkish en nbok nak.

I’m walking.                                    Nbam se.

I’m going outside to take a walk. Ni bam se sa ketth.

I’m going outside.                          Sa ketth nwi shya.

You can go.                                     Kta ma tthi.

That belongs to me.                        Nin nte ben tan i.

                                                          Nin ma I (personal)

They’re looking at you.                 kwab ma ko.

I can’t                                               Ttho mam ta.

Come over to eat at my house/home tomorrow noon.                         Wa bak ka bye wi sen naw qek.

I’m going to town in a little while to get some eggs.                                     No mak nwi net o ta nuk wa wen.

Over there is where they will eat tonight.      

          Ibe ewi wi sne wek bkon yak.

There is no beer, what are you going to drink?              

          Ttho ke go bish te wab bo, wek ni tthe wan i kwa ni yen 

You’re going to fall.                       kwi ni sa.

You might fall.                                Kta ne ni sa.

Are you going?                               kwi shya ne.

Pretty good.                                     Wéwéne shna.

Are you sick?                                  Ktak no ka ne?

About the same.                              A ya pen.

Where did you come from?           Ni pi tthe ka wte bya yen?

What time is it?           Ni tthe tso ya wak? Ni tthe et tso ya wek?

What day is it?                                Wek ni tthe nkom ya wek?

Megwa ode kedwenen

Gégo nanmeshiken                         Don’t blame me

Cho she ngi zhechkéyansi i           I didn’t do that

Bnewi o kwé kchemokman égi wiché’wa        

          A long time ago a woman married a white man

Mbishkik                                         Place where there is a lot of                                                                   water (Marshfield)

Mami                                                Soon (n)

Gaga                                                 Soon (s)

Kénep shote byan                           Come here quickly

Binakchegé                                    To Clean

Niskbejgé                                         To make a mess

Ggi binakton édayan                       I cleaned my house (I cleaned                                                                where I live)

Kénep gda byan shote éwi binchegéyen édayan    

          You should come over here quickly and clean up where I live

Msenaksegnen                                 Moving pictures – her word for                                                             Cartoons

Wabnotakchegen                            TV (noisy thing you look at)

Genadolok                                       Bread (ONEIDA)

Wibdén                                            Mouth full of teeth

Nibdén                                             My teeth (my mouth full of teeth)

Nibet                                                 One tooth

Ndon                                                 My mouth

Zegnenwagen                                  Tongue

Ndep                                                 My head

Nin je o                                            It’s mine

Gdep                                                 Your head

Gin je o                                            It’s yours

Ni je na i gdep ngom?                     How is your head today?

Mémagzedé                                     Big Foot (name for old neighbor                                                           of hers)

Wéchgshatek                                   Where the hot weather comes                                                                from

Wéchksenyak                                  Where the cold weather comes                                                              from

Ksenyaniyek                                   Northern Potawatomi (people                                                                who live in the cold)

Wapshkankwet                                White Cloud (her mother’s                                                                     name)

Mskwankwet                                   Red Cloud

Bébamsekwe                                   Traveling woman

Kchegno                                          Big Eagle

Énkwankot                                      It is cloudy

Tkanmet                                           The wind is making it feel chilly

Ksenya                                             Cold

Tkiyamget                                        It’s cool (something)

Tkiyamget i shapkezken                The stove is cool

Wezowen                                         Heater, wood heater

Wjandéwen                                     Cooking Stove

Shkapke’en                                     Lock

Meskedé                                          It’s expensive

Mshkomnokmek                             Early spring, first day of spring

Cho wi kewabma nijansen             She doesn’t watch her kids

Cho wi kiékma nijansen                She doesn’t teach her kids right

Zhonya égi msenemak                   She borrowed money from me

Ngi we’a zhonya                            I loaned her money

Ngi nsenema anet zhonya              I loaned her some money

Mteno pené kyébadzik                   They are only always naughty

Zibyéngen                                        Washtub

Gwi zibyéngé                                  I will do the laundry

Zhoshkwékegen                               Iron

Nwi zhoshkwé’an                           I am going to iron

Jegodé                                              Skirt

Mejgodé                                           Long dress

Mejgodéyen                                    Long dresses

Biskewagen                                     Coat

Bbebgoyan                                      Man’s shirt

Ni pi je i nbiskewagen                             Where is your shirt?

Ni pi je ni nmkeznen                      Where are your shoes?

Mejdasen                                         Leggings like they used to wear

Zibyéngen i gbiskewagen               Wash your shirt/clothes

Mégwa she nde bmades                 I’m still living

Gibatashen o dabyan                       That car got stuck

Éshcegéwat                                      What they are doing

Nbadwéwéges                                 You are making too much noise

Gi bbonimget shote                        It snowed here

Ksenyamget                                     It’s cold

Neshnabé ne gi?                             Are they Indians?
Gégo gwi gishton                           Don’t or I’ll spank you

Cho she apje wenseson                  I don’t have much hair

Éjedweshen (person)                      Upside down (person)

Jedweshen (object)                         Upside down (object)

Jedweshen ode dopwen                 Table is upside down

Jedweshen ode jibtebwen              Chair is upside down

Jedweshen o gigyago                      Girl is upside down

Kiwades                                           Lonely

Gego Kiwadzeken                          Don’t be lonely

Nde penmo                                      I depend on him

Nde penmontak                               He depends on me

Nde pendmondon                           I depend on you

Nde penmondowak                        I depend on him

Tkeykaboyak mbish                        Cool Water

Gshatebotek mbish                         Hot Water

Naden i tkeykaboyak mbish           Bring me some cool water

Nde zostum?                                   Cough

Ngi wnendan i                                 I forgot it

Gego nendemoken                         Don’t forget

Gego nendemoken émbiwéyen     Don’t forget to water (reference use the bathroom)

Niézanya                                          It’s dangerous (sounds like lasagna)

Wéneshkan                                      I get up

Bsegwin                                           Rise Up

Waben                                              It’s morning

Ngi gteine zheshen                         I got _____________

Shabnegen                                       Needle

Moshwagen                                     Scissors

Sebab                                               Rope

Pe’égwadon                                     Patch it up

Ni pe’egwadon i waboyan             I will patch up that blanket

Wabaksikwe                                    She Walks At Dawn

Éngemot                                          She is singing

Pkwakik                                           Mountain

Kwédakik                                         Hill

Ngiwzheton                                     I put it together/I made it

Ngiwzheton nmechgodé                I put my dress together/I made                                                              my dress

Ngiwzheton i waboyan                  I put that blanket together/I made                                                          that blanket

Ngi mnoston                                   I fixed it, I assembled it

Ngi mnoston wa je wjandayan      I fixed it/assembled it what I will                                                          be cooking on 

Mkwom                                           Ice

Wewnezi                                          Beautiful water (Name)

Éankenotwet                                   An interpreter

Yankenotweshen                            You come explain it to me

Nagech                                             Soon

Mami she byan                                Come back early

Nagech she byan                            Don’t be gone long

Nomye                                             Not very long ago

Nomye wi byéwak                         Not long ago he came

Nomek                                             In a little while

Nomek she gchikas                        In a little while you can play

Nomek she ge kewabem o Gasknezos  

                                                          Watch Whisper for a little while

Nin washmo                                    I’m going to rest

Byéwashmon                                   Come and rest

Jibdeben éwashmoyan                   Sit down and rest

Bokto                                               Pear

Mechgodé                                         Dress

Bama                                                Wait

Bwitshen                                          Wait for me

Babwichkén                                    Wait

Ni gishkshkwa ode                         I will cut this

Ni gishkshkwa ode mshimen        I will cut this apple

Ik she she anwe                               Oh all right I guess

Yabyétze o nemosh                        That dog is lazy

Yagwatze                                         Crazy

Segdebé                                           Curly Top

Génozi                                             Tall (man’s name)

Génozet                                            The tall one/He/she is tall

Gish’kakwéwgemgok                     Lumber Camp (where they cut                                                              that wood)

Gi nizhokmago émikchéwiyan o gigabéyek

                             They helped me when I worked those boys

Gego k’kezoken                              Don’t hide

Ék’kezot ode gigyago                     This girl is hiding

Kyébadze ode gigyagos                 This little girl is mischievous

Zaskokwanpenyék                          Fried potatoes (French fries)

Penyek gi zaskokwanak                 Potatoes that were fried

Bkwéshgen zaskokwadé                Frybread

Nodoyé                                            Always getting mad

Nodoyé ode Gasknezos                  Little Whisper is always getting                                                            mad

Gégo, gwi wépodon!                      Don’t, or I’ll spank you!

Wi nisé                                             She will fall

Gwi nisa                                          You will fall

Gi nisé                                             She fell

Gego maziken                                 Don’t climb around

Gego kwedaziken                           Don’t climb (like stairs or trees)

Bneksegnek                                   Hominy

Mdamennabo                                  Corn soup

Ni nana o neaseno                          I’m going after Neaseno

Ni nana o kiwekemokwe               I’m going after Ruthiye

Wegni nedwendemen                    What do you want?           

Nsodebegenek                               3:00

Mdatso shech nyannen                  15

Ngotosek                                       1000

Zisbakwet                                        Sugar

Washpek                                          Something sweet

Démenen                                          Strawberries

Mkedémnek                                    Blackberries

Mkedéneni                                                Black man

Mshimen                                          Apple

Mshimenek                                      Apples

Mshimenek gwi mwak                   You will eat apples

Bshewkwen                                     Cows

Gokoshek                                         pigs

Enemokwe                                                 a name

Kchegno                                          another name

Ojmin                                               oatmeal

Kwenago                                          yesterday woman (a name)

Penabo                                             Potato soup

Penyek                                             potatoes

Penyek ne gwi mwak?                   You want to eat some potatoes?

Penabo ne gwi mijen?                    You want to eat some potato                                                                  soup?

Penyek ne gwi giswa                      You gonna cook potatoes?

Mdamnabo                                      corn soup

Ngi mdagway

Gizhgokwe                                      a name

Wédajwen                                        another name

Neaseno                                           something windy (a name)

Gizhgeni                                          a name

Mabis                                               a name

Ni pi je éshyayen                            Where are you going

Ni je pi wa zhyayen                       When are you going

Ni jo pi yawik ga byayen?            What time was it when you                                                                    came?

Penojek                                            kids

Ni pi je gi penojek ezhyawat?       Where are those kids going?

Win ndo wabem o wawjanek        Go look for a cook

Gishpen gwa zhyan boskwabnen….or I will roll you down the hill

Bodewadmi emawjedit                   Where the Potawatomi meet.       

Yayeno                                            laugh

Zhomigwé                                        smile

Aishogishek/Edwegishek               Both sides of the sky

Zhawne’en                                                 South wind (woman’s name)

Zhabwas                                          See right through it (woman’s                                                                name)

Enobi                                               a name

Egawni                                             a name

Medagwendan ewi wisnewat        They like to go out to eat

Nkiwades                                         I’m lonely

Kchetetbesé                                     The big wheel

Zhonya                                            money

Wishkpeno                                      She’s sweet

Gasknezos wishkpeno                    Little Whisper is sweet

Nagech she byan                            Don’t be gone long/come back                                                              soon (S)

Mami she byan                                Don’t be gone long/come back                                                              soon (N)

Nagech – Southern, Mami – Northern

Gmesé mbéwak                               Your big sister is sleeping

Gshimé                                             Little sister

Skebyatemget                                  Everything is green

Gégo nendemoken                         Don’t forget

Pené she nodagzewat                      They are always noisy

Mine i egwan                                  And over there

Génoze o kwe                                 That woman is tall

Wi nijansése                                    She’s going to have a baby

Ginyano ni nibden                          My teeth are sharp

Ginyanen ni wibden                       Her teeth are sharp

Ginzik gi shkezhek                         My nails are sharp

Gi jigwéwen                                    It was thundering

Gi gmowen                                      It was raining

Minwéwze                                       Good worker

Nwi mbwachwa o Gizhgokwé      I’m going to visit Gizhgokwé

Gwi zibyendon géni?                     Did you wash too?

Ngi meschegé i mbagen                 I rearranged my bed

Gambot o neneyem                        My mother died

Ngyében                                          Referring to mother that was

Gégo bawéwéken                           Stop making so much noise

Cho she gégo ngi meschegési        I didn’t do any housework

Gemochké                                        He stole it

Égmodet I zhonya                          He stole that money

Éapteniben                                                it’s mid summer

Yankobdé                                        Double Knot

Yankobjegén                                   Great Grandchild (Double knot)

Nyankobjegén                                 My great grandchild (my double                                                           knot)

Gashotmego                                    Leftovers (what we didn’t eat)

Yayeno                                            Laughing

Nyayeno                                          I’m laughing

Kcheyayeno                                    She’s laughing hard

Begdé                                               Dry

Begdémget ode waboyan               This blanket is dry

Begdémget zagech                          It’s dry outside

Wnago                                             Yesterday

Neshnabé étadit                               Neshnabé gambles/where he                                                                  gambles?

Weswnago                                       Day before yesterday

Cho she gego ndenabnesi               I’m good for nothing

Nweshmo bégishek                        I’m resting all day

Gego nendemoken                         Don’t forget

Gego nanmeshiken                         Don’t forget me

Ngi nendem i                                  I forgot it

Pkebdon                                           Pick that (she said this is used for                                                         things that are on a plant)

Pkebdon i wabgon                          Pick that squash

Ngi pkebnamen ni mkedéminen   We picked those blackberries

Ngi minkémen                                We went blueberrying

Ngi pkebnamen gi mskomenek    We picked those raspberries

Mamgenen                                      To pick something up that                                                                      someone has discarded

Mamgenen ni mkesnen                  Pick up those shoes

Ngi mamgenanen ni                       I picked those up (that someone                                                            had thrown away)

Ngi mamgengé                                To pick something up to reuse it                                                           (To recycle?)

Épkebdoyen                                    you pick things that are growing

Dapnen                                            Take that

Dapnen i wabgon                           Take that squash

Gi gtegé ne?                                    did you garden?

Gzizgengé                                         To scrub the floor

Zhizijeké                                          To sweep the floor

Kadengen                                         Braided rug

Kadenagen ne i winsesen?             Are you braiding hair? 

Kadengé                                           To braid

Nwi kadenanen ni winsesen           I will braid my hair

Gishkzhanen ninsesen                    Cut your hair

Zibyénan ni winsesen                     Wash your hair

Niézanya                                          Dangerous

Niézanzik                                         They are dangerous

Gwi nisa                                          You’re going to fall

Webdon I                                         Throw it in the garbage

Naké pegdon I                                 or throw it somewhere

Gapi nwi zheton                              I’m going to make coffee

Gwi mnekwé ne                              Will you drink some?

Ni pi je ézhyayen?                          Where are you going?

Bagdwé                                            To play baseball (to hit with a stick)

Ébagdwéwat                                    They are playing baseball

Nwi bagdwémen                             We are going to play baseball

Ébsedegéwat                                    They are playing squaw dice

Nodnokwe                                       Wind woman

Seksiwiyas                                       Deer meat

Seksi negesh                                   Deer sausage

Bnéwiyas                                         Turkey meat

Bémashkat                                       To fly (like a bird)

Bamashké                                         To fly in something (like a plane)

Gi bamashké ne?                            Did he fly?

Shkodé ode yawen                          This is fire

Wigézen ébwajagzayen                  Be careful you will be burned

Kyénbezen                                       Hurry Up

Kyénep byan                                   Come Quick

Nmedné                                           My blanket

Nde pkwesmon                               My pillow

Nwi pe’egwadon ode waboyan     I will patch up this blanket

Nwi pe’egwadon ode gbedi           I will patch up this pair of pants

Gdebanen                                         I love you

Mskoze o bneshi                             The bird is red

Mskwane i biskewagen                  The shirt is red

Mekdéwak                                       Black

Wabshkyak                                     White

Éskpegyak                                       Green

Wabshkedebé                                  White Headed Person (white                                                                  hair)

Éshkwedmo                                     Watermelon

Gokobé                                            Cucumber

Gokobéyen                                      Cucumbers

Wabgon                                           Squash/Pumpkin

Wabgonésen                                    Small squash, Acorn Squash

Gzhapkezgen                                   Stove, like an old wood stove

Gigénowen                                      Cooker

Wjandéwen                                     Cook Stove

Gzhabozen i mbish                         Heat that water (implies putting                                                            it into a kettle/pot)

Gzhabodék                                      Something liquid that is hot

Gzhabozen i gapi                            Heat that coffee

Gzibyé ni wnagnen                         Wash those dishes

Mégwa she anwe nde ném             I’m still breathing

Nsheké éjibdebyan shote               I’m sitting here alone

Ni gnona o Zhikwes                       I’m talking to Zhikwes

Ni yayajmo’a o Zhikwes               I’m talking to Zhikwes

Ni gnona ode Zhikwes                   I’m talking to this Zhikwes

Ni je gaktoyen                                 What did you say

Ni je éyayamwet                             Who are you talking to

Ngi nona                                          I spoke to him/her

Ngi yayajmo’a o Whisper              I spoke to Whisper

Gi kigdowek                                   He/she talked to me

Gi yayajmo’ek                                He/she talked to me

Gi yayajmomen                               We talked

Yatsoké                                            Tell stories

Éyatsokét                                         He/she tells stories

Basic things in Potawatomi


Ked                to say s.t.

Kedo               h/s is saying s.t.

Ndekto             I am saying s.t.

Gdekto             you are saying s.t.

Kedwik             they are saying s.t.

Some phrases and questions:

Ni je ektot o         what is he/she saying?

Ni je ektoyen         what are you saying?

Ni je ga kedyan       what did I say?

Ni je ga kedyen       what did you say?

Ni je ektowat         what are they saying?

Ni je wa kedwat       what are they going to say?

Wi kedwik wa je byayak they are going to say s.t. when we get there.

Wi ye I, wa kedyan    that’s what I’m going to say.

Wi ye I, wa kedwat    that’s what they’re going to say.

Wi ye I nda dena          that is what I told him/her.

Ngi dena                  I told him/her

Ngi dena a’o ma she na but I told him/her

Widmo a’o wa kedyen       tell him/her what you’re going to say

Some more phrases:

Iw, ga kdot            that’s what he/she said

Iw, ga kedyan         that’s what I said

Iw, ga kedyen         that’s what you said.

