A word on blending particles

Emphatic Pronouns –  Used to blend

Nin – nin

Gin – you

Win – he/she

Examples: but using particles of the emphatic pronouns

N + maji = nmaji  – I am going

G + maji = gmaji – You are going

W +maji = (w)maji – He/she is going        * “W” is silent

N + bmosé = nbmosé  – I am walking

G + bmosé = gbmosé – You are walking

W+ bmosé = wbmosé – He/she is walking

Blends – Tense Markers

De  – present tense – am doing it now

Da – future intent  – can/could/should/would

Gi – past –  did

Ga – past tense also, but subordinate **

Wi – future – will

Wa – future also, but subordinate  **

Ge – immediate future – about to do something

É – factive, providing immediacy of the tense, used with other tense markers and words

Blending Emphatic Pronoun (Nin) with Tense Markers

Nde – I am doing s.t.

Nda – I should

Ngi – I did

Nwi – I will

Nge – I am about to do something

Blending Emphatic Pronoun (Gin) with Tense Markers

Gde – You are

Gda – You could/should

Ggi – You did

Gwi – You will

Gge – You are about to do something

Blending Emphatic Pronoun (Win) with Tense Markers

Wde – He/she is

Wda – H/s could/would

Wgi – H/s did

Wwi – H/s will

Wge – H/s is about to do something

Blending Emphatic Pronouns with Tense Markers and Verbs

Emphatic (Nin – I) w/ tense markers + verb – Maji : meaning “to leave”

N + de + maji = Nde maji

N + da + maji = Nda maji

N + gi + maji = Ngi maji

N + wi + maji = Nwi maji

N + ge + maji = Nge maji

G + de + maji = Gde maji

G + da + maji = Gda maji

G + gi + maji = (G)gi maji  (silent g)

G + wi + maji = Gwi maji

G + ge + maji = (G)ge maji   (silent g)

W + de + maji = (W)de maji   (silent w)

W + da + maji = (W)da maji

W + gi + maji = (W)gi maji

W + wi + maji = (W)wi maji

W + ge + maji = (W)ge maji

Emphatic pronoun (Gin – You) w/ tense markers + verb – Bmose: meaning “to walk”

N + de + bmosé = Nde bmosé

N + da + bmosé = Nda bmosé

N + gi + bmosé = Ngi bmosé

N + wi + bmosé = Nwi bmosé

N + ge + bmosé = Nge bmosé

G + de + bmosé = Gde bmosé

G + da + bmosé = Gda bmosé

G + gi + bmosé = (G)gi bmosé

G + wi + bmosé + Gwi bmosé

G + ge + bmosé = (G)ge bmosé

The (g) and the (w) are usually silent in these types of phrases

W + de + bmosé = (W)de bmosé

W + da + bmosé = (W)da bmosé

W + gi + bmosé = (W)gi bmosé

W + wi + bmosé = (W)wi bmosé

W + ge + bmosé = (W)ge bmosé

** Wa and Ga

Ni jew pi ne ga maji yen                                 When did you leave?

Hau wnago geshep ga maji yan                      Oh yesterday morning I left

Ni je wa zhechke yen                                      What will you do?

Hau ode she pi wa zhechke yan i                    Oh right now is when I will do it

Hopefully you can see from the above examples the difference between Potawatomi and English.  English verb conjugation is very focused on the order of events and the timing of everything.  There are many, many tenses in English, which are used to reflect the timing and the continuity, while the pronouns are separate words that are attached to the verbs with minimal modification.  In Potawatomi, WHO did the action is more prominent than when the action occurred.  Notice above, the differences in conjugation based on WHO did the action, as opposed to the ease with which tense markers are inserted and removed.  There are further conjugations you will learn, becoming more and more complex as multiple persons complete complex actions, but you will find that the timing of those actions are easily viewed through tense markers. 

Learn your pronouns!  There are multiple sets of conjugation prefixes and suffixes, depending on WHO is doing the action and who they are interacting with, instead of when the action occurred. 

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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