Migwetth!We would like to thank Jim Thunder, Justin Neely, Earl Meshigaud, Kim Wensaut, Gail Belling,Forest County Potawatomi, Citizen Band Potawatomi, Laura Buzzard Welcher and any otherswho have contributed directly or indirectly to this workbook.This workbook is a production of the Hannahville Culture, Language and History Departmentand was compiled and edited by Eric Janofski for use in the high school classroom.This workbook is funded by:The ANA Digital Connection ProjectHannahville Indian SchoolNde-Bodewadmimo 3rd Edition Copyright 2009Hannahville Culture Language and History DepartmentPotawatomi Grammar Basics2

Potawatomi Grammar BasicsTable of ContentsUNIT 1 - Potawatomi BasicsChapter 1 - The Alphabet and PronunciationPg. 5 -- The Potawatomi Alphabet - Jim ThunderPg. 8 -- gigabe, gigyago, nene, kwe, mko, waboso, wdabyan, wigwam, mbagen, pedyebwenChapter 2 - Pronunciation and DialectsPg. 10 -- Pronunciation of vowels with certain consonantsPg. 12 -- Dialect DifferencesPg. 13 -- neshnabe, kekyat, penoje, penojes, seksi, nemosh, mayos, espen, wzhebyegen, pkwakwetChapter 3 - Basic ConversationPg. 15 -- Greetings, How do you do, Introductions, GoodbyePg. 19 -- bosho, haw, ahaw, ni tthe na, gin je, bama, bama pi, bama mine, i she anwe, zhenkasoChapter 4 - Introduction to NounsPg. 21 -- Animate and Inanimate NounsPg. 22 -- Singular and Plural NounsPg. 24 -- nitawes, moewe, kno, bsheke, kokosh, mzenegen, deschegen, dopwen, waboyan, gwabegasChapter 5 - DemonstrativesPg. 26 -- DemonstrativesPg. 27 -- More on AnimacyPg. 28 -- sema, nen sema, wishgbemishgos, kishge, wabshkebyak, shkemot, sema shkemot, zhabnegen,sebabis, mdomnesChapter 6 - Verb ConjugationPg. 30 -- Verb ConjugationPg. 33 -- Short and Long ConjugationPg. 34 -- bekte, depseni, wisne, mikchewi, chikazo, zhye, maji, bye, bmose, bmeptoPotawatomi Grammar Basics3

Chapter 7 - Word OrderPg. 36 -- Word Order, wde-ton and wde-saPg. 37 -- Negative Word OrderPg. 38 --Yes/No Questions with NePg. 40 -- wde-ton, wde-san, mine, anake, nekdosha, peneshi, otthedemo, getemi, biskowagen, wiwkwanChapter 8 - Asking QuestionsPg. 42 -- Yes/No Question and Question WordsPg. 44 -- wi ni tthe, ni tthe, weg wni tthe, ni tthe pi, ni pi tthe, ni tthe tse, mtek, sen, msen, mishgosChapter 9 - CommandsPg. 46 -- Commands, Prohibitive CommandsPg. 48 -- Zhenkaso ReviewPg. 49 -- majin, byan, zhyan, dokin, binchegen, dapnen, nibwen, tthibedeben, zhode, ibeGlossaryPg. 51 -- Glossary of vocabulary words.Potawatomi Grammar Basics4

Chapter 1 - The Alphabet and PronunciationCHAPTER 1The Alphabet and PronunciationLet’s begin with the most basic aspect of any language, the alphabet and pronunciation. The material belowdescribes how the Potawatomi vowels and consonants are pronounced. If you understand the alphabet, speakingPotawatomi from written sources will be very simple.The following is an excerpt from Jim Thunder’s Old Potawatomi Language Book, Ngot.VowelsThe Potawatomi language consists of the following vowels: A – E – I – O. These vowels are used in every part ofthe Potawatomi word or sentence to create the needed sounds. Each of these vowels has only one sound and thusare used with any letter or a combination of letters to produce any sound in the Potawatomi language.It is important to remember the one vowel – one sound concept when reading the old Potawatomi writings.Although the English alphabet is used, the sounds of each letter are totally different. The four vowels themselvesare used with certain letters of the English alphabet to form the Potawatomi alphabet. Before we get into thePotawatomi alphabet we must first learn the sounds of the four vowels.A – is pronouncedahas in awningE – is pronouncedehas in elmI – is pronouncedeeas in easelO – is pronouncedohas in openConsonantsSince the vowels A – E – I – O appear with every consonant of the Potawatomi alphabet these have been omittedas separate sounds. After we have gone through the Potawatomi alphabet we will then put some sentencestogether and study some actual Indian writings.BBaBeBiBoBa – as in bahBe – as in betBi – as in BeeBo – as in boat(In some of the old Indian writings, the letter L is used for the B sound)DDaDeDa – as in dawnDe - as in denGHDiDi – as in deeDoDo – as in doeGaGeGiGa – as in gallGe – as in getGi – as in geek Go – as in goHaHeHiHoHa – as in hallHe – as in hellHi – as in heelHo – as in hoePotawatomi Grammar BasicsGo5