Iw, ga kedwat         that’s what they said.

Iw, ga kedwat neko    that’s what they used to say.

Gda ket ne ode        can you say this?

Ni je ode da kedyan   how would I say this?

Ni je ode da kedyen   how would you say this?

Ni je ode ezh ne kadek what is this called?

Ni je node ezh ne kadek   what are these called?

Ni je nda zhen kadmen ode cup

                  What would we call this cup? (we-u)

Ni je gda shen kadyen ode cup

                  What would you call this cup?

Gwa begasen she zhna, nda zhen kadan

                  Gwa begasen, I would call it

Ni je node gda zhen kadyen node dishes

                  What would you call these dishes?

Desnagnen she zhna, nda zhen kadanen

                      Dishes I would call them.

Ni je ezh ne kasyen       what are you called/what is your name?

Ni je ezh ne kaswat       what are they called?

Ni je ezh ne kazyen       what are you called?

Ni je ezh ne kazot o      what is that person called?

Luke Warmwater zhen kazo  Luke Warmwater he is called.

Yabwam mbish zhen kazo “                          “

Ni je o yawet         who is he/she?

Ni je o                 who is that?

We ni je gi yawjek    who are they?

Ni je gi

Wegwni je I yawek     what is that?

Ni je I

Gokbenagen I yawen    it is a basket

Ni je ni yawek        what are those?

Ni je ni

Gokbenagnen ni yawnon     those are baskets

Dasgen je na a o kewezi ni je pi ewabmayen

Shake hands with that old man when you see him.

Gnestoto ne            do you understand me?

Gnestetan ne          do you understand it?

Gnestotwa ne          do you understand him/her?

Gnestotwak ne          do you understand them?

Gnestota gwnan ne     does he/she understand us?

Gnestota gwnanek ne   do they understand us?

Wnestetan             he/she understands it

                      (what is being said)

Wnestotwan           he/she understands him/her

Cho, gneste tosnon     I don’t understand you.

Cho, gneste totwa     I don’t understand him/her.

Cho, gneste totwak gi I don’t understand them.

Cho wi she, gneste tosnon gode weshkjek ngom.

I don’t really understand these young people of today.

Ni je etse dbuh gnek      what time is it?

Ni je tso yawek           what time is it, but could also mean, how many are there?

Some time phrases:

Ngodek                at one time

Ngodek ga zhe webek   it happened at one time

Ngodek zhna zhi       some day

Ngodek na              for once

Nangodgen              sometime/once in awhile

Wa wika            later/once in awhile/now and then/not often

Bama                   wait

Bama pi               later

Nagech                later

Bama shkejimeyek       later on

Ngoji mana            sometime/somewhere around

Gisneget               it was hard times

Bnewi                 a long time ago

Bnewi pi               a long time ago

Megwe pi               a long time ago/could be far away too

Bnoch                 far away

Gaga/mami             soon

Nomek                 a little while

Pene                   always

Nomye                 a little while ago

Njeshek               just now

Odo pi                at this time

Ode zhe pi            right now

Mine pi               another time

Cho wi pi             never

Cho wika               never

Cho she gego           nothing/zero

Cho wi she gego        it’s nothing really

Chom she               not yet

Kwech                  yet

Ibe pi                over there

Ezhi pi               way over there

Some exclamations:

Mno nes               goodness!

Nmno nes               my goodness!

Watiya                gosh, my god, geez, holy wa!

Mamkatkemek           same as above, used by women folk.

Mamkaz                amazed at s.t., surprised at s.t.

Mamkadenma            surprised at h/h

Mamkadendat           surprised at s.t.

Kwansekemek            registering surprise at s.t.

Kyetnam               expression of surprise

Nshkwenwe’aye         surprised

Gshkonwenmat          surprised at s.o.

Gshkonwendek          surprised at s.t.

Gshkonwezet           to be surprised

Mbe                   a satisfied expression usually with a sigh.

Iw                that’s it, I’m done, it’s over, that’s all.

Ahau               ok, all right, oh,

I ye I         that’s it, that’s ok, that’s correct/right.

Wi ye I            same as above

Wi ye o            that’s the one, that’s h/h

Iw yedek           must be

Iwk she ye I       that’s the way it is

Iwk she anwek      well it’s better

Iw she anwe        so so, better I guess

Nemetsena          IDK

Nemetsena yedek    I really dk

Ngi                I did

Nge                I am about to

Nda                I could/can/would

Nwi                I will

Nikanek mine ndenwemagnek

Relatives and Friends

Aunt (maternal) Sing.  Plural

Nin noshe  nosheyek

Gin gnoshe  gnosheyek

Win wnosheyen  wnosheyen

Ginwa gnoshem  gnoshemek

Ninan noshenan  noshenanek

Ginan gnoshenan  gnoshenanek

Winwa wnoshewan  wnoshewan

Aunt (paternal)

Nin nshegwes nshegwsek

Gin gshegwes gshegwsek

Win wshegwesen   wshegwesen

Ginwa gshegwesewa  gshegwesewak

Ninan nshegwesenan nshegwesenanek

Ginan gshegwesenan  gshegwesenanek

Winwa wshegwsewan  wshegwsewan

Brother in law

Nin nita nitag

Gin gnita  gnitag

Win wnitan wnitan

Ginwa gnitawa gnitawak

Ninan nitanan nitananek

Ginan gnitanan gnitananek

Winwa wnitawan wnitawan

Brother in law of male

Nin niji nijik

Gin gniji  gnijik

Win wnijiyen wnijiyen

Ginwa gnijimwa gnijimwak

Ninan nijinan nijinanek

Ginan gnijinan gnijinanek

Winwa wnijimwan wnijimwan

Brother of male

Nin nikan/nikanes nikansek

Gin gnikanes gnikansek

Win wnikaneyen wnikaneyen

Ginwa gnikansewa gnikansewak

Ninan nikanan nikananek

Ginan gnikanan gnikananek

Winwa wnikanewan wnikanewan

Older brother of female

Nin ndewema ndewemak

Gin gdewema gdewemak

Win wdeweman   wdeweman

Ginwa gdewemwa   gdewemwak

Ninan ndewemamnan ndewemamnanek

Ginan gdewemamnan gdewemamnanek

Winwa wdewemwan  wdewemwan

Older brother of male

Nin nseze   nsezeyek

Gin gseze   gsezeyek

Win wsezeyen wsezeyen

Ginwa gsezemowa   gsezemowak

Ninan nsezenan nsezenanek

Ginan gsezenan gsezenanek

Winwa wsezewan wsezewan


Nin nijanes  nijansek

Gin gnijanes gnijansek

Win wnijansen wnijansen

Ginwa gnijansowa   gnijansowak

Ninan nijansenan   nijansenanek

Ginan gnijansenan   gnijansenanek

Winwa wnijansewan   wnijansewan

Cousin and sometimes friend

Nin nitawes nitawsek

Gin gnitawes gnitawsek

Win wnitawsen wnitawsen

Ginwa gnitasowa gnitawsowak

Ninan nitawsenan  nitawsenanek

Ginan gnitawsenan   gnitawsenanek

Winwa wnitawsewan   wnitawsewan


Nin ndanes  ndansek/ndanseyek

Gin gdanes  gdansek/gdanseyek

Win wdanseyen  wdanseyen

Ginwa gdansowa gdansowak

Ninan ndansenan  ndansenanek

Ginan gdansenan  gdansenanek

Winwa wdansewan  wdansewan

Daughter in law

Nin neagnekwe  neagnekwemek

Gin gneagnekwe  gneagnekwemek

Win wneagnekwemen  wneagnekwemen

Ginwa gneagnekwemwa  gneagnekwemwak

Ninan ndeagnekwemnan  ndeagnekwemnanek

Ginan gdeagnekwemnan  gdeagnekwemnanek

Winwa wneagnekwemwan  wneagnekwemwan


Nin  n’os/ndedeyem

Gin g’os/gdedeyem

Win w’osen /wdedemen

Ginwa g’oswa/ gdedemwa

Ninan n’osnan/ndedemenan

Ginan g’osnan/gdedemenan

Winwa w’oswan/wdedemowan

Father in law

Nin nshenes

Gin gshenes

Win wshensen

Ginwa gshensewa

Ninan nshensenan

Ginan gshensenan

Winwa wshensewan

Friend or Lover, a really close friend, neuter gender

Nin nikowes nijkowsek

Gin gnijkowes gnijkowsek

Win  wnijkosen wnijkosen

Ginwa gnijkosewa gnijkosewak

Ninan nijkosenan  nijkosenanek

Ginan gnijkosenan   gnijkosenanek

Winwa wnijkosewan  wnijkosewan


Nin noses   noseseyek

Gin gnoses   gnoseseyek

Win wnoseyen wnoseyen

Ginwa gnosesmowa   gnosesmowak

Ninan nosenan nosenanek

Ginan gnosenan gnosenanek

Winwa   wnosewan wnosewan


Nin nmeshomes  nmeshomsek

Gin gmeshomes  gmeshomsek

Win wmeshomsen   wmeshomsen

Ginwa gmeshomsewa gmeshomsewak

Ninan nmeshomsenan  nmeshomsenanek

Ginan gmeshomsenan  gmeshomsenanek

Winwa wmeshomsewan  wmeshomsewan


Nin n’okmes n’okmesek

Gin g’okmes g’okmesek

Win w’okmesen w’okmesen

Ginwa g’okmeswa g’okmeswak

Ninan n’okmesnan  n’okmesnanek

Ginan g’okmesnan  g’okmesnanek

Winwa w’okmeswan  w’okmeswan

Grandson/grand daughter

Nin noseme nosemeyek

Diminutive nosemes nosemesek

Gin goseme gosemeyek

Diminutive gosemes gosemesek

Win wnosemeyen   wnosemeyen

Ginwa ggoseme ggosemeyek

Ninan nosememnan  nosememnanek

Ginan gnosememnan gnosememnanek

Winwa wnosemewan  wnosemewan


Nin ngiye  ngiyeyek

Gin ggiye  ggiyeyek

Win wgiyeyen  wgiyeyen

Ginwa ggiyewa  ggiyewak

Ninan  ngiyenan  ngiyenanek

Ginan ggiyenan  ggiyenanek

Winwa wgiyewan   wgiyewan

Another mother

Nin neneyem nenemek

Gin gneneyem gnenemek

Win wnenemen  wnenemen

Ginwa gnenemowa  gnenemowak

Ninan nenemenan  nenemenanek

Ginan gnenemenan   gnenemenanek

Winwa wnenemowan  wnenemowan

Namesake, child in one’s family who has name of family ancestor, describes a “tying together”

Nin ndankobjegen

Gin gdankobjegen

Win wdankobjegen

Ginwa gdankobjegnewa

Ninan ndankobjegnan

Ginan gdankobjegnan

Winwa wdankobjegnewan


Nin negwnes negwnesek

Gin gnegwnes gnegwnesek

Win wnegwnesen  wnegwnesen

Ginwa gnegwneswa  gnegwneswak

Ninan negwnesnan  negwnesnanek

Ginan gnegwnesnan  gnegwnesnanek

Winwa wnegwneswan wnegwneswan

Niece of male

Nin nzhemes nzhemsek

Gin gzhemes gzhemsek

Win wzhemsen wzhemsen

Ginwa gzhemsewa  gzhemsewak

Ninan nzhemsenan   nzhemsenanek

Ginan gzhemsenan gzhemsenanek

Winwa wzhemsewan wzhemsewan


Nin ngetsimek

Gin ggetsimek

Win wgetsimen

Ginwa ggetsimwak (getsimwak)

Ninan ngetsimnanek

Ginan getsimnanek

Winwa wgetsimwan

Parents, this term also used for all older relatives

Nin nmezodanek

Gin gmezodanek

Win wmezodanen

Ginwa gmezodanwak

Ninan nmezodanenanek

Ginan gmezodanenanek

Winwa wmezodanwan


Nin ndenwemagen ndenwemagnek

Gin gdenwemagen gdenwemagnek

Win wdenwemagnen  wdenwemagnen

Ginwa gdenwemagnewa  gdenwemagnewak

Ninan ndenwemagnenan  ndenwemagnenanek

Ginan gdenwemagnenan  gdenwemagnenanek

Winwa wdenwemagnewan  wdenwemagnewan

Sister of male

Nin ndekwem ndekwemek

Gin gdekwem gdekwemek

Win wdekwemen   wdekwemen

Ginwa gdekwemwa  gdekwemwak

Ninan ndekwemnan   ndekwemnanek

Ginan gdekwemnan   gdekwemnanek

Winwa wdekwemwan  wdekwemwan

Sister of female

Nin nidgeko nidgekok

Gin gnidgeko gnidgekok

Win wnidgekon wnidgekon

Ginwa gnidgekowa gnidgekowak

Ninan nidgekonan   nidgekonanek

Ginan gnidgekkonan    gnidgekonanek

Winwa wnidgekowan  wnidgekowan

Older sister

Nin nmese   nmeseyek

Gin gmese   gmeseyek

Win wmeseyen wmeseyen

Ginwa gmesewa gmesewak

Ninan nmesenan nmesenanek

Ginan gmesenan gmesenanek

Winwa wmesewan   wmesewan

Sister in law of male

Nin ninem   ninemek

Gin gninem gninemek

Win winmon winmon

Ginwa ginmowa ginmowak

Ninan ninmenan ninmenanek

Ginan ginmenan ginmenanek

Winwa winmowan   winmowan


Nin ngwes   ngwesek

Gin ggwes    ggwesek

Win wgwesen wgewesen

Ginwa ggwesewa ggwesewak

Ninan ngwesnan ngwesnanek

Ginan ggwesnan ggwesnanek

Winwa wgweswan  wgweswan

Son in law

Nin neangesh

Gin gneangesh

Win wneangeshen

Ginwa gneangeshmowa

Ninan ndeangeshmnan

Ginan gdeangeshmnan

Winwa wdeangeshmowan

A child you named

Nin niyokade niyokadeyek

Gin giyokade giyokadeyek

Win wiyokaden  wiyokaden

Ginwa giyokadeswa   giyokadeswak

Ninan niyokadenan  niyokadenanek

Ginan giyokadenan  giyokadenanek

Winwa wiyokadewan  wiyokadewan

Step father or Paternal Uncle

Nin nmishome

Gin gmishome

Win wmishomeyen

Ginwa gmishome’wa

Ninan nmishomemenan

Ginan gmishomemenan

Winwa wmishomewan

Maternal Uncle

Nin nzheshe nzhesheyek

Gin gzheshe gzhesheyek

Win wzhesheyen  wzhesheyen

Ginwa gzheshemwa  gzheshemwak

Ninan nzheshemenan nzheshemenanek

Ginan gzheshemenan gzheshemenanek

Winwa wzheshewan  wzheshewan

Younger sibling

Nin nshime  nshimeyek

Gin gshime  gshimeyek

Win wshimeyen  wshimeyen

Ginwa gshimewa gshimewak

Ninan nshimenan  nshimenanek

Ginan gshimenan  gshimenanek

Winwa wshimewan  wshimewan

Grandfather deceased

Nin  nmeshomseben

Gin gmeshomseben

Win wmeshomsenaben

Ginwa gmeshomsewaben


Nin nokmesben

Gin gokmesben

Win okmesenaben

Ginwa gokmesewaben

nikanek mine ndenwemak

Review weather terms APWAD

Weather Terms…

…for when you just want to talk about the weather.

53.  Wishkanmet – It’s Really Windy 

Wi wishkanmet pkonyak – It will be really windy tonight

Gi wishkanmet bédbekok – It was really windy all last night

Wi wishkanmet ngom – It will be really windy today

Wi wishkanmet wabek – It will be really windy tomorrow

54.  Goniswen – Snowflake 

Ngi wabdan ngot goniswen ngom – I saw one snowflake today

Ngi wabdanen mjesh goniswenen ngom – I saw many snowflakes today

Nwi wabdanen megwa goniswenen wabek – I will see more snowflakes tomorrow

Ggi wabdan ne i goniswen? – Did you see the snowflake?

Ggi wabdanen ne ni goniswenen? – Did you see the snowflakes?

55.  Cho gi bonimsi – It didn’t snow.

Cho gi bonimsi wnago – It didn’t snow yesterday.

Cho gi bonimsi dbekok – It didn’t snow last night.

Cho gi bonimsi weswnago – It didn’t snow day before yesterday.

Wi bonimget wabek gnebech – It might snow tomorrow.

56.  Kises – Sun 

Nibagises – Moon

Dbegises – Moon

Moshknégises – Full Moon

Gises can also be used for month…

Giwségises – Hunting Moon

57.  Wiskaktémget – It’s unbearably hot 

Wiskaktémget ngom – It’s unbearably hot today

Wiskatémget zagech – It’s unbearably hot outside

Wiskaktémget ne? – Is it unbearably hot?

Wi wiskaktémget ne wabek? – Will it be unbearably hot tomorrow?

Gi wiskaktémget wnago. – It was unbearably hot yesterday

58.  Gshatémget – It is Hot (the weather)

Gshatémget ngom – It’s hot today

Wi gshatémget ode gizhnawkwék – It will be hot this afternoon

Gi gshatémget wnago – It was hot yesterday

Gshatémget ne ibe édayen? – Is it hot there where you live?

Gshatémget shote édayan – It is hot here where I live

Gshatémget shote édayak – It is hot here where we live

Gzhetémget refers to something that is hot to the touch.

59.  Bégwtémget – It’s dry (the weather)

Épich bégwtémget ngom – It’s really dry today

Wi bégwtémget wabek – It will be dry tomorrow

Gi bégwtémget wnago – It was dry yesterday

Wi bégwtémget ne ngom? – Will it be dry today?

Gi bégwtémget ne dbekok? – Was it dry last night?

