Talk:Ojibwe dialects

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Another split?[edit]

originally at Talk:Anishinaabe language#Another split?

I've been thinking that maybe we should split the article one more time, and make a new article for the dialectology and historical linguistic information. The dialect section as it is currectly kind of overwhelms the article (well...not really, but it takes up a disproportionate amount of space), and with a separate article we might be able to expand the discussion of the dialectology a bit. Since I just discovered I have semi-access to the Handbook of North American Indians volumes published by the Smithsonian, I've just been able to copy down several good tables of some salient dialectal differences in Anishinaabemowin, as well as some other relevant things. A separate article would also allow the historical linguistic section to be expanded; the only problem there is I don't know how much work has actually been published on the historical evolution of Ojibwe. Actually, since Bloomfield used Eastern Ojibwe as one of the four languages to reconstruct Proto-(Central-)Algonquian, he does more or less lay out the historical sound changes, although not in a neat little list. He goes into more detail in his 1946 article, which I'll try to comb through for stuff on this.

Before I go further with these thought trains, though, I'd like to know other people's opinions on this. Is it necessary? Would this article benefit? Would the presentation of the material be improved? Take care, --Miskwito 07:29, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

If we go for another split, it should be two additional articles created and many, many more beefed-up: one for the dialectology, which should shorten up that large section in the current Anishinaabe language as well as provide for better connections between the dialectology and each of the language articles in that Ojibwe group of languages; and the second be an article about the proto-Ojibwe, which then can have a discussion with the relationship it has to fellow Nii'inawag, which might pull in the historical phonology currently found in the Ojibwe phonology article. This would also mean a need to fully develop similar lines of information in the Cree language article (which other than the Ojibwe-group, is the only other Wikipedia article sets for the Algonquian languages that are robust), add connective starting points in all other Algonquian languages to germinate growth, then in the Algonquian languages articles, such that the reader could pick either end of the language history and smoothly transition in time as well as understand the relationship each Nii'inaw to fellow Nii'inawag. CJLippert 12:21, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Nii'inawag? What's that? (It looks cognate to Cree Nēhiya-, etc.). Anyway, there's also then the issue of names! Ojibwe dialects wouldn't make any sense, since it would be a totally inaccurate name for what the article would contain; so maybe Anishinaabe dialects or Anshinaabemowin dialects or Anishinaabe language dialects or Anishinaabe dialectology or...and so on. I'm not sure what you mean by a proto-Ojibwe article--just one on the proto-Anishinaabemowin that gave rise to all the modern dialect (plus Potawatomi?)? --Miskwito 04:44, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Nii'inaw is the general name for the Algonquian peoples in Anishinaabemowin, but Nii'inaw implies "Cree" to which others are compared. According to Cuoq, /ii'inA/ (Cuoq: iinav) is the root. Consequently, nii'inaa means "of our people" and nii'inawe means "of our people's language"... which the Cree forms are nēhinawē/nēhiyawē/etc. According to Hodges, other "Central" Algonquians are Nii'inawens, while "Plains" Algonquians are Nii'inawish but it seems his source material for the names are based from either ojg or otw. "Ojibwe dialects" makes sense only for ciw, ojb, ojc, ojg and ojw, and otw as well among linguists; "Anishinaabe language dialects" would include the "Ojibwe dialects" along with alq, ojs and pot; "proto-Ojibwe" probably don't make much sense so yes, "proto-Anishinaabe language" would be better. However, at the "proto-Anishinaabe language" level, I think the dialects should look something like the ciw/ojb/ojc/ojw, ojg/otw/pot and alq/ojs but this should be checked with research since the three groupings are based only on my observation from the FLOj data-entry. CJLippert 05:32, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, in volume six of the HNAI, Richard Rhodes and Evelyn Todd provide a chart of Anishinaabe dialect divisions/relationships as they were seen at the time (1981) (sorry about the hastily-done diagram):
Where EOj = Eastern Ojibwe, SWOj = Southwestern Ojibwe, COj = Central Ojibwe, and NWOj = Northwestern Ojibwe. --Miskwito 06:44, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and in volume 17 (1996), the dialects are split into two main groups (pg 4), Northern and Southern, which I think is how Valentine classifies them, iirc. In the HNAI scheme anyway, Northern consists of Severn Ojibwe and northern Algonquin; Southern consists of Saulteaux, Central Southern Ojibwe (?), Eastern Ojibwe, Old Algonquin (?...listed as extinct), and Ottawa. No further subbranching is done this time. --Miskwito 06:48, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