Chapter 1 - The Alphabet and PronunciationTthKTthaTtheTthiTthoTtha – as in jawThe – as in JennyTthi – as in JeanTtho – as in JoeTtha – as in chalkThe – as in checkTthi – as in cheatTtho – as in choKaKeKiKoKa – as in kaw Ke – as in Ken Ki – as in keyMNKo – as in KolaMaMeMiMa – as in mamaMe – as in men Mi – as in meNaNeMoMo – as in moreNiNoNa – as in naw Ne – as in neck Ni – as in kneel No – as in noPPaPePa – as in Paul Pe – as in petPiPi – as in peePoPo – as in pole(Here again, some writers use the L to signify the P sound)STWSaSeSiSoSa – as in sawSe – as in setSi – as in seeSo – as in soTaTeTiToTa – as in talkTe – as in tenTi – as in teeTo – as in toeWaWeWiWoWa – as in want We – as in wet Wi – as in weed Wo – as in woeYYaYeYa – as in yacht Ye – as in yetYiYi – as in yieldYoYo – as in yo-yoC – In writings by anthropologists and others, C is used to signify the S sound.Q – Although some Indian writings use the letter Q, most of the Q sounds are made with the letters KW.U – The vowel U does not seem to be used very much in the Potawatomi language.X – I have not found the letter X used at all in any of my Indian writings.Z – Although there are a lot of places the letter Z could have been used, it does not appear on any of my Indiandocuments.Potawatomi Grammar Basics6

Chapter 1 - The Alphabet and PronunciationLet’s Try A GreetingRemember the four vowel sounds:A – AhE – EhI – EeO – OhNow remember the four vowel sounds as we say a word of greeting.Say:Bo sho, ni tthe na?You are saying:Hello, how are you? or Hello, how is everything?The correct way to pronounce the Indian words are as follows:Notice in this one sentence that all four vowel sounds are present. Also, you will notice that we have uncovered oneof the puzzles to the written Potawatomi language. That is the ch sound, as in check, is written in this manner –tth. I have not seen the letter C in any of the writings that I have. Tth is used to create the ch or j sounds. Also, theold Indian writings do not have any punctuation marks of any kind. So it is left entirely up to you to determine theending of the sentences.Bo sho, ni tthe na? Ni Pi tthe wetth bya yen?Traditional WritingBo sho nee che na? Nee pee che wetch bya yen?PronunciationHello, how is everything? Where are you from?TranslationThe response you may get might go like this:I she an we. Stone Lake ntotth bya.Traditional WritingEe zhe ahn we. Stone Lake ndotch bya.PronunciationEverything is o.k. I come from Stone Lake.TranslationLiteral translations of the Indian sentences into English are usually not possible so you have to structure the Englishlanguage around the Indian sentence to come up with a viable translation.Potawatomi Grammar Basics7

Chapter 1 - The Alphabet and PronunciationVOCABULARY BUILDERgigabe - boypronounced - gee gah behwaboso - rabbitpronounced - wah boh sohwdabyan - cargigyago - girlpronounced - dah byahnpronounced - geeg yah gohwigwam - housepronounced - weeg wahmnene - manpronounced - neh nehmbagen - bedkwe - womanpronounced - mm bah gehnpronounced - kwehpedyebwen - chairmko - bearpronounced - muh kohPotawatomi Grammar Basicspronounced ped yeh bwen8

Chapter 1 - The Alphabet and PronunciationAUDIO LESSONUtilize the language lab to complete this exercise.Listen and Speak1. Record yourself speaking along with the “Listen and Speak” file.2. Save the file in the Chapter1 folder as “yourname ls”.Read and Speak1. Record yourself speaking the words as they become visible in the “Read and Speak” file.2. Save the file in the Chapter1 folder as “yourname rs”.Word Challenge1. Listen to the English words and phrases in the “Word Challenge” file and speak their Potawatomitranslation in the time allowed between words. This may take some practice. You may even want to writedown your words in the correct order so you can keep up with the “Word Challenge”.2. Save the file in the Chapter1 folder as “yourname wc”.The Vowel SongListen and follow along with “The Vowel Song”. This recording features Gail Belling singing a short song aboutvowels and pronunciation.Potawatomi Grammar Basics9

