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

Author: neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

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