60.  Wénbisamget – It is raining lightly

Wi wénbisamget ngom – It will rain lightly today

Wi wénbisamget wabek – It will rain lightly tomorrow

Wi wénbisamget weswabek – It will rain lightly day after tomorrow

Gi wénbisamget wnago – It rained lightly yesterday

Gi wénbisamget weswnago – It rained lightly day before yesterday

61.  Gméyamget – It is Raining 

Gméyamget odo pi – It is raining at this time

Gi gméyamget wnago – It rained yesterday

Wi gméyamget wabek – It will rain tomorrow

Zamjesh gi gméyamget ngom – It rained alot/too much today

Gi gméyamget ne ibe édayék? – Did it rain there where you all live?

Gmowen – Rain

62.  Nibiskadémget – It is humid 

Nibiskadémget ngom shote édayak – It is humid here today where we live

Wi nibiskadémget wabek – It will be humid tomorrow

Gi nibiskadémget wnago – It was humid yesterday

Kchenibiskadémget – It is very humid

63.  Nshonadanmet – Wind is blowing in all directions

Gi nshonadanmet – Wind was blowing in all directions

Gi nshonadanmet wnago – It was blowing in all directions yesterday

Gi nshonadanmet zagech wnago – It was blowing in all directions outside yesterday

Gi nshonadanmet zagech wnago shote édayak – it was blowing in all directions outside yesterday here where we live.

64.  Nshiwénmet ngom – It’s really windy today

Wi nshiwénmet ngom – It’s going to be very windy today

Wi nshiwénmet ngom shote – It’s going to be very windy here today

Wi nshiwénmet zagech ngom shote – It’s going to be very windy outside here today

Wi nshiwénmet zagech ngom gnebech shote – Perhaps it’s going to be very windy outside here today

65.  Mgweshkwach gishget – It’s an unsettled weather day

Mgweshkwach gishget ngom – The weather is unsettled today

Wi mgweshkwach gishget wabek – The weather will be unsettled tomorrow

Gi mgweshkwach gishget wnago – The weather was unsettled yesterday

66.  Yabwamget – It is warm 

Yabwamget zagech – It is warm outside

Yabwamget zagech ngom – It is warm outside today

Gi yabwamget zagech wnago – It was warm outside yesterday

Wi yabwamget zagech wabek – It will be warm outside tomorrow

67.  Gon – Snow 

Goniswen – Snowflake

Gonkiwen – Snow on the ground

Bonimget – It’s snowing 

Kche boni – It’s really snowing

Shote gi bonimget bgéji wnago – It snowed a little bit here yesterday

68.  Noden – Wind 

Kchenoden – Big wind

Wébanmet – Wind is starting to blow

Nshonadanmet – Wind is blowing in all directions

Nshiwénmet – It’s really windy

Bonanmet – Wind is settling down

69.  Mkwem – Ice 

Ngi wabma zamjesh mkwem – I saw alot of ice

Ngi wabmamen zamjesh mkwem shote – We saw alot of ice here

Gi jak gezo o mkwem – The ice is melting

Mkwemitaswen – Refridgerator/Ice Box

Mkwemimget – It is icing, It is hailing, It is sleeting

70.  Ksenyamget – It’s cold 

Ksenyamget ngom – It’s cold today

Wi ksenyamget wabek – It’s going to be cold tomorrow

Gi ksenyamget wnago – It was cold yesterday

Wi ksenyamget bégishek – It’s going to be cold all day

Gi ksenyamget bédbekok – It was cold all last night

71.  Bonimget – It’s snowing 

Gi bonimget wnago – It snowed yesterday

Wi kcheboni wabek – It’s going to snow alot tomorrow

Zam bonimget ngom – It’s snowing too much today

Gon – snow

Gon ki wen – Snow on the ground

72.  Tkéyamget – It’s cool 

Tkéyamget zagech – It’s cool outside

Tkéyamget zagech ngom – It’s cool outside today

Wi tkéyamget bégishek – It’s going to be cool all day

Gi tkéyamget wnago – It was cool yesterday

Gi tkéyamget zagech wnago – It was cool outside yesterday

73.  Dgwagék – Autumn 

Zawbogyagizes – Leaves Turn Yellow Moon

Watebgyagizes – Leaves Turn Colors Moon

Tkéyamget zagech – It’s cool outside

Édgwagék yawen ngom – It’s autumn today

74.  Wawyasto – Tornado 

Wawyasto wa je byat – Tornado is coming

Wawyasto ga wje byat dbekok – Tornado came last night 

Noden – wind

Kche noden – Lots of wind

75.  Jigwé – Thunder 

Jigwék – Thunders

Wawasmo – Lightening

Wawasmok – Lightenings (plural)

76.  Niskadémget – It is stormy 

Gi niskadémget wnago – It was stormy yesterday

Niskadémget ngom – It is stormy today

Niskadémget shote, naké bbonimget ibe – It’s stormy here, but it’s snowing over there

Cho gi niskadémsi wnago shote – No, it wasn’t stormy here yesterday

Gi nshonadanmet – The wind was blowing in every direction

77.  Zhoshkwamget – It’s slippery (referring to weather)

Zhoshkwamget ngom – It’s slippery today

Zhoshkwamget zagech ngom – It’s slippery outside today

Kwansege zhoshkwamget zagech ngom – It’s really slippery outside today

Gwi zhoshkwamget zagech nomek mégwa – It’s going to be slippery outside for a long while

Gi zhoshkwamget wnago – It was slippery yesterday

Mégwa shna zhoshkiwen – It’s still slippery

A review on food from APWAD

Food and Eating

We begin with our most commonly researched subject… how to identify the foods we eat, and the way we cook and eat them, in Bodéwadmimwen.

1.  Kwabegas – Cup 

kwab:  a depression,  a scooped out area,  a hollow

Kwabegasen – Cups

Bgednen i kwabegas – Put that cup down

Dapnen i kwabegas – Pick up that cup

Ni pi je ni kwabegasen? – Where are the cups?

Byédon i kwabegas dopwenek – Bring that cup to the table

           Kwabegen – Ladle

2.  Mashpegwet – It tastes bad

This word refers to something that tastes bad because it is stale, soured, or spoiled.

Mashpegwet ode gapi – This coffee tastes bad

Mashpegwet ode mbop – This soup tastes bad

Mashpegwet ode shomnabo – This grape juice tastes bad

Mashpegwet ode mshimnabo – This apple juice tastes bad 

3.  Bkwéshgen – Bread 

Mishen i bkwéshgen – Give me the bread

Byédweshen i bkwéshgen – Bring me the bread

Byénénmoshen i bkwéshgen – Come hand me the bread

Nénmoshen i bkwéshgen – Hand me the bread

Dapnen i bkwéshgen – Pick up the bread

Mégwa ne bkwéshgen? – More bread? (would you like more bread?)

4. Bné – Turkey 

Bnéyek – Turkeys

Mzese – another way to say turkey

Bkojbné – wild turkey

Bkojmzese – another wild turkey

Ngi wabma o bné ibe – I saw that turkey over there

Ngi nodwa o bné ibe – I heard that turkey over there

Nwi bidapkowebna o bné weswabek – 2 days from now I will put that turkey in the oven

5.  Gokombé – Cucumber 

Gokombés – Cucumber (small)

Gokombéyen -Cucumbers

Gokombésen – Small cucumbers

Byédweshen ni gokombésen – Bring me those small cucumbers

Daga mishen ni gokombésen – Please give me those small cucumbers

6.  Washkpen – Sweet Potato

Wishkpen – another spelling

Wishkpepenyek – Sweet Potatoes

Washkpenik – Sweet Potatoes

Ni pi je gi washkpenik – Where are the sweet potatoes?

Mishen gi washkpenik – Give me those sweet potatoes

Byédweshen gi washkpenik – Bring me those sweet potatoes

Nwi gbashmak gode washkpenik – I will cook these sweet potatoes

7.  Pokmenésen – Cranberries 

Pokmenen – Another way to say Cranberries

Pokmen or Pokmenés – Cranberry (singular)

Ni pi je ni pokmenésen? – Where are those cranberries?

Pokmenabo – Cranberry Juice

Byédweshen anet pokmenabo – Bring me some cranberry juice

8. Wiyas – Meat 

Wiyas is usually inanimate, because it implies that a piece of meat has been cut from an inanimate animal.  When using wiyas with the animal it came from, the animal becomes inanimate.

Wiyasen – Meats/Pieces of meat

Gokosh wiyas – Pork/Pig meat

I gokosh wiyas – That pork/ham/bacon

Ni gokosh wiyasen – Those pieces of pork/ham/bacon

Mishen i gokosh wiyas – Hand me that pork

Byédweshen ni gokosh wiyasen – Bring me those pieces of pork

9.  Wabgon – Pumpkin 

Wabgon i yawen – That is a pumpkin

Wabgonen ni yawnon – Those are pumpkins

Ni pi je i wabgon? – Where is that pumpkin?

Nde gbaton ode wabgon – I am cooking this pumpkin

Ngi gbaton i wabgon – I cooked that pumpkin

10.  Béjisgedisnen – Baking Powder Biscuits 

Béjisgedisen – Baking Powder Biscuit

Mbéjishjegen – Baking Powder

Ngi bidapkowebdanen ni béjisgedisnen – I put the biscuits in the oven

Byédweshen i béjisgedisen – Bring me a biscuit

Nenmoshen i béjisgedisen – Hand me a biscuit

11.  Mskwedismenek – Pinto Beans 

Mskwedismen – Pinto bean

Nwi gbashmak gode mskwedismenek – I will cook these pinto beans

Mskwedismenek ngi gbashmak – I cooked pinto beans

Ni pi je gi mskwedismenek? – Where are the pinto beans?

Mskwedismenabo – Pinto bean soup

12.  Mskomin – Raspberry 

A Mskomin is animate when growing on the bush, and inanimate when picked.

Mskominek – Animate Raspberries

Mskominen – Inanimate Raspberries

Gode mskominek – These raspberries (animate)

Node mskominen – These raspberries (inanimate)

Mskominek gi yawik – Those are raspberries (animate)

Mskominen ni yawnon – Those are raspberries (inanimate)

13.  Wishkbabo – Soda Pop 

Wishkbabo is the word for a traditional drink made from maple syrup.  It is now used to describe soda pop and other sweet soft drinks. 

Mishen i wishkbabo – Give me a soda

Byédweshen i wishkbabo – Bring me a soda

Gdeton ne anet wishkbabo? – Do you have any/some soda?

Naden i wishkbabo – Get me a soda

Ni pi je i wishkbabo? – Where is the soda?

14.  Waskek – Pepper 

Wask describes something that is strong in taste.

Mishen i waskek – Give me the pepper

Byédweshen i waskek – Bring me the pepper

Byénen moshen i waskek – Pass me the pepper

Ni pi je i waskek? – Where is the pepper?

Mégwa ne waskek? – More pepper? 

15.  Ziwtagen – Salt 

Ziw describes something that is tart and sour in taste.

Ziwtagnegé – To Use Salt

Mishen i ziwtagen – Give me the salt

Byédweshen i ziwtagen – Bring me the salt

Dapnen i ziwtagen – Pick up the salt

Ni pi je i ziwtagen? – Where is the salt?

Mégwa ne ziwtagen? – More salt? (do you want more salt?)

16.  Mshimen – Apple 

An apple, like many other plant foods, can be animate or inanimate, depending on whether it is connected to its life source.

Mshimnek – (Animate) Apples (connected to their life source – the tree)

Mshimnen – (Inanimate) Apples (disconnected and in the process of dying)

Gode mshimnek – These (animate) apples

Node mshimnen – These (inanimate) apples

Mshimnek gi yawik – Those are apples (animate)

Mshimnen ni yawnon – Those are apples (inanimate)

17.  Wawen – Egg 

Wawnon – Eggs

Ni pi je ni wawnon? – Where are the eggs?

Gdeton ne i wawen? – Do you have an egg?

Mkwemitaswenek ni wawnon – The eggs are in the fridge 

Wawnon nwi zaskokwadanen – I will fry eggs

Wawnon nwi gbatonen – I will boil/poach eggs

18.  Gzezan – To reheat something (inanimate)

Nde gzezan anet gapi – I am reheating some coffee

Ngi gzezan i bidimbop – I reheated that chicken soup

Zaskokwadék gwi gzezan ne? – Will you reheat that frybread?

Ni zawjisésen nwi gzezanen – I will reheat those carrots

Seksimbop gi gzezan weye – Someone reheated the venison soup

Marion Perrote mentioned a related verb, Gzhékwé, which means to reheat leftovers in general.  Gsezwa would be abother way to say to reheat something.

  Gzhékwén i mbop – reheat that soup

  Gsezwan i mbop – reheat that soup

19.  Shegagosh – Onion 

Shegagoshek – Onions

Ngi zaskokwanak anet shegagoshek – I fried some onions

Shegagoshek nwi zaskokwanak – I will fry some onions

Byédweshen anet shegagoshek – Bring me some onions

Ni pi je gi shegagoshek? – Where are the onions?

Éshegago – Place of the wild onion

20.  Skebgyamen – Green Pepper

Not to be confused with Waskek – Black Pepper

Skebgyamnen – Green Peppers

Mishen i skebgyamen – Give me a green pepper

Byédweshen anet skebgyamnen – Bring me some green peppers

Ni pi je ni skebgyamnen – Where are the green peppers?

Gdetonen anet skebgyamnen? – Do you have any green peppers?

Nénmoshen i skebgyamen – Hand me that green pepper

21.  Éshkwedmo – Watermelon 

Éshkwedmomen – Watermelons

Mishen i éshkwedmo – Give me a watermelon

Nénmoshen i éshkwedmo – Hand me a watermelon

Byédweshen i éshkwedmo – Bring me a watermelon

Ni pi je ni éshkwedmomen? – Where are the watermelons?

22.  Mskwejimen – Tomato 

Mskwejimnen – Tomatoes

Mishen i mskwejimen – Give me a tomato

Nénmoshen i mskwejimen – Hand me a tomato

Byédweshen i mskwejimen – Bring me a tomato

Ni pi je ni mskwejimnen? – Where are the tomatoes?

Gégo wisneken ni mskwejimnen – Don’t eat the tomatoes

23.  Mshiké – Turtle 

Mshiké describes a “snapping turtle”, different than a box turtle or a red bellied turtle – mskwakés ( literally red chested).

Mshiké ngi wabma ibe – I saw a turtle over there

Mshiké nwi o wabma ibe – I will go over there and see a turtle

Ni pi je o mshiké – Where is the turtle?

Mbesek o mshiké – The turtle is by the lake

Mshikéyek – Turtles

Ni pi je gi mshikéyek? – Where are the turtles?

24.  Zisbakwet – Maple Sugar 

Mezwéyak – Maple Sugar Cakes

Begodé – Maple Taffy

Shenamesh – Maple Tree

Ininiteg – literally: man tree in Ojibwa, but they use it for the maple tree. There is a whole teaching on this tree and the meaning of the name it was given to describe it’s characteristics.

Bézgwaboté – Maple Syrup

Ziwagmedé – Maple Syrup

25.  Mbéjisjegen – Baking Powder 

Ni pi je i mbéjisjegen – Where is the baking powder?

Gdeton ne anet mbéjisjegen – Do you have some baking powder?

Cho ndetosi anet mbéjisjegen – I don’t have any baking powder.

Mishen i mbéjisjegen – Give me the baking powder.

Byédweshen i mbéjisjegen – Bring me the baking powder.

26.  Gigo – Fish 

Gigos – Little Fish

Gigoyek – Fish (plural)

Gigosek – Little Fishes

Nwi gbashma ode gigo – I will cook this fish

Nwi gbashmak gode gigoyek – I will cook these fish

27.  Bidi – Chicken 

Bidik – Chickens

Ke’akwa – Chicken (another word)

Nabésé – Rooster

Bidi nde gbashma – I am cooking chicken

Bidik nde gbashmak – I am cooking chickens

28.  Béskesi – Goose

Béskesiyek – Geese

Gwabma ne o béskesi? – Do you see the goose?

Gnodwa ne o béskesi? – Do you hear the goose?

Nwabma o béskesi – I see the goose

Ngi wabma o béskesi – I saw the goose

Cho nwabmasi o béskesi – I don’t see the goose

Cho ngi wabmasi o béskesi – I didn’t see the goose

This word does not refer to the Canadian Goose.  There are as many words for geese as there are species of geese. 

Nika – goose

Gche nika – large goose

Ikago – Canadian goose

29.  Mshiwé – Elk (male)

Gwabma ne o mshiwé? – Do you see the elk?

Gi wabma ne o mshiwé? – Did you see the elk?

Gnodwa ne o mshiwé? – Do you hear the elk?

Gi nodwa ne o mshiwé – Did you hear the elk?

Cho ngi wabmasi o mshiwé – I didn’t see the elk

Cho ngi nodwasi o mshiwé – I didn’t hear the elk

Do not confuse this word with Mshewé – which means Cottontail Rabbit.

30.  Siswémen – Sweet Cherry 

Siswémnen – Sweet Cherries

Ziwnwésmen – Chokecherry

Ziwnwésmnen – Chokecherries

Ziwnwen – Sour Grape; Sour Cherry

Ziwnwenen – Sour Grapes; Sour Cherries

31.  Gtegan – Garden 

Gteganés – small garden, flower bed

Gtegankiwen – Field

Gteganké – To do some gardening

Nwi gteganké wabek – I will do some gardening tomorrow

Ngi gteganké wnago – I did some gardening yesterday

Ngi gteganké bégishek wnago – I gardened all day yesterday

32.  Getémi – Porcupine 

Getémik -Porcupines

Getémis – Little Porcupine

Getémisek – Little Porcupines

Gwabma ne o getémi? – Do you see the porcupine?

Éhé, nwabma o getémi – Yes, I see the porcupine

Nasana o getémi! – Watch out for the porcupine!

Getémimbop, Porcupine soup, is actually quite delicious.

33.  Mnomen – Rice; Wild Rice

Actually means the “good seed”.

Wabmnomen – White Rice

Mnomneké – To Go Ricing

Nwi mnomneké – I will go ricing

Nwi mnomneké wabek – I will go ricing tomorrow

Mbesek nwi zhya éwi mnomnekéyan – I will go to the lake to go ricing

 34.  Peki – Partridge 

Pekiyek – Partridges

Ggi wabma ne o peki? – Did you see that partridge?