alq-N and ojs are definitely "North", but some place ojb-N as "North" as well, and place the rest as "South". alq-S and ojg should be shown diverging from each other. ojg and otw should be shown with stronger ties. pot when branching off to its separate location, pot-N can be shown in the vicinity of otw (and to some extent, to ciw) but pot-S shouldn't, other than being next to pot-N. Hmm. Too bad there isn't a good way to show this in 3D. In 3D the Rhodes-Todd diagram could be shown with alq being in the vicinity of ojg, ojs in the vicinity of ojb, and ojg being next to otw... all this without breaking that tree apart. Then, North as blue and South as red? The HNAI's "Central Southern Ojibwe" I think is what Guy and I discussed to label as (SO) in FLOj. His observation from the materials he had access at the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul and what I know of regarding plant resources, we knew that it was similar to both Potawatomi and to Odawa, but it went extinct. In all likelihood, the "Central Southern Ojibwe" might have really been "Southern Odawa".
Oral history says that at the Third Stopping Place, the Anishinaabe peoples had "lost their way" and were arguing where to go. This is when the Ojibwe-Odawa-Potawatomi split apart, and the Algonquins, Nipissing and Mississauga Ojibwe wanted nothing to do with the quarreling bunch. Evenually, the Mississaugas were the ones to bring the rest of the Ojibwe back from "being lost" and eventually the Odawa and the Potawatomi returned as well. During the "lost" period, the population centre moved from the SE MI to SW MI, then backtracking to SE MI, then to Georgian Bay, uniting with the Mississaugas that followed the Ottawa River rather than the St. Lawrence, and then from there the reunited Nation spead to Manitoulin Island, the Fourth Stopping Place. However, there are researchers (don't quite remember which ones) who claim this backtracking never happened and the Ojibwe about the Georgian were also the same ones as those about Lake Erie -- they were all Mississauga Ojibwe -- while the main Anishinaabe population centre went from Ottawa River directly to Sault Ste. Marie, and that it was only the Odawa on Manitoulin Island and the Potawatomi shifted from Lower Canada into Michigan and then into Indiana and Illinois/Wisconsin. This story is part of the Anishinaabe identity, so a diagram that implies something other than that would raise POV wars, so think this through: be mindful of tradition, but be scientifically accurate as the same time. CJLippert 07:48, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
There is an another issue to consider for the breaking off of the dialects: addressing mixed language and pidgin language of Anishinaabemowin. Depending on the source some say Bungi is a mixed language of Anishinaabemowin and others while other sources say it is a mixed language of Nēhiyawēwin and others. Then there is the issue of "Broken Ojibwa", a pidgin language that became to dominant trade language in Michigan, Wisconsin, and upper Mississippi River valley. CJLippert 03:03, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
True; it seems like a dialectology article would probably be the best place to address that, I think (and probably a very brief mention in the main article). Even though those aren't technically dialects of Anishinaabemowin. Unfortunately, I know nothing about Bungee or Broken Ojibwa (I do know that Nichols has written about it ("Broken Oghibbeway" I think it was spelled?) several times, but I don't actually know what he's said about it. --Miskwito 05:25, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Split completed. Moved the discussion to here because the discussion so far seems more appropriate here than at the original page. CJLippert 15:51, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Miigwech for updating the Algonquian languages page. I was looking at:
a. Ojibwe-Potawatomi (also known as Ojibwe-Potawatomi-Ottawa, Anishinaabemowin, or the Anishinaabe language)
6. Anishinaabemowin (also known as Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Ojibway, or the Anishinaabe language)
i. Northern
ii. Southern
  • Saulteaux (also known as Plains Ojibwe or Western Ojibwe)
  • Eastern Ojibwe
  • Southwestern Ojibwe (also known as Chippewa, Ojibwe, Ojibwa, or Ojibway)
  • Ottawa (also known as Odawa)
  • Northern Ojibwe (also known as Northwestern Ojibwe)
  • Nipissing Algonquin (also known simply as Algonquin)
7. Potawatomi
Currently, you've added a chart that shows the following (POT added), based on Rand's work:
  • POT
  • OJI
    • ..
      • ALQ
      • OJS
    • OTW
    • ..
      • ..
        • OJG
        • ..
          • OJC
          • CIW
      • ..
        • OJB
        • OJW
However, Rhodes suggests:


  • Potawatomi (POT) < Potawatomi Group
  • Ojibwe (OJI)
    • Ottawa (OTW) < Ottawa Group
    • Southern < Southern Group
      • Lac Seul (OJB)
      • Central (OJC)
      • ..
        • Eastern (OJG)
        • Nipissing (...)
    • .. < Northern Group
      • Algonquin (ALQ)
      • Northern
        • Oji-cree (OJS)
        • ..
          • Saulteaux (OJW)
          • Southwestern (CIW)
Looking at Rhodes and comparing it to oral histories, Rhodes is a closer than Valentine, basically harmonising 3rd to 6th Stopping places traditions. However, his paper is still in draft. In addition, Rhodes' analysis is also more like what Guy and I pointed out with our observation to Weshki when we put together that "Freelang Ojibwe Readme" file. Now that I had a chance to read Rhodes, I should send a copy to Guy and see if that "Readme" should be edited to reflect Rhodes' draft. Your thoughts? (on Valentine vs. Rhodes vs. other sources, not the "Freelang Readme"... for the "readme" comments, please e-mail Guy or myself and cc the other 2). In addition, Rhodes' arrangement makes more sense as well because the major dialects with relatively few sub-dialects are suggested as being newer and the major dialects with more sub-dialects being older. In addition, Rhodes' goes into the idea of "prestige", i.e. how the community identifies itself as, which is also something that Nichols have expressed to me in person (he was questioning if Bois Forte and Grand Portage is really FL:CN or should be FL:SW, since there may be prestige to identify akin with Fort William FN and Lac La Croix FN, rather than with rest of Minnesota; he also cited Valentine's prestige observation of Nipissing identifying itself as Algonquin rather than Ojibwa). In the case of Bois Forte and Grand Portage, I told Nichols that speakers I know of from there, at least with their vocabulary, is more like others of FL:CN rather than FL:SW. However, there is one point that I do disagree with Rhode's chart based on my observation, which agrees with Rhodes -- though culturally OJW and CIW may indeed be recent diversions, but based on pure vocabulary, CIW shares features with OJC and OJG while OJW shares features with OJB and OJS. CJLippert 04:14, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

CJLippert 04:14, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, I'm not sure I completely understand the diagram you've got there based on Rhodes' recent work. Since I haven't seen this draft of his (is this something that has been published yet?), nor have I seen too much of the evidence Rand Valentine bases his classifications on (I guess it's pretty much in his dissertation?), I'm not really in a position to comment on which of the classifications is better. Since there's only a handful of people who've published anything on this, though, what we'll probably have to do is just present each of the ideas (like, "Rand Valentine's classification is [blah blah]. Recently, Richard Rhodes has proposed an alternate classification of [blah blah]"). Unless the scholars working on Anishinaabemowin or Algonquian in general are more or less in agreement that one of the classifications is better, we'd be giving undue weight to one of the theories if we treated it as more valid. Especially if Rhodes hasn't even published his stuff yet, I suspect it would be a while before the other people involved could really respond. So I guess that's my take on it. --Miskwito 04:32, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

New material on this page[edit]

1. I've added a section "Classification" to provide background as well as a list of dialects, with justification coming from contemprorary research in Valentine 1994. I've included references for all of this material. Hint hint.
2. I've added a section "Status of Potawatomi" to give context on the Ojibwe-Potawatomi relationship. In particular it makes clear that while assuming that Ojibwe-Potawatomi is a genetic subgroup, in fact no one has done the homework on detailing this.
3. I've added a {{refimprove}} tag - the lack of sourcing on virtually all the Ojibwe pages is truly amazing.

Thanks. John. Jomeara421 (talk) 02:16, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Michif and Bungee in this article[edit]

1. There is no justification for having a section on Michif in this article. The Michif language (much of which was written by Rich Rhodes, who has provided much of linguistic description of Michif) makes it clear that Michif has some words borrowed from Ojibwe, but that's all.
2. The article on Bungee language makes it clear that Bungee is a variety of English with borrowing from a variety of sources, one of which is Ojibwe.

So while these two might merit a passing mention in a paragraph about borrowing, the way they are presented in the article is not accurate, and they should be removed.

Thanks. John. Jomeara421 (talk) 02:24, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Rationale for name change[edit]

Rational for English Spelling “Ojibwe” in title.

As part of the project proposed in "Merger Project" on the Talk:Ojibwa language page I have renamed this page, using the spelling "Ojibwe". Here is the rationale for this spelling:

This is now the most commonly used English spelling in academics works by scholars of Ojibwe: John Nichols (multiple publications), John Nichols and Earl Nyholm, J. Randolph Valentine (multiple publications). It is also the spelling that most closely reflects the pronunciation of the word in the language itself. It is also widely used in other contemporary linguistically oriented publications, for multiple dialects.

  • Ningewance, Patricia. 1993. Survival Ojibwe. Winnipeg: Mazinaate Press. ISBN 0-9697826-0-8
  • Sugarhead, Cecilia. 1996. ᓂᓄᑕᐣ / Ninoontaan / I can hear it: Ojibwe stories from Lansdowne House written by Cecilia Sugarhead. Edited, translated and with a glossary by John O’Meara. Winnipeg: Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics.
  • Vollom, Judith L. 1994. Ojibwemowin. Series 1. Second Edition. Ramsey, Minnesota: Ojibwe Language Publishing.

As well, this is already used for the titles of articles such as Ojibwe grammar, Ojibwe writing systems, and Ojibwe phonology.