Chapter 2 - Pronunciation and DialectsCHAPTER 2Pronunciation and DialectsPotawatomi words are often spelled very different from one tribe to the next. It is very important to recognize thisbecause it can be confusing at times. The important thing to remember is that the language was never intended tobe written. It is the pronunciation that matters. How you speak the words is what brings the language alive. Beloware some variations on pronunciation of vowels and consonants.The following material is an excerpt from Justin Neely’s Lunch Class.Vowelsa - ah as in fatherThe “a” is usually pronounced as “ah” as in father.é - eh as in set, get, metThe é makes the “eh” sound as in set, get and met. The mark above the é is often left off, but most of the timewhen you see an “e” you will pronounce it as “eh”.e - uh as in muck, luckIn front of a “k” the “e” makes an “uh” sound. Often ek sounds like uck. For example, the word “nenwek” ispronounced “nen wuck”.e - ih as in kin, win, tinSometimes in front of an “n” the “e” makes an “ih” sound like kin, win, and tin. The word “sengo” is pronounced “singoh”.i - ee as in feed, reed, bleedThe i makes an “ee” sound as in feed, reed, and bleed. Words like “wiyas” are pronounced “wee yas”.o - ohw as in row, sow, mowThe “o” makes an “ohw” sound as in row, sow and mow.Potawatomi Grammar Basics10

Chapter 2 - Pronunciation and DialectsConsonants and Consonant Clusterstth - the tth is a unique cluster of consonants that can sound out as either “ch” or “j”.ch - as in churchj - as in jumpg - guh as in go (never as in giant)The “g” in English can make a hard or soft sound as in “gross” and “giant”. Notice how the G in “gross” soundshard. The G in “giant” sounds softer; more like a J. In Potawatomi, the G is only used as the hard - aw as in now, how, chowThe “aw” sounds like something you would say if you slammed your foot in the door - oww. Ahaw is the word for“hi” in Potawatomi. It is pronounced “ah how”.ay - i as in eye, my, tieThe “ay” sounds like eye, my and tie. The Potawatomi word “ayapen” means “the same”. It is pronounced “i oppen”.iw - ee oh as in the Potawatomi word wiwkwan.The “iw” looks like it would be a single sound, but each letter, the I and the W, make their own sound. Wiwkwan ispronounced “wee oh kwan”. Notice how the “w” makes an “oh” soundzh - these letters make a sound that isn’t present in English. Therefore, it is hard to write the pronunciation out. Thesound could be described as mixing the sounds zzz and shh. It makes a vibration in the front of your mouth. ThePotawatomi word “zhye” sounds like “zzh ee uh”. It almost sounds like you are saying “jeez”, but with morevibration.Potawatomi Grammar Basics11

Chapter 2 - Pronunciation and DialectsDialect DifferencesAll languages have dialect differences. Different people in different areas may speak the same language a little bitdifferent. Since languages are alive, this is normal. Language is always changing and adapting as cultures develop.Potawatomi has been spoken from the North to the South for many years and has developed a few dialects that areworth mentioning.Northern Vs. Southern PotawatomiThe differences between Northern and Southern Potawatomi are small, and are the product of a couple hundredyears of separation as well as the influence and borrowing of words from other tribes. You see the most differencesin newer words. Occasionally, there are different verbs for certain actions.The Main DifferenceIn the North they tend to use b more than p, g more than k, and t more than d.Northern Potawatomi - Gises (sun), Ngot (one), Bama (later)Southern Potawatomi - Kises (sun), Ngod (one), Pama (later)You will see this difference as you learn this language. Words like “gokosh” and “kokosh” both mean pig. “Mtenne”and “Mdenne” mean ten. If you speak these words out loud, the pronunciation difference is apparent, but verysubtle.It is important to recognize these differences as you learn Potawatomi words. If you can spot dialectdifferences, you won’t become as discouraged when you see spelling variations.Potawatomi Grammar Basics12

Chapter 2 - Pronunciation and DialectsVOCABULARY BUILDERneshnabe - indianpronounced - nesh nah behnemosh - dogpronounced - nem oshkekyat - elderpronounced - kek yahtmayos - catpronounced - mah yohspenoje - childpronounced - pen ohjehespen - raccoonpronounced - eh spinpenojes - babypronounced - pen oh jehswzhebyegen - pen/pencilpronounced - zheh bee ah gehnseksi - deerpronounced - suck seepkwakwet - ballpronounced - peh kwa kwehtPotawatomi Grammar Basics13

Chapter 2 - Pronunciation and DialectsAUDIO LESSONUtilize the language lab to complete this exercise.Listen and Speak1. Record yourself speaking along with the “Listen and Speak” file.2. Save the file in the Chapter2 folder as “yourname ls”.Read and Speak1. Record yourself speaking the words as they become visible in the “Read and Speak” file.2. Save the file in the Chapter2 folder as “yourname rs”.Word Challenge1. Listen to the English words and phrases in the “Word Challenge” file and speak their Potawatomitranslation in the time allowed between words. This may take some practice. You may even want to writedown your words in the correct order so you can keep up with the “Word Challenge”.2. Save the file in the Chapter2 folder as “yourname wc”.Other ResourcesVideo Lecture - PronunciationWatch the video entitled “Pronunciation”. This video is located in the video section of ourwebsite.Vid