Ggi nodwa ne o peki? – Did you hear that partridge?

Ggi nsa ne o peki? – Did you kill that partridge?

Peki wiyas – partridge meat

35.  Gokosh – Pig 

Gokoshés – Piglet

Gokoshek – Pigs

Gokoshések – Piglets

Gokoshwiyas – Pork, ham, bacon, sausage

Gokoshpekwasen – Pork spare ribs

Ggi nodwa ne o gokoshés? – Did you hear that piglet?

Ni pi je o gokoshés – Where is the piglet?

 36.  Moto – Goat 

Motosés – Little Goat

Motoyek – Goats

Motowiyas – Goat meat

Ggi nodwa ne o moto? – Did you hear that goat?

Ggi wabma ne o moto – Did you see that goat?

Ni pi je o moto – Where is the goat?

37.  Mantanish – Sheep 

Mantanishek – Sheep (plural)

Mantanishés – Lamb

Mantanishwiyas – Mutton

Mantanishnene – Shepherd

Ngi wabma o mantanish wnago – I saw that sheep yesterday

Ngi wabma o mantanishnene wnago – I saw that shepherd yesterday

Gnodwa ne o mantanish – Do you hear that sheep?

38.  Wisne – To eat 

Nwisen – I eat

Gwisen – You eat

Wisne – He/she eats

Nwisnemen – We (but not you) eat

Gwisnemen – We all eat

Gwisnem – You all eat

Wisnewak – They eat

39.  Kojés – Bean 

Kojések – Beans

Nde gbashmak gode kojések – I am cooking these beans

Ngi gbashmak gode kojések – I cooked these beans

Ngi gbashmak gi kojések – I cooked those beans

Gi kojések ngi gbashmak – I cooked those beans

Wnago gi kojések ngi gbashmak – I cooked those beans yesterday

Don’t confuse this word with Kojis – which means Headlouse.

40.  Pen – Potato 

Penyék or Penik – Potatoes

Ngom nwi wjandak gi penyék – I will cook these potatoes today

Nwi wjandak gi penyék ngom – I will cook these potatoes today

Nwi wjandak ngom gi penyék – I will cook these potatoes today

Gi penyék ngom nwi wjandak – I will cook these potatoes today

Gi penyék nwi wjandak ngom – I will cook these potatoes today

41.  Bkedé – He/she is hungry 

Mbekdé – I am hungry

Gbekdé ne – Are you hungry?

Bkedéwak – They are hungry

Nbektémen – We/not you are hungry

Gbektémen – We all are hungry

Gi bkedé – He/she was hungry

Cho mbektési – I’m not hungry

42.  Bidapkowébna – To put something animate in the oven 

Bidapkowebnan – To put something inanimate in the oven

Ngi bidapkowebna o bidi – I put that chicken in the oven

Ngi bidapkowebnak gi penik – I put those potatoes in the oven

Ngi bidapkowebnan i wiyas – I put that meat in the oven

Ngi bidapkowebnanen ni zawjisésen – I put those carrots in the oven

43.  Wjanda – To cook 

Ngi wjanda ode bidi – I cooked this chicken

Ngi wjandak gode penik – I cooked these potatos

Ngi wjandon i wiyas – I cooked that meat

Ngi wjandowen ni zawjisésen – I cooked those carrots

44.  Gbashma – To cook 

Nde gbashma ode bidi – I’m cooking this chicken

Nde gbashmak gode penyek – I’m cooking these potatos

Nde gbaton i wiyas – I’m cooking that meat

Nde gbatonen node zawjisésen – I’m cooking these carrots

Note:  There are several words that mean “to cook” in Potawatomi.   Gbashma generally means to cook by boiling, sautéing, or simmering, usually on the stove top.

45.  Zaskokwana – To fry something (animate)

Zaskokwaden – To fry something (inanimate)

Ngi zaskokwaden i wiyas – I fried that meat

Ngi zaskokwana o gigo – I fried that fish

Ngi zaskokwadanen anet negeshen – I fried some bologna

Ngi zaskokwanak gi gigosek – I fried those fish

Ngi zaskokwaden i bkwéshgen – I fried that bread

46.  Minké – He/she is picking berries 

Nwi minké – I will pick berries

Nwi minké wabek – I will pick berries tomorrow

Nwi minké ibe wabek – I will pick berries over there tomorrow

Nwi minké nomek ibe wabek – I will pick berries for a while over there tomorrow

Gnebech nwi minké nomek ibe wabek – Maybe I will pick berries for a while over there tomorrow

47.  Pekwasen – Spare Ribs 

Pekwasen are a part of an animal, and are assumed inanimate, especially if they are about to be cooked.

Pekwasenen – Spare Ribs (more than one set)

I pekwasen – That (set of) Spare Ribs

Ni pekwasenen – Those Spare Ribs (several sets)

Gokosh pekwasen – Pork Spare Ribs

Nde gbaton i pekwasen – I am cooking spare ribs

48.  Seksi – Deer 

Seksi is a generic term for deer, there are other words for specific types of deer. Seksi is animate, but when you add wiyas to it, it becomes inanimate (deer meat).

Gi Seksiyek – Those Deer (animate)

Ni Seksi wiyasen – Those pieces of deer meat (inanimate)

Seksi o yawe – That is a deer (animate)

Seksi wiyas i yawen – That is deer meat (inanimate)

Nwi gbashma o seksi – I will cook that deer (animate)

Nwi gbaton i seksi wiyas – I will cook that deer meat (animate)

Wawashkeshi – White-Tail Deer

Yabé – Buck

Nijan – Doe

Gedgené – Fawn

49. Kwesman – Squash 

Kwesman is animate while it is growing and attached to the plant.  Once picked, it is inanimate.

Kwesmanek – Animate Squash

Kwesmanen – Inanimate Squash

Gode kwesmanek – These squash (animate)

Node kwesmanen – These squash (inanimate)

Kwesmanek gi yawik – These are squash (animate)

Kwesmanen ni yawnon – These are squash (inanimate)

50. Zawjisés – Carrot 

Carrots are animate when growing in the earth, and inanimate when taken from the earth.

Zawjisések- Carrots (animate, growing)

Zawjisésen – Carrots (inanimate, no longer connected to the earth)

Gode zawjisések – These carrots (animate)

Node zawjisésen – These carrots (inanimate)

Zawjisések gi yawik – Those are carrots (animate)

Zawjisésen ni yawnon – Those are carrots (inanimate)

51.  Dé’men – Strawberry 

A Dé’men can also be animate or inanimate, depending on whether or not it is connected to its life source.

Literally means “heart berry”.

Dé’menek – Strawberries (animate)

Dé’menen – Strawberries (inanimate)

Gode Dé’menek – These Strawberries (animate)

Node Dé’menen – These Strawberries (inanimate)

Dé’menek gi yawik – Those are strawberries (animate)

Dé’menen ni yawnon – Those are strawberries (inanimate)

 52.  Mbop – Soup 

Seksi mbop – Venison Soup

Bidi mbop – Chicken Soup

Kojeswabo – Bean Soup

 Peniwabo – Potato Soup

Mdamnabo – Corn Soup

Mnejimnabo – Pea Soup

What we come to believe about ourselves

Edebwetagzemen ge ninan eneshnabeweyak/ygo

We believe in ourselves as neshnabek.

Edebwetagzeyan ge nin eneshnabe’eyawyan

I believe in myself as a neshnabe.

Edebwetagzeyan ge nin eneshnabemyan

I believe I can speak Indian…..

Edebwetagzeyan ge gin eneshnabemyen

I believe you can speak Indian….

Edebwetagzeyan ge ginwa eneshnabemyek

I believe you all can speak Indian.

Gdebwetagzeyek ne eneshnabemyek

Do you all believe you can speak Indian?

Ni je ekedyan dog I neshnabemwen

How do you say dog in Indian?

Ni je nda kedyan wolf I neshnabemwen

How would I say wolf in Indian?

Ni je eshne kadeg I neshnabemwen

What is it called in Indian? (inanimate)

Ni je eshne kazot o I neshnabemwen

What is its name in Indian?  (animate)

Daga mine kedon

Please say that again!

Mine I gda ket

Could you say that again?

Noj be dan ge donen i

Could you say that slower/more carefully?

Cho gnestotnon

I don’t understand you!

Ni je ektoyen

What are you saying?

Nde neshnabem, gin je

I speak Indian, do you?

I ye I ne gweyak

Is that the way?

Ndew nendan ekedyan i

I forgot how to say it.

Daga natewa o

Please ask him/her!

Daga widmo o

Please tell him/her!

Daga gda widmowa o

You should tell him/her!

Widmoshen wegni je yawen i

Tell me what that is.

Cho nge kendesin i

I don’t know what it is.

Ni je eshne kadeg I:

Table                                      dopwen

Basket                                     gokbenagen

Closet                                     taswen

Car                                          dabyan

Door                                       shkwadem

Window                                 wasechgen

Shelf                                       deskjegen                              

Oven                                       bidapkewebnen

Can                                         biwabken/biwabkos                                

Bottle                                      mode

Pencil                                     mbyegewen/shebyegen

Radio                                      wabnotagjegen

Television                              msenatsetagjegen

Stove                                      shkapkesgen

Computer                               zhobnotagjegen

Refrigerator                            kwemimkek

Nail                                         ske’egen

Hammer                                  bkejgasen                              

Saw                                         gishkpojgen

Axe                                         kemsagen

Ladder                                    kwedasiwagen

Frying pan                              zaskowan

Paper                                      msenegen

Book                                       msenaken

Sled                                        zhoshkwejgen

Poster                                     msenakagen

Light                                       waskonewen

Glasses                                   skizhgoshgajgenen

Cup                                         gwabgen/gwabgas

Dish                                        wnagen

Yanmeat – to threaten s.o.

Yanmeajgewen – threat  (n.)

Yanmeajmo – threaten  (vta)

Yajmat – tattle on s.o.

Zamdonwe – h/s talks too much.

Gzamdon – you talk too much!

Ndagsegewnen – voices.

Mzenatsegnen – images.

Mzenatsegen – picture.

Mzenatkezen – poster.

Pshkwenake – to miss s.t. as in shooting at s.t. or s.o.

Shkwaz – sound of a voice.

Mneshkwzo – h/s has a good voice.

Tagwze – sounds like/referring to s.o.’s voice or sound.

Gishkne gwewiyan – vest/clothing or garment without sleeves.

Eje bmengazwat – home  (va)  where they’re being taken care of.

Benegen – vinegar.

Jejeket – cry like a baby; sometimes used as cry baby!

Zamkeges – you are overly foolish!

Gsabyenaye – to baptize s.o./literally, to dip s.o.

Ge zhebawi o – h/s is an early riser!

Epijbkes – to immerse….

Epij bkezo – h/s is immersed!

Epij bkezwat – they are immersed.

Bin dawbawdon – to soak s.t. to clean.

Bin dawbawdwa – soak s.o. to clean them….

Ziga andaw – to baptize….

Bkezo’andaw – to immerse, as in baptize…

Gsabyenaye – to baptize s.o. or s.t., as to immerse totally!

Wangesewen – dimple.

Menins – pimple.

Myanagewen – wound

Wati – blood clot.

Menisewen – pus.

Webnamen – to push s.t.

Nwi o she webnamen – we are going to push h/h as in a vehicle.

Gwi o she webnamen – we are going to push h/h…. we + u.

Debnake o penojes bwamshe epekshet zhi ngoji

Reach out for that little one before they fall somewhere…

Get Creative:

Casket                                              jibewmkek

Hubcap                                            dodabwiwkwan

Shoelace                                          dosdap

Tweezers                                          dakonjegen                                                        

Thimble                                           gandagwaswen/gatakwaswen

Pin cushion                                     zhabnegenpekwashmowen

Cell phone                                       biwabdomagen

Floor lamp                                       mjikwaskonenjegen

Door knob                                       ishkwadewzagnegen

Key                                                   shkapke’gen

Pull switch                                       wikbdonjegen

On-off switch                                  atebdonjegen                        

The small hand on a clock             shenosdbegen

The big hand on a clock                 gcheshenodbegen

Business card                                  anokiwmsenegas

Bicycle                                             nizhoditibiwebishkegen

Motor cycle                                     nizhoditibiwebishkedabyan

Tractor                                             gtegewdabyan

Bull dozer                                        gchegatiwnakiwdabyan

What we come to understand at home

Ebyénsetoyak Edayak

What we come to understand at home

Donald and Dolores Perrot



Lesson 1:  Dokin!  Wake Up!. 5

Animate vs. Inanimate. 6

Idioms…. 7

Lesson 2:  Gzinjén! Wash up!. 9

Body Parts. 10

Conversation Sample. 11

Lesson 3:  Biskonyén!  Get Dressed!. 13

Making Inanimate Things Plural 15

Lesson 4:  Gzhéba wisnewen! Breakfast! 17

Expressing “we” with verbs. 18

Using Animate Nouns. 19

Using Animate and Inanimate Verbs. 20

Phrase Work Exercise. 21

Lesson 5:  Ézhyét éje mikchéwit – He/She is going to where he/she works. 23

Telling Time. 24

Other Time Words. 25

Lesson 6:  Wi Skonowat Gi Penojék – Those kids are going to school 27

A School Day Conversation. 28

Information Questions. 30

Lesson 7:  Éje giwéyak – As we go home. 32

Expressing our feelings. 35

Lesson 8:  Ge Wisnemen Let’s Eat. 38

Table Manners. 38

Lesson 9:  Ge Binjegémen! Let’s Clean Up!. 42

Colors in Potawatomi 44

Lesson 10:  Gda nwéshmomen – We should rest. 46

Zhewébze and Zhewébek. 48

Wabdan, Wabma and Wabmek. 49

Lesson 11:  Cho mno yési. I don’t feel good. 50

Manipulating Body Parts. 52

Lesson 12:  Wi Ne Mban!  Go to Sleep!. 54

You are More Important than Me. 56

A Good Night Song. 57


Growing up in a traditional community, I did not go to school to learn my language.  I learned it at home.  I was surrounded by it from my mother’s womb.  I learned to speak naturally as a toddler, listening to the baby talk and colloquialisms of the day.  I was able to converse in 5 Neshnabék languages by the time I was six.  Multilingualism was the norm of day, when everyone spoke each other’s language and could understand what was said in one language while responding in another.  Mutual communication and respect of each other’s differences was inherent among us.

I first learned English at the age of 6…at school.   I did not just take English lessons.  I was immersed in it.  Every communication I had with my teachers, my peers, the bus drivers, the lunch ladies, the aides and custodians, all had to be in the target language:  English.  So I learned quickly, not because I had a set of 12 easy lessons, but because it was required for my survival. 

I remember with some sadness the first time I met Neshnabék people who did not speak their language.  As a young man, I approached a group of people who clearly looked “Indian” to me, only to find with much dismay that they could not understand any of the languages that I spoke.  They only understood English.  That first experience led to many, and I have witnessed first hand the decline and near disappearance of the languages of my childhood.

I have been steadfastly working with anyone who will take the time to learn the Potawatomi language for most of my life, from that first group of Neshnabék who asked me to translate what I had said to them, until this very moment of publishing this particular manual.  Having observed all of this, I have this statement to make:

This language must be returned to the home.

It was only by survival that it was permitted to go into language classrooms and departments and classes and lessons.  That had to be, temporarily, because it was so far gone, it needed to be pulled out of the fire, so to speak.  But the time has come to return it to the home.  This manual is intended to be used AT HOME, by families who are dedicated to learning, remembering, and using this language. 

Nin se Neaseno

A.k.a. Donald A Perrot

Lesson 1:  Dokin!  Wake Up!

Let’s start with a pretty basic Potawatomi word:


Nin means I, Me, My, or Mine, depending on how you use it.  This is a really great place to start, because: 

                Potawatomi is not English.

Words, and Particles (which are pieces of words), do not work the same way in Potawatomi as they do in English.  So Nin, and it’s particle “n”, does the same work as the English words I, Me, My, or Mine.

Nin ashtekMy turn
Nin ma i waboyanThat’s my blanket
Nin gézheMe too
Ngi dokiI woke up
Ngi neshkaI shook myself awake/became aware
Ngi bsegwiI got up
Nétem nwi madmoI will pray first or first I will pray
Shote nde jibdebI’m sitting here
Ndo mbagenMy bed
Ndo mbagen nwi mneschegéI will straighten my bed
Mbagnek nde jibdebI am sitting on the bed
Megwa mbagnek nde yéI am still in bed

Let’s glean from these phrases:

NounsVerbs“Nin” usesOther Words
Waboyan – blanketDoki – wake up/awakenNin – I, me, my, mineGézhe – too, also, or and.
Mbagen – bedNeshka – come to an awarenesss, fully awakenNgi – N+gi. Particles that mean “I” did something in the past.Shote – Here
 Bsegwi – get up/ariseNde – N+de.  Particles that mean “I” am presently doing something.Mbagnek – Bed Locative
 Madmo – prayNdo – N+do.  Particles that mean “my.”Nétem – First
 Jibdebe – sit (jibdeb is the nin form)Nwi – N+wi.  Particles that mean “I” will do something in the future.Mégwa – still, again, more
 Mneschegé – straighten, put in order Ma – a connecting particle
 Yé – location verb – be in a place Ashtek – a turn, take a turn
   I – that

From our gleaning, we should have the following discussion about this language:

  1. There are more verbs than nouns in Potawatomi.  Many beginner students will often ask “What is the word for…….”, and we encourage you to ask “how do I say” or “how do I use” rather than “what is the word for.”  Potawatomi is action oriented.  Many noun words are actually verb participles describing what the thing does.  Many adjectives and other concepts are verbs in Potawatomi. 
  2. Examine carefully how Nin is used.  The actual word Nin only appears in certain phrases.  When using it with verbs, the particle “n” is used for Nin. 
  3. Mbagen and Mbagnek – Potawatomi is not English.  English uses a lot of prepositions.  Potawatomi does not use prepositions the same way.  Mbagnek is a form of Mbagen that is called a Locative.  It means the location of the bed, and could be translated as “on the bed” or “at the bed.” 
  4. Mégwa has three listed meanings.  Please do not get stuck on one-word definitions or assume that each word has one meaning.  Consider words in English that have more than one meaning; the same thing exists in every language, so be flexible in your mind.  Mégwa is not “the word for” again, there are other words that can mean “again.”
  5. Ma is a connecting particle.  It does not have its own meaning; it takes its meaning from the words around it.  You will see this particle again.
  6. I is listed as “that,” but it is not the only word for “that.” The word “O” can also mean that.  These two tiny words will launch us into a discussion of animacy and inanimacy. 