John Jomeara421 (talk) 18:52, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposal for reorganizing article[edit]

I am proposing to reorganize this article so that it reflects the most current analysis of the relationships between the Ojibwe dialects, i.e. the analysis in Valentine 1994 (in the References section for the article). So doing will improve the article and make it more useful for readers not familiar with Ojibwe. The overall structure will be maintained, i.e. a summary for each dialect, linked to a main article on that dialect. Development of the main articles for each dialect is another project.

I am proposing to:

  1. Remove the section on "Trade Language" - the content has been rewritten and enhanced in Ojibwe language and duplication is not needed;
  2. Remove the section on "Anishinaabe pidgin and mixed languages" - the content has been rewritten and enhanced in Ojibwe language, and duplication is not needed;
  3. Remove the section on "Neshnabémwen" (Potawatomi), which is not a dialect of Ojibwe. There is a separate article on Potawatomi language, and the relationship between Ojibwe and Potawatomi is discussed in Ojibwe language;
  4. Reorganize the section on Ojibwe dialects to reflect the analysis in Valentine 1994, and include information supported with citations;
  5. Use names for dialects that are consistent with Valentine and other analyses (Rhodes and Todd, and Ethnologue). This article somewhat confusingly uses names in Ojibwe itself, but misses the point that the indigenous terms don't necessarily match up with dialects, so e.g. "Nishnaabemwin" actually is used for two separate dialects, Ottawa and Eastern Ojibwe. As a result many of the subgroupings given are inaccurate and don't correspond to analyses supported in the published literature.

I will leave the "Language code correspondence table", although the source given as "Linguasphere" appears to be no longer available, and "Freelang" does not link to a discussion of dialects. Thanks. John. Jomeara421 (talk) 01:28, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

  • I would add that this project entails recognizing dialects that are proposed in Valentine 1994 that are not listed in Ethnologue. Jomeara421 (talk) 02:28, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Material from article copied here[edit]

Trade language[edit]

As their fur trading with the French increased the Ojibwas’ power, the Anishinaabe language became the trade language of the Great Lakes region, and was for hundreds of years an extremely significant presence in the northern United States. As its result a pidgin form of the Anishinaabemowin, known as "Broken Ojibwa" or "Broken Oghibbeway", developed, relying on Anishinaabemowin for its vocabulary. The Bungee language, a dialect of English influenced by other languages, also developed during this era. However, it is often debated upon if the influence was the Anishinaabe language with other languages or a Cree language with other languages.


Ethnologue entries and SIL code: POT (Potawatomi)

The only language in the Neshnabémwen group is the Potawatomi language, also known as Bodéwadmimwen. Neshnabémwen, which like the Nishnaabemwin, the name indicates this language or dialect exhibits a great deal of vowel syncope. Unlike the Nishnaabemwin, Neshnabémwen also reduces the quality of the unstressed short vowels not lost in syncope to a schwa. In addition, Neshnabémwen retains in some words a postconsonantal "y", which is no longer found in any of the other Ojibwe group languages. Because of the development of these differences and some vocabulary wording differences of significance since the contact period, such as large-scale borrowing from the Sac and Fox, though Potawatomi was at one time a full member of the Ojibwe language group, it is now considered a separate language. However, among the Anishinaabeg, many still consider the Potawatomi language as a dialect of Anishinaabemowin.

Anishinaabe pidgin and mixed languages[edit]

Broken Ojibwa[edit]

Broken Ojibwa or Broken Oghibbeway was a pidgin form of the Anishinaabe language, more specifically the Odaawaa dialect of the Anishinaabe language, that developed during the Fur trade era and used as a lingua franca among traders and Indians from various tribes such as the Menominis and the Ho-chunks. During the height of its use, Broken Ojibwa was found primarily in Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota but also along the Mississippi River waterway.

Bungee language[edit]

The Bungee language or Bungee dialect, used by the Nakawē Métis population, further incorporates Cree, Oji-cree and Saulteaux with French, English, Scottish Gaelic and other languages of the northern Great Plains. Many communities write using western Cree-Ojibwe syllabics, but others use the Saulteaux-Cree Roman. Due to this mixture, it is often debated whether Bungee is a mixutre of Cree with other languages, or a mixture of Anishinaabemowin with other languages.

Michif language[edit]

Ethnologue entries and SIL codes: CRG (Michif)

Like the Bungee language, the Michif language used by the Nakawē Métis population is a mixed language. It is, however, composed primarily of Cree and French with very strong influences from the Anishinaabe and Assiniboine languages.


As it stands the article claims that non-contiguous dialects at the margins -- Odawa, Algonquin, and Severn are not very mutually intelligible. Has this been systematically studied? I have seen Severn and Algonquin speakers engage in conversation without difficulty and without prior exposure to each others' dialects (specifically Big Trout Lake and Rapid Lake). On more than one occasion, with different people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crussell221 (talkcontribs) 17:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

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