Plural forms of Ojibwe (oj)

Anthony Yarusso tonyyarusso at
Sat Oct 21 23:02:05 BST 2006

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Launchpad/Rosetta asked me to send this info:

0 items:  There is no term for zero in Ojibwe.  In most cases, this
would be applied with a negative, for instance the negated form of
"there are items".  For things like telephone numbers, usually English
must be used to get around this.

1 item: This is the standard or base way of referring to things.

2+ items: Anything other than 0 or 1 would use the plural form.  This is
generally done by adding a suffix to the word, or modifying another
suffix to combine them.  (This language combines many parts of a thought
into a single written word; this also applies to the negative case
described for zero.)  For instance, potato is pin, while potato is
piniik, robin is pichi and robins is pichwak (can also be written with
the i, pichiwak).  Plate is naagan, plates are naagnan (think of this as

Exception: Locative forms do not have a distinction between singulars
and plurals.  Mkak is a box, and mkakoong can mean "in the box" or "in
the boxes".  If arranged with a locative pronoun but omitting the
locative suffix, the noun is assumed in the singular; giji-pabwin would
be "on top of the chair".

Additional note: Numbers are usually only used on their own for
counting.  If referring to a measurement, they are combined with the
unit of measurement.  For instance, niish is 2, niizhing is "two times",
niizh-zit is "two feet", and niizho-bboon is "two years".  Also, in the
case of 1, the counting term and the unit prefix are different.  1 is
bezhik, while "one year" is ngo-bboon.

Tony Yarusso
LP ID: tonyyarusso
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