Animate vs. Inanimate

Potawatomi grammar divides the world into two categories:  That which is alive, and that which is not alive. 

ANIMATE:  That which is alive, that which moves independently, that which grows, that which is connected to its source of life, that which is capable of moving or growing.

INANIMATE:  That which is not alive, that which does not move, that which cannot move independently, that which does not grow, that which has been disconnected from its source of life.   Note:  Something that is “dead” is not necessarily inanimate.  Inanimate is Not Alive, “dead” is not a proper explanation of this state. 

NOUNS CAN CHANGE ANIMATE STATES:  Many objects change animate states depending on how they are used.  In particular, plant foods and spiritual objects can take on animate or inanimate characteristics depending on the context. For example, pipes, drums, clouds, most fruits, dance bustles, snowshoes, shawls, feathers, vehicles, and thrown objects can change states of animacy.  Whether or not a noun is animate or inanimate in the moment depends on the action surrounding it. 

Now that you know that, let’s look at this word, Mbagen, an inanimate word.

Mbagen yawenIt is a bed
Mbagen ode yawenThis is a bed
Mbagen i yawenThat is a bed
Ode mbagenThis bed
I mbagenThat bed
Ndo mbagenMy bed
Nin ma ode mbagenThis is my bed
Nin ndebendan i mbagenI own that bed
In another lesson we will learn how to describe something animate.


An idiom is a word or phrase in a language that makes sense in that language but doesn’t translate well into other languages.  English is full of them.  We make a lot of stuff in English.  We make coffee, we make toys, we make tables and chairs, we make the bed, we make up our minds, we make sense, we make a fuss over something, we make messes, we make war, we make peace, we make music.  Each of these phrases makes sense in English, but they do not translate out well in Potawatomi. 

Let’s look at these two: 

Gapi ngi wzhetonI made coffee
Mbagen ngi mneschegéI made the bed
Gapi nwi o wzhetonI will go make coffee
Mbagen nwi o mneschegéI will go make the bed
WzhetonA verb of physically making something
MneschegéA verb of straightening up or putting things in order

Finally, here are some traditional morning words for you to enjoy and use:

BozhgezhépReally early morning, very early time of the morning, morning star time, around 3-4 in the morning.
GezhépEarly morning but still pre-dawn
MokékDawn – when the dark lightens and the colors begin to appear
WaséyabekSunrise – When the sunlight breaks through
GzhébaEarly morning after sunrise
WabenFull Morning, no more darkness, all is visible

Let’s see what you have learned!  Try to figure out these phrases based on what we just studied.

  1. Nin gézhe nde jibdeb shote
  2. Nwi madmo
  3. Gezhép ngi doki
  4. Gzhéba ngi neshka
  5. Nin ndebendan ode waboyan
  6. Gapi nde wzheton
  7. Nétem nwi bsegwi
  8. Mokék ngi madmo
  9. Waboyan ode yawen
  10. Gapi ode yawen
  11. Waboyan nwi o wzheton
  12. Waboyanek nde jibteb
  13. Waséyabek nwi doki
  14. Nétem nwi o mneschegé
  15. Nétem gapi nwi o wzheton
  16. Nin ndebendan ode gapi wnagen
  17. Nin ma i gapi
  18. Mégwa nde jibdeb shote
  19. Mégwa nde mneschegé
  20. Mégwa gapi nde wzheton

Lesson 2:  Gzinjén! Wash up!

Let’s look at another pretty basic Potawatomi word: 


Gin means you or your, again, depending on how you use it.  Gin is used when “you” is one person. We will learn more about plural pronouns later.  Most often when we use “you” in a sentence, we are either asking you a question, or telling you to do something.  Let’s talk about simple questions and commands.

Gin je?And you?
Gin ashtekYour turn
GzinjinWash your hands
Gwi o bkes ne?Will you go take a shower?
Ggi gziyabdé ne?Did you brush your teeth?
Gmbiwé ne?Are you wet?
Gin ma ne ode gziyabdenatek?Is this your toothbrush?
Gdo gzinjé’wenYour towel
Gdo gzinjéwgasYour washcloth
Babwijkén éje gzinjikWait at the sink
BkesonTake a shower/bath
Gzigwén                        Wash your face
NoskwetsonComb your hair
Gwinsesén kadéngénBraid your hair

Let’s glean from these phrases:

NounsVerbs“Gin” UsesOther words
Gziyabdéwen – toothbrushGzinjin – wash your handsGin – you, yourJe – a connecting particle
Gzinjé’wen – towelBkeso – Bathe, take a shower, take a bathGwi – G+wi.  Particles that mean you will do something in the futureNe – a Yes/no question mark
Gwinsesén – your hairGziyabdé – Brush teethGgi – G+gi.  Particles that mean you did something in the past.Ma – connecting particle
 Mbiwé – to be wetG- attached to a verb means you are doing something in the present. Ashtek – a turn
 Gzigwé – Wash your faceG- attached to a noun is a short way of saying something is yours.Ode – this
 Babwijké – waitGdo – G+do. Particles that mean something is yoursO – that, or go do something
 Noskwetso –comb, style, or fix one’s hair Éje gzinjik – a participle meaning sink
 Kadéngé – Braid  

From our gleanings, we shall have the following discussions about Potawatomi:

  1. Like Nin, Gin appears by itself rarely, and is most often a particle “g.”  When giving a command or instruction (imperative form), the “g” isn’t used at all, and is implied in the form. 
  2. Potawatomi is not English.  We don’t have a sink, we go to the place we wash our hands.  Éje gsinjik is a Participle, which means it is a verb that acts like a noun in a sentence. 
  3. Potawatomi is not English.  Many adjectives like Mbiwé are verbs in Potawatomi. 
  4. The tiny word “o” has more than one use.  When used with an animate noun, it means “that.”  But when placed between a pronoun/tense marker and a verb, it means someone is going to “go” do that thing. 
  5. There are two kinds of questions.  When using the particle “ne,” you are asking a question that can be answered by a simple yes or no.  There are more complicated questions that ask for information, which we will learn later.
  6. Body parts make for interesting grammar.  Let’s explore this in more detail.

Body Parts

In Potawatomi grammar, most body parts are considered inanimate.  This is because the body, which is animate, is the sum total of its parts, and individual body parts do not function on their own without the rest of the body. 

Body parts are also considered “inalienably possessed,” which has nothing to do with aliens, but means simply that they cannot be given away.  This means you will very rarely see words for body parts on their own without referencing WHO the body part belongs to. 

When using body parts in conversations, there are construct forms of body parts.  When using these, the construct forms often form body-based verbs.

Body PartConstruct FormSample VerbCommand Form
Nibden – My teethYabdé –  teethGziyabdé – Brush teethGziyabdé’on
Nenji – my handNejé – handGzinjé – wash handsGzinjin
Nzet – my footZedé – footGzinzedé – wash feetGzinzedén
Njash – my noseJané – noseGzinjané – wipe noseGzinjanén
Ndon – my mouthDoné – mouthGzindoné – wipe mouthGzindonén

While there are many obvious patterns in Potawatomi, there are also exceptions.  Not every body part falls into this pattern.  The word for My Heart, Ndéh, is considered animate. 

Conversation Sample

Babwijkén éje gzinjik Wait at the sinkShote nde babwijgé I’m waiting at the sink
Gzigwén Wash your faceNgi gish gzigwén I already washed my face
Oh?  Ggi bkes ne? Oh? Did you bathe?Éhé ngi gish bkes Yes I already bathed
Gziyabdé’on Brush your teethNgi gish gziyabdé I already brushed my teeth
Gdébwé ne? Are you being truthful?Ummm…nemetsena?
Ode ne gziyabdéwen? This your toothbrush?Éhé Yes
Cho mbiwési ode This is not wet.Ummm…  
Gziyabdé’on ngi ket I said brush your teeth.Ahau nwi gziyabdé’on OK I will brush my teeth.

A few last pointers…

“Gish” attached to a verb means something is finished or has already happened. 

“Éhé” is one way to say yes, and “Cho” means no.  To make a “not” verb, add a si to the end of it.  We will keep practicing this.

“Ngi ket” means “I said.”  There are lots of other ways to express speech in the language, this is just a start.

“Gdébwé ne?” Is a simple way to question someone as to their truthfulness.  Débwéwen means Truth.

Let’s see what you have learned!  Try to figure out these phrases based on what we just studied.

  1. Nin ma ode gzinjé’wen
  2. Ngi gish bkes
  3. Nde gzingwé
  4. Gbabwijké ne éje gzinjik?
  5. Ggi gish noskwetso ne?
  6. Nwinsesén nwi o kadéngé
  7. Ode ne gdo gzinjéwgas?
  8. Nin ndebendan ode gziyabdéwen
  9. Gin gdebendan ne i gziyabdéwen?
  10. Gin ashtek o bkeson
  11. Ndébwé
  12. Débwén!
  13. Babwijkén ngi ket!
  14. Ode se njash
  15. Jibdeben
  16. Dokin!
  17. Neshkan!
  18. Gwi doki ne?
  19. Mégwa ne mbagnek gde yé?
  20. Madmon

Lesson 3:  Biskonyén!  Get Dressed! 

Let’s continue to focus on these two words: 

                Nin and Gin.

Here are some phrases about getting dressed:

BiskonyénGet dressed
GiskonyénGet undressed
Bisken odePut this on
Gisken iTake that off
AskonyénChange your clothes
Bisken i biskewagenPut on that shirt/jacket
Bisken i wiwkwanPut on that cap
Bisken i mjegodéPut on that dress
Zenba biskewagen nde biskemI am wearing a ribbon shirt
Ndo mishatsowen nwi biskemI will wear my regalia
Mkesnen ne gwi biskem?Will you wear shoes?
I wiwkwan ne ggi biskem?Did you wear that hat?
Gisken i wiwkwanTake off that cap
Askon i biskewagenChange that shirt
Ode se ndo moshwéThis is my shawl
Nin ma node biskemwenenThese are my clothes
Askon gdo badoshkgadékChange your underwear
Séchken nwi wzhetonI will make a woman’s traditional blouse
Mjedasnen gwi wzhetonen ne?Will you make leggings?
Ndo gbedi nwi o askenI will go change my pants
Gokmedasnen nwi o biskenI will go put on socks

Let’s break down these phrases and see what we have:

NounsVerbPronoun UsesOther words
Biskewagen – a shirt, jacket, or coatBiskonyé – get dressedCommand forms have “you” impliedOde – This
Wiwkwan – capGiskonyé – Get undressedNgi – N+gi. Particles that mean “I” did something in the past.I – That (inanimate)
Mjegodé – DressBisken – put something onNde – N+de.  Particles that mean “I” am presently doing something.Ne – a Yes/no question mark
Zenba – ribbonGisken – take something offNdo – N+do.  Particles that mean “my.”Ma – connecting particle
Mishatsowen – regalia or fancy clothingAskonyén – change clothingNwi – N+wi.  Particles that mean “I” will do something in the future.O – that, or go do something
Mkesnen – shoesAsken – Change a specific article of clothing.  Askon is the command form.Gwi – G+wi.  Particles that mean you will do something in the futureNode = These (inanimate things)
Moshwé – ShawlBiskem – wear somethingGgi – G+gi.  Particles that mean you did something in the past.Badoshkgadék – Underwear.  This is a participle.
Séchken – woman’s traditional blouseWzheto – To make somethingG- attached to a verb means you are doing something in the present.  
Mjedasnen – leggings N- or G- attached to a noun is a short way of saying something is mine or yours. 
Gbediyen – pants Gdo – G+do. Particles that mean “your” 
Gokmedasnen – socks   

From our gleaning, we have the following lessons to learn:

  1. Plenty of nouns to work with this time, eh?  There are nouns in this language, there are just more verbs, so we started with verbs.
  2. Much of this lesson is a review of concepts we have already learned.  We are just putting the pronouns into new contexts. 
  3. Most articles of clothing are considered inanimate, especially in the context of getting dressed or undressed.  However, be aware that many dance articles and special accoutrements can be animate when in use, such as shawls, bustles, snowshoes, and gloves.               
  4. Badoshkgadék is a participle, which is a verb that is functioning as a noun in a sentence.  Badoshkgadék, translated as underwear, means That which is worn between you and your clothes.
  5. There is a difference in the verbs when we get dressed or undressed generally, and we when we interact with specific articles of clothing.  When we do something with a specific article of clothing, it is called “transitive” because the action transfers from the person to the object. 
  6. There are clothing items that are singular and clothing items that are plural. Most of the time when you make something inanimate plural, an extra “n” sound is added. Let’s explore this further:

Making Inanimate Things Plural

OneMore than One
Gokmedas (sock)Gokmedasnen (socks)
Gokmedasen (sock)Gokmedasnen (socks)
Mjedasen (legging)Mjedasnen (leggings)
Mjegodé (dress)Mjegodéyen (dresses)
Mkesen (shoe)Mkesnen (shoes)
Gbedi (pants)Gbediyen (pants)
Biskewagen (shirt or jacket)Biskewagnen (shirts or jackets)
Mishatsowen (regalia or fancy clothes)Mishatsownen (fancy clothing)
Wiwkwan (cap)Wiwkwanen (caps)
Moshwé (shawl)Moshwéyen (shawls)
Séchken (traditional blouse)Séchknen (traditional blouses)

Let’s see what you have learned!  Try to figure out these phrases based on what we just studied.

  1. Ode se ndo mjegodé
  2. Ndo mjegodé nwi o bisken
  3. Ndo mjegodé nde biskem
  4. Séchken ne gwi wzheton?
  5. Nwi o askonyé                 
  6. Ndo gokmedasnen nwi o asken
  7. Node ne gdo mkesnen?
  8. Gisken gdo mkesnen     
  9. Gisken gdo biskewagen
  10. Ode mishatsowen ngi wzheton
  11. O askonyén
  12. Waboyan nwi o bisken
  13. Mégwa ne i biskewagen gde biskem?
  14. Séchken ode yawen
  15. Ode se ndo mishatsowen
  16. Gisken gdo mkesnen shote
  17. Mneschegén node biskemwenen
  18. Mbiwé ode wiwkwan
  19. Ndo gzinjé’wen nde biskem mteno!  (mteno means “only”)
  20. Babwijken, nwi o biskonyé! (giskonyé or askonyé)

Lesson 4:  Gzhéba wisnewen! Breakfast!

Let’s look at our first 2 plural pronouns:

                Ninan and Ginan

Ninan means we, us, or ours.  Ginan means we, us, or ours.  They are used in different contexts depending on who is talking and who is listening.  Ninan is used when the speaker wants to exclude someone from the statement, usually whoever is considered “you.” Ginan is used when the speaker wants to include everyone in the statement. 

Wawnon ngi zaskokwadanenI fried eggs
Wawnon ngi zaskokwadamenWe- fried eggs
Penyek nwi zaskokwanakI will fry potatoes
Penyek nwi zaskokwanamenWe- will fry eggs
Gapi gde wzhetonYou are making coffee
Gapi gde wzhetomenWe+ are making coffee
Gwi gapiké ne?Will you make coffee?
Gwi gapikémen ne?Will we+ make coffee?
Negshisen nde gisnenI am cooking sausages
Negshisen nde gisamenWe- are cooking sausages
Bidi nde giswaI am cooking chicken
Bidi nde giswamenWe- are cooking chicken
Wawnon nde wisenI am eating eggs
Wawnon nde wisnemenWe- are eating eggs
Wawnon nde mijenI am eating eggs
Wawnon nde mijnemenWe- are eating eggs
Wawnon gde mijnemenWe+ are eating eggs
Ge wisnemenLet’s eat
Penyek nde mwaI am eating potatoes
Penyek nde mwamenWe- are eating potatoes
Penyek gde mwamenWe+ are eating potatoes

From these phrases let’s glean the following:

NounsVerbsNinan/Ginan usesOther words
Wawnon – eggsZaskokwadan – fry something inanimateN+gi+verb+men means we- did somethingNe – yes/no question mark
Penyek – PotatoesZaskokwana – fry something animateN+wi+verb+men means we- will do something 
Negshisen – sausagesWzheton – make somethingG+de+verb+men means we+ are doing something 
Gapi – coffeeGapiké – make coffeeG+wi+verb+men means we+ will do something 
Mkekwabo – another word for coffeeGisen – Cook something inanimateGe+verb+men means Let’s do something 
 Giswa – Cook something animate  
 Wisen – Eat  
 Mijen – Eat something inanimate  
 Mwa – Eat something animate  

There are 2 major themes in these phrases: 

  1. How to use “we” with verbs
  2. The difference between animate and inanimate nouns and verbs

Expressing “we” with verbs

There is a pattern for expressing “we” with verbs:  n(or g) + tense particle + verb + men.  You probably were not expecting math, but when you learn patterns, you don’t have to memorize long lists of phrases.  If you know your verb, and you know your pronouns, then you can quickly make conversation, just like you do in the language you use daily. 

Use Ninan when you want to exclude your listener from what you are doing.  For example:  wawnon ngi zaskokwadamen would mean We fried eggs but not you, just us, you didn’t do it.  Use Ginan when you want to include your listener.  For example:  wawnon gde mijnemen would mean we are all eating eggs including you.  When you use something like “Ge wisnemen,” meaning “Let’s eat,” this is a Ginan form, everyone is included. 

Using Animate Nouns

Pen yaweIt is a potato
Pen ode yaweThis is a potato
Pen o yaweThat is a potato
Ode penThis potato
O penThat potato
Ndo penMy pen
Nin ma ode penThis is my potato
Nin ndebenma o penI own that potato

When something animate becomes plural, a -k sound is attached to the end.  Do not assume that all nouns that end in -k are animate plurals.  Some are locatives, and some are participles. 

Pen – potatoPenyék or PenikAnimate noun
Bidi – chickenBidikAnimate noun
Shkishek – eyesShkishgwénInanimate noun
Badoshkadék – underwear Inanimate Participle
Bémadzet – PersonBémadsejekAnimate Participle
Mbagnek – at the bed Locative
Kakawsoyak – Popcorn Inanimate Participle
Gigo – fishGigoyekAnimate noun
Gishek – dayGishgwénInanimate noun
Wigwam – houseWigwamenInanimate noun
WIgwamek – at the house Locative
Nene – manNenwikAnimate noun
Kwé – womanKwékAnimate noun
GIgabé – boyGigabék or GigabéyekAnimate noun
Gigyago – girlGigyagok or gigyagoyekAnimate noun

Using Animate and Inanimate Verbs

When you interact with things in Potawatomi, grammar requires you to consider whether they are alive or not.

Wawen nde zaskokwadanI am frying an eggInanimate
Wawnon nde zaskokwadanenI am frying eggsInanimate plural
Wawnon nde zaskokwadamenWe are frying eggsInanimate plural – the verb is more worried about the people being plural than the eggs
Pen nde zaskokwanaI am frying a potatoAnimate
Penik nde zaskokwanakI am frying potatoesAnimate plural
Penik nde zaskokwanamenWe are frying potatoesAnimate plural – the verb is more worried about the people being plural than the potatoes

It is very easy to memorize words and phrases, but this is not how you learn to speak a language.  When we were babies, first born into this world, our incredible minds that we were given were like empty sponges.  They soaked up all the sound and meanings and nuances all around us.  As little toddlers, we pretty much understood everything that was spoken to us, and as we grew and stood on two legs, we suddenly began making noises and those noises had meaning, and then one day, we surprised our parents by shouting out something we heard them say.  We might not have known the full meaning, but we knew that it meant something by the reaction we got!  And we kept talking and kept talking, until language was fully formed in our brains, and meaning and symbolism settled in. 

Learning a second language is going through this process all over again, except our minds are not empty sponges waiting to soak something up, they are full and overloaded sponges that can only take so much more at a time.  In order to truly learn a second language, we do not just memorize words and compare them to our first language, we must learn the patterns of the second language (called grammar), the meaning of the words (vocabulary), and the symbolism of the language (culture). 

We should not be satisfied with a one word definition of a word in the language.  Each of these words mean so much more than their simple English definition, and they can have multiple meanings based on the context.   We should not be satisfied with learning one phrase, but we should be able to pull apart the pieces of that phrase and use it to create more phrases that have meaning and context.

Phrase Work Exercise

Here are some phrases that are missing a piece.  Make as many phrases as you can out of these building blocks.  Look on the next page for some ideas for words…or use ones you already know.

  1.  Hé! Nasana!  ______________________ nde zaskokwadamen shote!

Hey! Be careful! We are frying ____________ here!

(make sure that whatever you are frying is inanimate)

  • Hé! Nasana!  _______________________ nde zaskokwanamen shote!

Hey! Be careful! We are frying ______________ here!

(make sure that whatever you are frying is animate)

  • Mbekté ne?  __________________ ngi gisamen

Are you hungry?  We cooked ___________________.

(something inanimate)

  • Mbekté ne? __________________ ngi giswamen

Are you hungry? We cooked ___________________.

(something animate)

  • Cho ____________ ngi wisnesi

I didn’t eat ________________ (inanimate)

  • Cho ____________ ngi mwasi

I didn’t eat ________________ (animate)

  • ____________________ ngi mijnemen

We ate ___________________________ (inanimate)

  • ____________________ ngi mwamen

We are ________________________ (animate)

Some Animate and Inanimate foods for use in the exercise: 
Bidi – chickenBidi wiyasen – pieces of chicken
Gigo – fishMshimnen  – apples, processed or not so fresh
Gokosh – pigGokosh wiyasen – pieces of pork, can be ham
Dé’menek – fresh strawberriesDé’menen – not so fresh strawberries, or processed strawberries (cut, frozen, mashed, etc)
Seksi – deerBashkmen – jam
Penik – potatoesPkwéshgen – bread
Shegagoshek – onionsSeksi wiyas – pieces of venison
Kojések – beans (whole)Mbop – soup
Msesé – turkeyPeniwabo – potato soup
Bné – turkey (another word)Bidi mbop – chicken soup
Mshimnek – fresh applesMshimnabo – apple juice
Mdamnek – CornKojésen – mashed or fried beans
Participle foods:  treat these like inanimate singular nouns
Washkpek – Sugar, something sweet
Dékyak – Ice cream, something cold
Waskek – Pepper, something spicy
Zisbakwet – Maple Sugar
Kakowzoyak – Popcorn
Bneksegnek – Hominy

Lesson 5:  Ézhyat éje mikchéwit – He/She is going to where he/she works

Let’s look at another Potawatomi word:


Pronounced Ween.  It means someone else.  It can mean He, She, Him, Her, It, His, or Hers.  There is no gender attached to it.  It is simply a third person in the conversation.  Nin, Gin, Win.  Me, You, someone else.  That someone else can be a person, an animal, or any animate being.

MikchéwiHe/She is working
MIkchéwitHe/she is working OR the one who is working
Gi mikchéwiHe/she worked
Wnago gi mikchéwiHe/she worked yesterday
Wi mikchéwiHe/she will work
Wabek wi mikchéwiTomorrow he/she will work
Nétem wi mikchéwiFirst, he/she will work
Shote wi mikchéwiHe/she will work here
Mégwa wi mikchéwiHe/she is still working
Gi gish mikchéwiHe/she has finished working
Ibe gi mikchéwiHe/she worked there
Mikchéwi o n’os ngomMy father is working today
Mikchéwi o ngyé ngomMy mother is working today
Égmegishek émikchéwit o nmeshomesMy grandfather works every day
Gbégishek gi mikchéwi o nokmesMy grandmother worked all day
GméyamgetIt is raining
BonimgetIt is snowing
MnogishgetIt is a nice day
NgwankwetIt is cloudy
Gi gméyamgetIt rained
Wi bonimgetIt will snow

Let’s break these phrases apart in detail:

NounsVerbsWin usesOther words
N’os – my fatherMikchéwi – workingThe verb alone is in we form. Wnago – Yesterday
Ngyé – my motherGméyamget – it is rainingA -t at the end of a verb may be usedWabek – tomorrow
Nmeshomes – my grandfatherBonimget – It is raining Ngom – Today
Nokmes – my grandmotherMnogishget – It is a nice day Egmegishek – every day
 Ngwankwet – it is cloudy Gbégishek – All day
   Ibe – There
REVIEW:  Find the words shote, nétem, mégwa, gish, o, gi, wi in previous lessons.

We can learn the following from that breakdown

  1. Terms for our relatives are relative.  Just like our body parts always belong to us, so do our relatives.
N’osMy father
G’osYour father
W’osenHis/her father
N’osnanOur father (not yours)
G’osnanOur father (all of ours)
G’oswaY’all’s father (we will learn ginwa in the next lesson)
W’oswanTheir father (we will learn winwa in the next lesson)

This is a pattern that will be repeated, and we will practice it.

  • Unlike the other pronouns thus far, you don’t do much to a verb when He/she is doing something.  Sometimes you add a -t.  Sometimes you add a -wak.
  • The verbs listed for weather are not animate, and Win has nothing to do with them, even though they end in -t.  Many weather verbs are considered inanimate, and they describe a condition of the atmosphere, not what someone or something is doing.
  • We have 5 important new words in this lesson, which you will need going forward:
GbégishekAll day

These words can easily be practiced with the verbs and the tenses.

Telling Time

In Potawatomi, we can tell time by traditional words, or we can tell time by the clock.  Let’s start by learning numbers 1-12:

Nyannen5Mdatso shech ngot11
Ngotwatso6Mdatso shech nish12

To tell time to the hour, use “dbegenék.”  Ngot dbegenék = One O’Clock, and so on.

Other Time Words

GezhépEarly morning (pre-dawn)
GzhébaEarly morning
Bwamshe NawkwékBefore noon
GizhaptadbeketAfter midnight
BgozhgezhépVery Early Morning

Most time words fall into the category of Locative.  They mark a location in time.  This helps us know how to use them.  Here are some simple review phrases, which can help us review what we have learned so far: 

Nyanno dbegenék ngi dokiI woke up at 5:00
Géshep gi doki o n’osMy father woke up before dawn
Wi gméyamget gizhnawkwékIt will rain in the afternoon
Nin gézhe ngi doki gezhépMe too I woke up before dawn
Nawkwék ngi gish mikchéwiI finished working at noon
Zhak dbgenék wi mikchéwi o ngyéMy mother will work at 9:00
Ge wisnemen bgeshmokLet’s eat at sundown

Another fill in the blank exercise…How many phrases can you make out of these statements? 

  1. Egmegishek __________________________
  2. Gbégishek gi _________________ o nmeshomes
  3. _____________ ngi mikchéwi
  4. _____________ ngi mikchéwimen
  5. Gzhéba ngi __________________
  6. Wabek ne gwi __________________?
  7. Cho ngi ____________________ ngom
  8. Nwi ________________ nyanno dbegenék
  9. ________________ ngi biskem wnago
  10. Wawnon ngi ____________________ gzhéba
  11. Shote nmikchéwimen _______________________
  12. Ibe ngi bkes ________________________
  13. Nétem nwi ____________________________
  14. Gi gméyamget _____________
  15. _____________________ gi wisnet o ngyé
  16. _____________________ gi wzheton o nene
  17. Cho ngi mikchéwisimen ________________________
  18. Cho gi mikchéwisit o ______________ ngom
  19. Ggi _________________ ne wnago?
  20. Mégwa ________________ o gigyago

Lesson 6:  Wi Skonowat Gi Penojék – Those kids will be going to school

Our final 2 pronouns are:

Ginwa and Winwa.

Ginwa is the plural “you.”  It is often translated as y’all for convenience.  Winwa is They, Them, or Their.  Like Win, it has no attached gender. 

The difference between Gin and Ginwa:

Ggi bkes ne?Did you take a shower?Ggi bkesom ne?Did y’all take a shower?
Gwi mikchéwi ne?Will you work?Gwi mikchéwim ne?Will y’all work?
Wawnon ne gwi gisen?Will you cook eggs?Wawnon ne gwi gisam?Will y’all fry eggs?
Dokin!Wake up!Dokik!Wake up y’all!
Gégo bsegwikenDon’t get upGégo bsegwikékDon’t get up y’all

What do we notice here?

  1. When talking about Ginwa, an extra -m appears at the end of most of the verbs.  This happens in most simple verbs, and when interacting with an inanimate object. 
  2. When giving a command, instead of ending with an -n, the imperative verb ends with a -k when a command is given to more than one person
  3. Gégo! Spoken sharply means “stop” or “don’t.”  It is an idiom.  In other phrases, the word “gégo” can mean “something.”  But for purposes of telling someone NOT to do something, Gégo+verb+ken for one person, and Gégo+verb+kék for more than one person.

The difference between Win and Winwa:

Gi mikchéwi o neneThat man workedGi mikchéwik gi nenwikThose men worked
Gi wisnet o kwéThat woman ateGI wisnek gi kwékThose women ate
Gi doki o gigabéThat boy woke upGi dokik gi gigabékThose boys woke up
Gi bsegwi o gigaygoThat girl got upGi bsegwik gi gigyagoyekThose girls got up
Mjegodé gi wzheton o ngyéMy mother made a dressMjegodé gi wzhetonawa gi n’okmesekMy grandmothers made a dress

What do we notice here?

  1. When He/she becomes They, an extra k is added to the end of the verb.  It seems that certain endings are used in multiple ways and contexts. That means the listener needs to pay attention to the context of what is being said.
  2. When there is an inanimate object in the sentence, the verb ending changes to -awa if “they” are interacting with it. 

A School Day Conversation

Wgyéwan:  Hau, ge wisnemen! Gzhiwtam ne éskonoyék?Mom:  Ok, Let’s eat!  Are y’all ready for school?
Wdansen:  Ni pi je ndo mkesnen?Daughter:  Where are my shoes?
Wgwesen: Ni je wa je wisneygo?Son:  What are we gonna eat?
Wdansen: Ni je tso yawek?Daughter:  What time is it?
Wgyéwan:  Noég mine apte dbegenék, wawnon, negshisen mine kesanen gwi wisnemen, shkwadémek éték gdo mkesnen.Mom:  It’s 7:30, we are having eggs, sausage, and toast, and your shoes are by the door.
Wgwesen:  Abdek mami she nwi bya skonogemekSon: I have to arrive early to school
Wgyéwan:  NI JE WI SHE?Mom:  WHY?
Wgwesen:  Mamkaj msenegen nwi mkan égi ngetoyanSon:  I have to find a book I lost
Wdansen:  Mégwa ne kesanen gdeton?Daughter:  Do you have more toast?
Wgyéwan: Ode msenegen ne?Mom:  This book?
Wgwesen:  Oh, éhé, i yé i.Son:  Oh, yes, that’s it.
Wdansen:  Néné, megwa ne kesanen?Daughter:  Mom, More toast?
Wgyéwan:  Ézhi éték dopwenekMom:  Over there it’s on the table
Wgwesen:  Sneget éwawidayan ode msenegenSon:  It’s difficult to read this book
Wgyéwan:  Abdek kenomagwet gwi najdoMom:  You must ask your teacher
Wdansen:  Ni pi je ndo mkesnen?Daughter:  Where are my shoes?
Wgyéwan:  Shkwademek ngi ketMom:  By the door I said
Wgwesen:  Ni pi je ndo wiwkwan?Son:  Where’s my hat?
Wgyéwan:  Taswenek éték i.  Kyénep!  Byéwak o mbusen.  Bidkesnek!Mom:  It’s in the closet.  Hurry!  The bus is coming.  Get in your shoes!
Wdansen:  Cho mkesnen ngi mkanasiDaughter:  I didn’t find my shoes.
Wgyéwan:  Dbabdan shkwadémek nek she ézhi!Mom:  Check by the door look there!
Wdansen:  OH, néné, mkesnen ngi mkanen. Daughter:  Oh, mom, I found my shoes!
Wgyéwan:  Ahau, ZAGJESÉK!! Gaga wi byéwak o mbusen!  Bsedok gi kenomagéwjek mine dadokmebek!Mom:  Oh, GET OUTSIDE!  The bus is coming soon!  Listen to your teachers and behave!
Wgwesen mine wdansen:  Ok, bama nagech gwabmenan!  Gdebanmenan!Son and Daughter:  Ok, we will see you later!  We love you!

Let’s look at some of the vocabulary from this conversation:

NounsVerbsOther wordsParticles
Wgyéwan – Their MotherWisne – eatHau – greeting, acknowledgementGe – about to do something
Wdansen – Her daughterZhiwta – get readyNoég – 7Ne – yes/no question
Wgwesen – Her sonSkono – go to schoolMine – and, again, or alsoNi pi je – This combination of particles means “where”
Mkesnen – shoesYawek – it isApte – HalfNdo – N+do = my, unless the noun has a -nan at then end, then it’s “our.”
Negshisen – sausagesÉték – It is at a locationDbegenék – O’clockNi je – This combination of particles means “what” or “who.”
Kesanen – Toast (pieces)Byé/Bya – come or arriveShkwadémek – at/by the doorWa je – something happens in the future, or has a purpose
Shkwadém – doorMkan – find somethingAbdek – Have to, mustNi je tso – This combination of particles means “how many”
Skonogemek – schoolNgeton – Lose something.  Nnegton – variantMami – early or soonGwi – g+wi = you will do something, y’all will do something, or we will do something.  Check the verb.
Msenegen – book or paperSneget – be difficultMamkaj – Must or have toGdo = G+do = Your, unless the noun has a -nan at the end, then it’s “our.”
To – have or put somethingWawidan – read somethingMégwa – still or moreShe – a connecting particle
Néné – momBama – WaitOde – thisNwi = n+wi = I will do something, we will do something, check the verb.
Dopwen – TableNajdo – Ask someoneÉhé – yesNi je wi – This combination of particles means “how” or “why”
Mbusen – Bus (slang)Dbabdan – check on somethingÉzhi – Over thereÉgi – a factive + past tense, what comes after should be a truthful conjunct
Kenomagwet – one who teachesBidkesen – get in shoesDopwenek – at/by/on the tableI yé i – particle idiom that means “that’s it”
Kenomagewjek – teachersNek – look at something (slang)Taswenek – at/by/in closet or cabinetO – that animate thing
 Kedo – say somethingKyénep – Hurry!Wi – something will happen in the future
 Zagjesé – go outsideGaga – soonGi – past tense in front of a verb, those animate things with a plural noun
 Wabma – see someoneCho – No 
 Ndebana – Love someoneZhi – there 
 Bsedwa – Listen to someoneNagech – Later 
 Dadokmeben – Behave  

Information Questions

The best way to learn about asking questions involving information is to see it in conversation.

  1. There is a difference between asking for affirmation and asking for information.  If you can answer the question with a yes or a no, it’s asking for affirmation.  If you have to supply a who, what, when, where, or why, then it’s asking for information. 
  2. When asking a simple yes/no question, just pop a “ne” in the sentence.  Try, if possible, not to end the sentence with a “ne.”  Also, do not slip a “ne” between the tense and the verb.  If you do, you have changed the verb to mean you are starting to do something. 
  3. When asking an information question, a completely different kind of verb pattern is used.  This pattern is called Conjunct or Subordinate.  It means that it can’t stand alone, it has to be used in certain situations or be connected to another verb or phrase. 
  4. If you were to walk into a room full of people, and with no prompting or context, suddenly announce: “To buy milk,” it wouldn’t make sense.  But if you said, “I’m going to buy some milk,” that would make sense. 
  5. If someone asked you, “Where are you going?” and you answered, “to buy milk,” it would make sense in the conversation, although randomly announcing “to buy milk” would not. 
Nwi zhya – I will goÉzhyayan – to go (me)
Gwi zhya – You will goÉzhyayen – to go (you)
Wi zhyéwak – He/she will goÉzhyat – to go (he/she)
Nwi zhyamen – We- will goÉzhyayak – to go (us but not you)
Gwi zhyamen – We+ will goÉzhyaygo – to go (we including you)
Gwi zhyam – Y’all will goÉzhyayék – to go (y’all)
Wi zhyék – They will goÉzhyawat – to go (they)
  •  The question words Who What When and Where in English are created in Potawatomi by particles.  Here are particle combinations that are used to ask information questions:
Wégni jeWhat?
Wéni je?Who?
Ni je?What or Who?
Ni je na?Why or How? Also an idiom for How are you
NI pi je?Where?
Ni je pi ?When?
NI je tso?How many?
Ni je étse?How much?
Ni je wi zheWhy?

Here are some information questions.  Answer them in Potawatomi with appropriate information:

  1. Ni pi je ézhyayen?  Where are you going?
  2. Ni pi je ézhyat o gg’oswa? Where is y’all’s father going? 
  3. Ni je ézhechkéyen?  What are you doing?
  4. Ni je émikchéwit shote ngom?  Who is working here today?
  5. Ni je pi ébyayen?  When are you coming?
  6. Ni je pi ébkezoyék?  When are y’all gonna bathe?
  7. Ni je wi she ézhechkéyen ode?  Why are you doing this?
  8. Ni je pi éwisneygo? When do we eat?
  9. Ni je tso yawek?  How many is it? Or What time is it?
  10. Ni je étse dbegenék? How much on the clock?  Or What time is it?
  11. Ni je na ginwa?  How are you all?
  12. Ni pi je wéj byayen?  Where did you come from?
  13. Ni je ézhyat zhi? Who is going there?
  14. Ni je pi ga dokiyen? When did you wake up?
  15. Ni je émadmoyen?  What are you praying?
  16. Ni je ézhewébek zagech?  What is happening outside? Or What is the weather?
  17. Ni je ga zhechkéyen éskonoyen?  What did you do at school?
  18. Ni pi je ga wje ngetoyen gwiwkwan?  Where did you lose your cap?
  19. Ni pi je ga wje mkanayen ndo wiwkwan?  Where did you find my cap?
  20. Ni pi je ézhyawat?  Where are they going?

Lesson 7:  Éje giwéyak – As we go home

There is a verb in Potawatomi that means “to return home”:  Giwé.  It is used very simply like this:

Nde giwéI am returning home
Ngi giwéI returned home
Ngi giwémenWe- came home
Gwi giwémenWe+ will return home
Gda giwémY’all should go home
Nge giwéI am about to go home
Wi giwét o penojéThat boy will return home
Da giwét o gnikanYour friend should go home
Gi giwéwat nmeshomes mine n’okmesMy grandfather and grandmother went home
Ni je pi égiwéyen?When will you go/come/return home?
Ni je pi égiwéyékWhen will y’all go/come/return home?
Ni je na égiwéyen?How will you go home?
Ni je wi she égiwéyen?Why are you going home?
Wéni je ga giwét?Who went home?
Wéni je wa giwéwat?Who will go home? (plural)
Wéni je ode gawet?Who is this one who went home? (participle)

Now let’s try something new.  We will make a compound question:

                Ni je wa zhechkéyen éje giwéyen?                           

                What will you do when you go home?

Notice that we used 2 conjunct verbs, and connected them with particles.  This is not hard to do, but does require a bit of thinking, because you have to consider who is doing each part of the action.

                Ni je wa zhechkéyen wa je giwét o gyéyom?

                What will you do when your mother gets home?

Wgwesen:  Ahau, nin se nde giwé!Son:  Oh, I’m home!
Wgyéyen:  Gidkesnen! Ni pi je gshimés?Mom:  Get out of your shoes!  Where is your younger sibling
Wgwesen:  Wika she wi byéwak.  Wi bosego égiwét ngi ndenekSon:  She is coming late.  She told me she has a ride home
Wgyéyen:  Oh? Ni je ébosegot?Mom:  Oh? Who is giving her a ride?
Wgwesen:  NemetsenaSon:  I don’t know
W’osen: Ahau, shote éyéyan!Dad: Ok, here I am!
Wgyéyen:  Oh, byéjémshenMom:  Oh, come kiss me
W’osen:  Ngwes nde wabma.  Ni pi je o ndanes?Dad:  I see my son.  Where is my daughter?
Wgwesen:  Wika she wi byéwak.  Wi bosego weye ngi ndenekSon:  She is coming late. She told me she has a ride from someone
W’osen:  Oh?  Wégwéndek se weyeDad:  Oh?  I wonder who it is
Wgyéyen:  Ahau, ngi gish gisen, mdamnabo mine zaskokwaték ngi wzhetonMom:  Ok, I’m done cooking, I made corn soup and frybread
W’osen mine wgwesen:  OH, MBEKTÉMENDad and son:  Oh, WE ARE HUNGRY
Wgyéyen:  Kyétnam ne?Mom:  Really?
W’osen:  Gdansénan ne gda babwi’amen?Dad:  Should we wait for our daughter?
Wdansen:  Ahau, wika she nde giwé!  Shote nde yéDaughter:  Ok, I’m home late!  I’m here!
W’osen:  Ni pi je ga wje éyéyen?Dad:  Where have you been?
Wdansen:  Igwan o wadokwet ngi bosego, dawéwgemek égi zhyayak éje gishpnedoyak zenba wa je wzhetoyak mjegodéyenDaughter:  My best friend gave me a ride, we went to the store to get ribbon to make dresses
Wgyéyen:  Gda ndenen bwamshe ézhechkéyen gégoMom:  You should tell me before doing something
Wdansen:  Ahau, I yé i nwi zhechkéDaughter:  ok, I will do
W’osen:  Ahau, ge wisnemen. Dad:  Ok, let’s eat

We can glean a lot of vocabulary from this exchange:

NounsVerbsOther WordsParticles
Wgwesen: His/her sonGiwé – to go/come homeAhau – greeting, acknowledgementSe – connecting particle
Wgyéyen – His/Her motherGidkesnen – Get out of your shoesNin – I, Me, My, MineNde – Nin is presently doing something
Gshimés – Your younger siblingByéwak – he/she is coming or arrivingWika – lateNi pi je – combination asks Where?
W’osen – his/her fatherBosego – receive a ride, from “bos” to rideNemetsena – I don’t know, an Idiom.Wi – something will happen in the future
Ngwes – My sonNdenek – be told something by someoneShote – hereShe – connecting particle
Ndanes – my daughterYé – To be in a placeWeye – someoneNgi – Nin did something in the past
Mdamnabo – corn soupByéjémshen – come kiss me.  Jéma – to kiss someoneWégwéndek – Whatever, I wonder, expression of curiosity, an idiom.Ni je – combination asks Who or What?
Zaskokwaték – fry bread (participle)Wabma – See someoneGish – finish, or already done somethingO – That when that thing/person is animate
Gdansénan – our daughterGisen – cook somethingMine – and, again, alsoNe – yes/no question particle
Wadokwet – Best friend (participle of widoko)Wzheton – make somethingKyétnam – really, very, of a suretyGda – You or we should do something (check verb ending)
Dawéwgemek – storeMbektémen – We are hungry, from bkedé – be hungryIgwan – idiom used when one wants to be particular about explaining somethingGa wje – a purpose or direction in the past
Zenba – ribbonBabwi’a – Wait for someoneBwamshe – beforeWa je – a purpose or direction in the future
Mjegodé – dressZhya – goGégo – somethingNwi – nin is doing something in the future
 Gishpnedo – buy somethingI yé i – idiom meaning that’s it or it what it isGe – something will happen in the immediate future
 Ndena – tell someone something Éje – purpose or direction in the present
 Zhechké – do something  
 Wisne – to eat  
  1. There are a couple of participles in this exchange:
    1. Zaskokwaték – that which is fried, used for frybread.  The full word for frybread is Zaskokwaték pkwéshgen, but who says all that?
    1. Wadokwet – one who is Widoko
      1. Widoko is a verb that cannot be defined with simply one word.  It means to communicate and interact meaningfully with one another in a culturally appropriate setting and with good feelings all around.  From this word we derive the word Widoktadwen:  Community, which means so much more than just “community.”
  2. There are many idioms in this exchange, which are all marked.  Idioms are expressions in one language that make perfect sense in that language but are difficult to translate, explain, or use in another language.

Expressing our feelings

NgeshadesI am happy
NgeshadzemenWe- are happy
Gshades ne?Are you happy?
NshkadesI am angry
NshkadzemenWe- are angry
Gshkades ne? Néshkadzet                                 Are you angry Mad person  
NtagesI am sad
NtagzemenWe- are sad
Gntages ne?Are you sad?
NdotmesI am busy
NdotmezmenWe- are busy
Gdotmes ne?Are you busy?
NdewkwesI am tired
NdewkwezmenWe- are tired
Gdewkwes ne?Are you tired?

Many adjectives in English are verbs in Potawatomi, and that means that many words we use to express our character traits, feelings, or emotions are verbs in Potawatomi.  Many, but NOT ALL, of these verbs end with a -ze.  When using these verbs, most of them do this:           

NminwéwesI am ambitious
GminwéwesYou are ambitious
MinwéwzeHe/she is ambitious
NminwéwzemenWe- are ambitious
GminwéwzemenWe+ are ambitious
GminwéwzemY’all are ambitious
MinwéwzikThey are ambitious

Here are some more verbs you can practice with: 

BékadzeBe calm or patient
ZégzeBe afraid
YabyétzeBe lazy
GkadzeBe rich
GdemagzeBe poor or pitiful
NinozeBe weak
MishkwezeBe strong
NodagwzeBe noisy
AdkwadzeBe anxious
MénshezeBe shy or embarrassed
KyébadzeBe naughty or mischievous
MamkazeBe surprising
KiwadzeBe lonely
MnowabmenagwzeBe good looking
NchiwnagwzeBe fierce or ugly looking

First, a review exercise:  What do these mean?

  1. Ni je wi she énshkadziyen?
  2. Ni je wi she énshkadziyan?
  3. Ni je wi she énshkadzet?
  4. NI je wi she énshkadziyak?
  5. Ni je wi she énshkadziygo?
  6. NI je wi she énshkadziyék?
  7. NI je wi she énshkadzewat?

Now a thinking exercise:  Answer these questions with an appropriate Potawatomi response?

  1. Gnshkades ne?
  2. Ni je wi she énshkadziyen?
  3. Gntages ne?
  4. Ni je wi she éntagziyen?
  5. Gshades ne?
  6. NI je wi she égshadziyen?
  7. Gdotmes ne?
  8. Ni je wi she éwdedmezyen?
  9. Gdewkwes ne?
  10. Ni je wi she éndewkwezyen?

Lesson 8:  Ge Wisnemen Let’s Eat

To help you have a family dinner, here are the words for some of your family members: 

N’os My dad   NoshéMy aunt (mom’s sister) 
DédéDad/DaddyNzheshéMy uncle
NgyéMy momNshegwesMy aunt (dad’s sister)
Néné Mom/MommyNitawesMy cousin
N’okmisMy grandmother  NshiméMy little brother/sister 
GokoGrandmaNshiMy lil’ bro/sis
NmeshomesMy grandfather  NidgekoMy sister
MeshoGrandpaNmeséMy big sister
NdewémaMy older brother (for girls)NikanMy brother/friend
NdanesMy daughterNgwesMy son
NsezéMy older brother (for boys)NijanesMy child
NoseméMy grandchildNosemésMy little grandchild

To make these words mean “your”, you must insert a “G” sound to stand for “Gin” which means “You.”  G’os=Your dad, Gdédé=Your daddy, G’oko=Your grandma, Gnoshé=Your aunt, Gnitawes=Your cousin.

Table Manners

 N’os, mishen gi penik  (My Dad, give me the potatoes)

Goko, nénmoshen i mbedé (Grandma, hand me the butter)

Nidgeko, byénenmoshen i waskek (My Sister, pass me the pepper)

Néné, nénmoshen i ziwtagen (Mommy, hand me the salt)

Mesho, byédweshen anet mbish (Grandpa, bring me some water)

Nshimé, mishen i kche émkwan (My little sibling, give me the big spoon)

Ndanes, byédweshen anet gapi (My daughter, bring me some coffee)

Nitawes, nénmoshen ni zawjisésen (My cousin, hand me the carrots)

Ngwes, mina i nonagnabo se o gshimé (My son, give the milk to your little brother/sister)

Nijanes, nénmo i mbop se o gnitawes (My child, hand the soup to your cousin)

Our vocabulary matrix: 

NounsVerbsOther wordsParticles
Penik – potatoesMishen – give meAnet – someGi – Those in front of an animate noun, past tense in front of a verb
Mbedé – ButterNénmoshen – hand me I – That (when “that” is inanimate)
Waskek – PepperByénenmoshen – Pass me Ni – Those in front of an inanimate plural noun, also an interrogative
Ziwtagen – saltByédweshen – bring me O – That in front of an animate noun, Go do something in front of a verb
Mbish – waterMina – give something to someone  
Kche émwakn – big spoon   
Gapi – coffee   
Zawjisésen – carrots   
Nonagnabo – milk   
Mbop – soup   

When verbs end with -shen, they can mean it’s an action that reverts back to me (give me, hand me, pass me), or they can have to do with lying down (zhashgeshen – lay down, weshen – rest, pekshen – fall down). 

Here are some practice phrases for eating and drinking:

ZéschegénSet the table
Gbekté ne?    Are you hungry?
Cho gbektési ne?   Aren’t you hungry?
MbektéI’m hungry
Kyét nam she mbekté  I’m really hungry
Cho mbektési   I’m not hungry  
Gbektém ne?   Are you all hungry?
MbektémenWe are hungry
GbektémenWe all are hungry
Cho mbektésimenWe are not hungry  
Bkedé ne o?Is he/she hungry?
Bkedéwak ne gé winwa?  Are they hungry?
Gashknabagwé ne?   Are you thirsty?
Éhe ngashknabagwé  Yes I’m thirsty
Cho ngashknabagwésiI’m not thirsty
Gashknabagwém ne?  Are you all thirsty?
NgashknabagwémenWe are thirsty
GashknabagwémenWe all are thirsty
Cho ngashknabagwésimen  We are not thirsty
Gashknabagwé ne o?  Is he/she thirsty?
Gwi mnekwé ne?   Do you want a drink?
Gwi mnekwém ne?   Do you all want a drink?
Wégni je émnekwéyen?  What are you drinking?
Wégni je émnekwéyék?  What are you all drinking?
Ménkwén ode   Drink this
Gnedwéndan ne ode mijem? Do you want this food?
Mégwa ne?    Want more?
Mégwa ne gapi?   Want more coffee?
Mégwa ne mbish?   Want more water?
Mishen émkwanGive me a spoon
Byédweshen bkedjigenBring me a fork
Ni pi je i koman?Where is that knife?
Byénenmoshen i kwabegenPass me the dipper/serving spoon
Nénmoshen ziwtagenHand me the salt

Here is a review of Wisne, Mwa and Mijen.

Wégni je émijyen?  What are you eating?
Ode pen nwi mwa  I will eat this potato
Penyék ne gwi mwak? You want to eat some potatoes?
Peniwabo ne gwi mijen? You want to eat some potato soup?
Mshimenek gwi mwak You will eat apples
Mshimenek nde mwak I’m eating apples
Bidi nde mwa  I’m eating chicken
Wiyas nde mijen  I’m eating meat
Wégni je émijyak pkonyak? What are we eating tonight?
Mdamnabo émijyak pkonyak We are eating corn soup tonight
Gokosh wiyasen émijyak pkonyakWe are eating pork chops tonight
Wégni je éwisneyak pkonyak?What are we eating tonight?
Zaskokwadék gwi wisnemen pkonyakWe will eat frybread tonight
Mnejimnen mine zawjisésen éwisneyak pkonyak   We will eat peas and carrots tonight
Hau, nge wisen  Ok, I’m going to eat
Hau, nge wisnemen  Ok, we (not you) are going to eat
Hau, Ge wisnemen  Ok, Let’s eat (all of us)
Gwi wisen ne?  Will you eat?
Gwi wisnem ne?  Will you all eat?
Gi wisen ne?   Did you eat?
Gi wisnem ne?  Did you all eat?
NdépsenyéI’m full.
Ngi gish wisen  I’ve finished eating/I’ve already eaten
Ngi gish wisnemen  We already ate
Ngi gish wisnemen bwamshe ébyayak shote    We ate before we came here (exclusive, not you)
Nde mijnenjiganjegé  I’m eating with fingers
Gégo mijnenjiganjegéken Don’t eat with your fingers
Nwi widopwangémen pkonyakWe will eat with others tonight (company)
Gwi widopwangémen pkonyakWe all will eat with others tonight
Ndanes nwi widopma I will eat with my daughter
Ndenim nwi widopma I will eat with my husband
Ndekwéyom nwi widopmaI will eat with my wife

Your assignment for this lesson is to have dinner!  Use as much of the language as possible while eating with your family or your friends. 

Lesson 9:  Ge Binjegémen! Let’s Clean Up!

Ahau, ge binjegémen!Ok, let’s clean up!
Mnéschegén i dopwenStraighten up the table
Byédon i mbop mkwemitaswenek Bring the soup to the refrigerator
Byédon ni mskwéwnagnen taswenek Bring the red dishes to the cabinet
Ton zhi i zaskokwadék  Put the frybread there
Ni pi je ga wje toyen i ziwtagen?Where did you put the salt?
Ziwtagen ndeton shoteI have the salt here
Dopwenek étémget i waskekThe pepper is on the table
Ézhiwton mkwemitaswenek ga shotmegoPut away what we didn’t eat in the fridge
Zagjewébdon ni wabshkyagzidon’egnen Toss out those white napkins
Zigwébdon ni gzidon’egnen Throw away those napkins
Ni pi je ndo zawgzinwnagjegas?Where is my brown dish rag?
Zagech ézhiwton i zigwébnekek Put the garbage can outside
Zagech ézhiwton i mamgengéwkekPut the recycling bin outside
Majipton i wnagagzinjegéwen Start the dishwasher
Zhishchegén i mchik bwamshe égzizgengéyen  Sweep the floor before you scrub it
Bindon éjegzinjik bwamshe égzinwnagéyenClean the sink before you wash those dishes
Gégo pamséken shote njeshek ngi gzizgengén i mchikDon’t walk around here I just scrubbed the floor
Gégo pamsékék shote njeshek ngi gzizgengén I mchikDon’t walk around here (to more than one person) I just scrubbed the floor
Mamgenen ni mkekwen Recycle those boxes  (reuse those boxes)
Gégo ngetoken ode wizaw mkekwenDon’t lose this yellow box
Mamgenen ni skebygamodésen Recycle those green bottles (reuse those bottles)
Taswenek ézhiwton ni zhabwémodésenPut those see through bottles in the cabinet
Ggi gish gzinwnagé ne? Are you finished with the dishes?
Ahau, ge o nwéshmomenOk, Let’s go rest.

Our vocabulary matrix from these phrases:

NounsVerbsOther wordsParticles
Dopwen – tableBinjegé – to cleanAhau – ok, greeting, acknowledgementGe – something will happen in the near future
Mbop – soupMnéschegé – to straighten up, put in orderI – “that” when that is inanimateMskwé – red
Mkwemitaswen – fridgeByédon – bring a thingMkwemitaswenek – locative for fridgeZaw – brown
Taswen – a closet, cabinet, or cupboardByédonen – bring more than one thing. Not used for commands.Taswenek – locative for taswenWizaw – yellow
Wnagnen – dishesTon – put itZhi – thereNi pi je – particles meaning “where”
Zaskokwadék – frybread (participle)To – have it or put itShote – hereGa wje – past purpose or direction
Ziwtagen – saltTé – to be in a place if it is inanimateDopwenek – at/on the tableGa – something that happened
Waskek – pepper (participle)Ézhiwton – put something awayNi – those, if those are inanimateNdo – my
Ga shotmego – leftovers (participle – what we didn’t eat)Zagjewébdon – throw something outside, toss something outWabshkya – whiteZaw- brown
Gzidon’egnen – napkins, face clothsZigwébdon – discard something, pour something out, throw awayZagech – OutsideNgi – Nin did something in the past
Gzinwnagjegas – dishragMajipton – start something mechanicalBwamshe – beforeOde – wizaw
Zigwébnekek – garbage canZhishchegé – sweepGégo – stop, don’tZhabwé – something is clear or see-throughg
Mamgengéwkek – Recycling binGzizgengé – scrubNjeshek – just happenedGgi – Gin did something in the past
Wnagagzinjegéwen – dishwasherBindon – clean somethingSkebgya – greenNe – yes/no question marker
Mchik – floor, ground, horizonGzinwnagé – wash dishesGish – finished, already happenedO – in front of a verb, it means go do something
Éjegzinjik – sink (participle – where we was our hands)Pamsé – walk around  
Mkekwen – boxesMamgengé – recycle  
Modés – bottleNgeto – lose something  
 Nwéshmo – Rest  

What we can learn from these phrases:

  1. Mamgengé is a verb meaning to pick up something discarded to reuse it.  This is an old concept to Potawatomi folk, and is now used as a verb for “recycling.”
  2. Most commands listed here are for one person.  When assigning a chore to more than one person, be sure to use the plural form. 
  3. “To” is a unique verb in that it can mean “to have” or “to put.”  It is a relative of the verb “té,” which is the inanimate form of “to be in a place.” 
    1. Ton zhi is a command form – put something there
    1. Ndeton means I have it
    1. Ézhiwton is a command form – put something “away” (put it away is an idiom in English and is hard to translate into Potawatomi)
    1. Ni pi je ga wje toyen – Where did you put it?
    1. Étémget –  it is in a place
    1. Éték – it is in a place (a variant form)
  4. Notice the color prefixes.  There are two ways to express colors in Potawatomi, by prefix or by verb.  Yes, colors are verbs in Potawatomi.  Let’s explore this in further detail:

Colors in Potawatomi

SkebgyaGreen, sometimes blue

These colors can appear as verbs describing objects, or as prefixes attached to objects.

Mskoze o bnéshiThat bird is red
Mskwabnéshi nde wabmaI see a red bird
Mskwanen i wnagenThat dish is red
Mskwéwnagen ndetonI have a red dish
Wabshkyamget i dopwenThat table is white
Wabdopwen gdebéndan ne?Do you own a white table?
Wizawamget i pkwakwetThat ball is yellow
Wizawapkwakwet ne gdeton?Do you have a yellow ball?
Zawamget i émkwanThat spoon is brown
Ni pi je i zawémkwan?Where is the brown spoon?
Wabshkyak gi penikThose potatoes are white
Wabshkyapenik ngi gishpnenakI bought white potatoes
Mkedémget i dabyanThat car is black
Medagwéndan i mkedéwdabyanI like that black car
Wjepkwamgetnon ni mkesnenThose shoes are blue
Shkwadémek éték ni wjepkwamkesnenThe blue shoes are by the door
Wjepkwadék i mkekwenThe box is purple
Gégo ngetoken i wjepkwadémkekwenDon’t lose the purple box

Other Chores….

Nda zibiyéngéI should do the laundry
Bkes atsek nda bindonI should clean the bathroom
Mchik nda zosopjegénI should vacuum the floor
Biskemwenen nda zhoshkwé’anI should iron the clothes
Dabyan nda gzibingé’anI should wash the car
Nemosh nda shemaI should feed the dog
Waboyan nda pe’egwadonI should patch up that blanket
Dawéwgemek nda zhyaI should go to the store
Wshkewmkesnen nda wzhetonenI should make new moccasins
Nda jigagwné’géI should shovel snow
Nda biske’anenI should chop wood (small pieces)
Nda msénkéI should chop wood (large pieces)

YOUR CHALLENGE:  identify the chores that need doing at your home….and who is going to do them!

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 bodwénashenYou 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  
Skonoédazhechkéwen – 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. Skonoédazhechkéwen 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. 

Lesson 11:  Cho mno yési. I don’t feel good.

NdaknogaI am sick
Gdaknoga ne?Are you sick?
Yaknogé o penojéThe baby is sick
Yaknogék gi gigabéyekThe boys are sick
NdaknogamenWe are sick
Ngi zhashkegwéI vomited
Gi zhashkegwé o ngwesMy son threw up
NzhapkawesI have diarrhea
Zhapkawze o gigyagoThe girl has diarrhea
NdewkwéI have a headache
NdewkwesI am tired
Dewkweze o ndenimMy husband is tired
Kikibgosh o penojéThe baby is very sleepy
Ndakmetem nmesetMy stomach hurts
Nde zostemI am coughing
Ngi jechamI sneezed
Zostep o gigyagoThe girl has a cough
Jechamo o gigabéThe boy has the sneezes
Ngi wépodagoI got hit
Ngi knéshkakI was knocked senseless (fainted, concussion)
Ngikij janéI have a sore nose
Ndakmetem njoshMy nose is sore
Ngijij wibtanéI have sore teeth
Ndakmetem nibetMy tooth is sore
Ndakmetem nibdenMy teeth are sore
Ngi bokjanéshenI broke my nose
Ngi bokkadéshenI broke my leg
Ngi boknekéshenI broke my arm
NmeskwiwjanéI have a bloody nose
NmeskwiwtogéMy ears are bleeding
Mshkekiwnene nwi o wabma nomekI’m going to go see the doctor in a little while
Mshkekiwgemek nge zhyaI am going to the clinic/hospital

Let’s have a look at some of these unique words:

NounsVerbsOther wordsParticles
Penojé – babyYaknogé – to be sickO – “that” with an animate noun, “go do” in front of a verbNe – question particle
Gigabyéyek – boysZhashkegwé – to vomitGi – “those” with animate plural noun, “past” with a verbNgi – I “did” something, or we “did”, check verb
Ngwes – my sonZhapkawze – have diarrheaNomek – in a little whileNde – I or we are “doing something”
Gigyago – girlDewkwé – have a headache Nwi – I or we “will do” something
Gigabé – boyDewkweze – be tired Nge – I or we are “about to do” something
Ndenim – my husbandKikibgosh – be sleepy  
Nmeset – my stomachYakmetem – a body part is sore  
Njash – my noseZostep – to cough (very irregular verb)  
Jané – nose constructJechamo – to sneeze  
Wibtané – teeth constructWépodago – to get hit  
Nibet – my toothKnéshkak – rendered unconscious  
Kadé – leg constructGikij – a body part is sore *requires body part construct form  
Neké – arm construct  Bok – a body part is broken *requires body part construct form  
Togé – ear construct wtewgéMeskwiw – a body part is bleeding *requires body part construct form  
Mshkekiwnene – doctorWabma – see someone  
Mshkekiwgemek – clinic/hospitalZhya – go  

What can we learn?

  1. Yaknogé is irregular.  Because it begins with a Y, the “de” tense makes a contraction.  This often happens with verbs that start with Y or W.  A related verb, Yakmetem, which is specific to the body part that is sick or hurt, does the same, and becomes Ndakmetem.
  2. Many sickness verbs are irregular.  Zostep is a verb of coughing, but to say I am coughing, you say “nde zostem.”  Jechamo is a verb that drops the “o” at the end, so Nde jecham means I am sneezing.  Zhapkawze changes the ending to Nzhapkawes if you want to say “I have diarrhea.”
  3. There are other words for sickness, such as Napnewen or Pené’éwen.  These words for sickness describes a long-term chronic illness.  Yaknogéwen is a short term acute illness. 
  4. Knowing how to use and recognize body part construct forms is important when describing various conditions.  Let’s look at this in detail:

Manipulating Body Parts

To Review:  In Potawatomi grammar, most body parts are considered inanimate.  This is because the body, which is animate, is the sum total of its parts, and individual body parts do not function on their own without the rest of the body. 

Body parts are also considered “inalienably possessed,” which has nothing to do with aliens, but means simply that they cannot be given away.  This means you will very rarely see words for body parts on their own without referencing WHO the body part belongs to.  To get around this in conversations, there are construct forms of body parts.  When using these, the construct forms often form body-based verbs.

Body PartConstruct Form
Nibden – My teethYabdé –  teeth
Nenji – my handNejé – hand
Nzet – my footZedé – foot
Njash – my noseJané – nose
Ndon – my mouthDoné – mouth

Let’s look at body part constructs vs. descriptive verbs:

NgikijdebéMy head is soreNdakmetem ndep/nshtegwanI have a sore head
NgikijjanéMy nose is soreNdakmetem njashI have a sore nose
NgikijnekéMy arm is soreNdakmetem nekI have a sore arm
NgikijkadéMy leg is soreNdakmetem nkatI have a sore leg
NgikijdonéMy mouth is soreNdakmetem ndonI have a sore mouth
NgikijyabdéMy teeth are soreNdakmetem nibdenI have sore teeth
NgikijzetéMy foot is soreNdakmetem nzetI have a sore foot

Let’s use this opportunity to highlight some of these unique verbs:

Ngi jechamI sneezedNgi zostemI coughed
Ggi jecham ne?Did you sneeze?Ggi zostem ne?Did you cough?
Gi jechamoHe/she sneezedGi zostepHe/she coughed
Ngi jechamenWe- sneezedNgi zostepmenWe- coughed
Ggi jechamenWe+ sneezedGgi zostepmenWe+ coughed
Ggi jechamom ne?Did y’all sneeze?Ggi zostebem ne?Did y’all cough?
Gi jechamokThey sneezedGi zostemwikThey coughed
Ngi zhashkegwéI threw upNgi zhapkawesI had diarrhea
Ggi zhashkegwé ne?Did you throw up?Ggi zhapkawes ne?Did you have diarrhea?
Gi zhashkegwéHe/she threw upGi zhapkawzeHe/she had diarrhea
Ngi zhashkegwémenWe- threw upNgi zhapkawzemenWe- had diarrhea
Ggi zhashkegwémenWe+ threw upGgi zhapkawzemenWe+ had diarrhea
Ggi zhashkegwém ne?Did y’all throw up?Ggi zhapkawzem ne?Did y’all have diarrhea?
Gi zhashkegwékThey threw upGi zhapkawzikThey had diarrhea
NdaknogaI am sickNdewkwéI have a headache
Gdaknoga ne?Are you sick?Gdewkwé ne?Do you have a headache?
YaknogéHe/she is sickDewkwéHe/she has a headache
NdaknogamenWe- are sickNdewkwémenWe- have a headache
GdaknogamenWe+ are sickGdewkwémenWe+ have a headache
Gdaknogam ne?Are y’all sick?Gdewkwém ne?Do y’all have a headache?
YaknogékThey are sickDewkwékThey have a headache

One more:  To say I caught a cold, you say “Ngi tkech.”  This is an idiom.

Assignment:  Use these phrases to describe the last time you or a family member were sick. 

Lesson 12:  Wi Ne Mban!  Go to Sleep!

Gi askonyé ne?Did you change your clothing?
Gi gsiyabdé ne?Did you brush your teeth?
Gi gsingwé ne?Did you wash your face?
Gi bkes ne?Did you bathe?
Chomshe ngi gsiyabdésiI didn’t brush my teeth yet
Chomshe ngi bkesosiI didn’t bathe yet (take a shower yet)
Chomshe ngi gsingwésiI didn’t wash my face yet
Chomshe ngi askonyésiI didn’t change my clothing yet
NkikibgoshI’m sleepy
Kikibgoshe o penojéThe baby is sleepy
Nwi o weshenI will go rest
Nwi o mba pkonyakI will go sleep tonight
Wi ne mbanGo to sleep (to one)
Wi ne mbakGo to sleep (to more than one)
O nweshmon!Go rest!
Gégo gwaskse’oken mbagnek!Don’t jump on the bed!
Mbéwa ne o penojé?Is the baby sleeping?
Gégo dokneken o penojé!Don’t wake up the baby!
Gwi o mba ne?Are you going to go sleep?
Bédbekok ngi mbaI slept all last night
Nwi o mbamenWe are going to sleep (not you)
Gwi o mbamenWe are going to sleep (all of us)
Gwi o mbam ne?Are you all going to go to sleep?
Mbéwak gi gigyagoyekThe girls are sleeping
Ni pi je ga je mbayen dbekok?Where did you sleep last night?
Nwi o mno apwéI will go have a good dream
Ggi apwé ne dbekok?Did you dream last night?
NounsVerbsOther WordsParticles
Mbagen – bedAskonyé – change clothingChomshe – Not yetGi – past tense
Penojé – babyGsiyabdé – brush teethGégo – Don’t/StopNe – question mark
Gigyagoyek – girlsGsingwé – wash faceMbagnek – on the bedSi – attaches to end of verb to make it negative
 Bkezo – batheBédbekok – all last night0 – “go do” used in front of a verb
 Kikibgoshe – be sleepyDbekok – last nightNe – “start” used in front of a verb
 Weshen – rest O – “that” used with a noun
 Mbé – to sleep (irregular verb) Gwi – you will do something
 Gwaskse’o – Jump Nwi – I/we will do something
 Mbéwa – He/she is sleeping Gi –“those” used with animate nouns
 Mba – I/you are sleeping Ga je – past tense purpose or direction
 Dokna – wake someone up Mno – Good (must be used with a noun or verb)
 Mbayen – I sleep (conjunct)  
 Apwé – Dream  

Notice the way certain particles change when used in different situations.

  1. “ne” is a question mark when used in a sentence, making it a yes/no question.  But when you put “ne” between the subject and the verb, this changes the verb to make it mean “start doing something.”  Wi ne mban means Go to sleep, because one does not fall asleep instantly, this is a command to start the process of falling asleep.
  2. “o” is a demonstrative meaning “that” when used with an animate noun.  But when you put “o” between the subject and the verb, this changes the verb to make it mean “go do something.” Nwi o mba means I will go sleep, implying I am going to go somewhere else to do it.
  3. “gi” is a demonstrative meaning “those” when used with an animate plural noun.  But when you add it to a verb and a pronoun, this changes the verb to put it into past tense. Ngi mba means I slept. 

Mbé/Mba is a highly irregular verb:        

Nwi mbaI will sleep
Gwi mbaYou will sleep
MbéwaHe/she is sleeping
Nwi mbamenWe (-) will sleep
Gwi mbamenWe (+) will sleep
Gwi mbamY’all will sleep
Wi mbéwakThey will sleep

You are More Important than Me

In English, we say “I see you.”  In Potawatomi, we say “You I see.”  This is because “you” are more important than “me,” so “you” get to be first in the sentence.  Because “you” should come first, we use inverse verbs to keep “you” in the front.

GdebanenI love you (you I love)
GdebanemYou love me
GwabmenI see you (you I see)
GwabemYou see me
GnodwenI hear you (you I hear)
GnodwemYou hear me
GbsedwenI am listening to you (you I listen to)
GbsedwemYou listen to me
GnestotonI understand you (you I understand)
GnestotwamYou understand me               
Gkenmen ne?Do I know you?
Gkenmem ne?Do you know me?
Ggi wabmenI saw you (you I saw)
Ggi wabemYou saw me
Ggi nodwenI heard you (you I heard)
Ggi nodwemYou heard me
Ggi kenmenI knew you (you I knew)
Ggi kenmemYou knew me

A Good Night Song

This is set to the melody of Brahm’s Lullaby, which can be found on the internet.  The words are simple, but because they are in imperative form, there is a difference if you are singing to one child or more than one child.

To one child More than one child 
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Gaga she éwi mbayenSoon you will be sleepingGaga she éwi mbayékSoon you will be sleeping
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Éwi mno apwéyenAnd you will dream wellÉwi mno apwéyékAnd you will dream well
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Gaga she éwi mbayenSoon you will be sleepingGaga she éwi mbayékSoon you will be sleeping
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Wi ne mbanGo to sleepWi ne mbakGo to sleep
Éwi mno apwéyenAnd you will dream wellÉwi mno apwéyékAnd you will dream well

This concludes these 12 lessons on daily activities.  It is our hope that you will be able to incorporate these lessons into your home and your daily life.  In order to revitalize our language, we must bring the language out of the classroom and into our homes.  The language should not be compartmentalized, used only in certain situations, but we should come to enjoy using it in every aspect of our daily life.

Bama mine gwabmenem….

(See y’all later…)