top of page
2022-2023 L'IMAGE comics

Comics will be posted weekly in Winter 2023.

Nishnaabemwin Lesson with Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere

[CN: Reference to language endangerment and allusion to colonialism.]

limage-alicia-final-highres_011.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_012.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_013.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_014.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_015.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_016.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_017.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_020.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_021.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_022.png
limage-alicia-final-highres_032.png
Scroll down for more Anishinaabemowin linguistics!
Anishinaabemowin-Linguisics
limage-alicia-final-highres_048.png
[Previous comic: Anishinaabemowin (Alicia's story)]  <<   >> [Next comic: Coming soon!]

L’IMAGE comic series: Nishnaabemwin lesson with Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere

Alt-Text with long description

COMIC

 

PART 1

 

[Page 1, cover]

 

Series title in blue text on the top: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Title over bright red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

Subtitles under the red banner: In conversation with Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere

Part 1: Anishinaabemowin? Nishnaabemwin?

 

Under the titles: The comic figure of Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere holding L’IMAGE Aji, the project mascot. Both are greeting the reader with smiles. Dr. Corbiere is a middle age woman with long, brown-grey hair. She wears a pair of rectangular framed glasses and a purple shirt. L’IMAGE Aji is a fish character drawn in a style reminiscent of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty. It is generally round in its silhouette and features. It has a pastel blue body with a yellow stripe, white belly, and yellow fins. It has two round eyes and round, pink blush on the cheeks, with a cat-like smiling mouth. There are bubbles coming out above it.

 

[Long description of infographic pages:] 

Each page of the infographic is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. 

 

 

[Page 2]

 

[Alt-Text note: There are four parts to this comic about Anishinaabemowin. Unlike the other L’IMAGE language infographics, this Anishinaabemowin lesson is presented as a conversation between L’IMAGE Aji and Mary Ann. The comics are black and white. Where there is a conversation taking place between the two characters, what they are saying is represented by speech bubbles coming out of each character. Unless otherwise specified, when Aji and Mary Ann are talking, Aji is on the left side of the panel, and Mary Ann is on the right side of the panel.]

 

Top panel: Aji is talking to Mary Ann. They both look happy. Handwritten text in the background reads: “Anishinaabemowin (a.k.a. Ojibwe)”

 

Aji: Hello everyone!! I’m L’IMAGE Aji. Today, we’re going to learn about Anishinaabemowin from Professor Mary Ann Corbiere! (She’s working on the Nishnaabemwin Online Dictionary!)

 

MA (Mary Ann): Aanii, Aji! (Note: Aanii means ‘hello’ in Anishinaabemowin)

 

Bottom panel: Aji looks inquisitive. Mary Ann is squinting her eyes and smiling.

 

Aji: Dr. Corbiere, I’ve seen various spellings of “Anishinaabemowin”, including Anishnaabemowin, Nishnaabemwin, and other variations. Why is this?”

 

MA: Good question.

 

[Page 3]

 

Top panel: Mary Ann is seen writing “Nishnaabemwin” in all caps on the “wall” in the background with a marker. She has a neutral expression.

 

MA: Spelling varies because people spell things based on their own pronunciation and not everyone says a given word in exactly the same way. Learners often ask teachers to “spell it like it sounds” when a word is written.

 

Bottom panel: Aji looks happy. Mary Ann is smiling with her eyes squinted.

 

Aji: So if this applied to English, it’s like spelling _tune_ as “tune” or “chune” depending on how you pronounce it.

 

MA: Yes!

 

[Page 4]

 

Top panel: A highly cartoonified Mary Ann is seen under a spotlight in the bottom left corner.

 

MA: Teachers who’ve taken the teacher training programs for our language use the double-vowel system taught in those programs. The system is called double vowel because it uses aa, ii, and oo for long vowels. Dictionaries produced since 1985 use this orthography.

 

Bottom panel:

 

Bottom panel: Aji looks happy. Mary Ann is smiling with her eyes squinted.

 

MA: Those not familiar with this double vowel orthography might spell it in other ways.

 

Aji: I see!!

 

An example of a non-double vowel spelling and a double vowel spelling of the name of the language is shown next to Mary Ann: “Anishinahbemowin” vs. “Anishinaabemowin”. The first one spells it with A H, and the second one spells it with A A.

 

[Page 5]

 

Top panel: Mary Ann has her right hand out, and has a neutral expression.

 

MA: The language is still not written extensively. It’s mainly language teachers who write it. For example, there are no newspapers or young adult novels written in Nishnaabemwin currently.

 

Bottom panel, left: The word “aaniin”, which means ‘hello’ in Anishinaabemowin, is written in syllabics [Alt-Text note: this is written in Anishinaabemowin syllabic writing:] ᐋᓃᓐ

 

MA (in just a speech bubble): In Northwestern Ontario, a syllabic writing system is used.

 

Bottom panel, right: Aji has its mouth slightly open. A profile view of Mary Ann. She has her right hand up, with her fist open.

 

MA: By the way: Nishnaabemwin, the name of the language, requires some explanation.

 

[Page 6]

 

Top panel: Mary Ann is in the bottom left, looking up at the speech bubbles.

 

MA: The -win suffix indicates that something is a noun, but natively, this suffix is usually not used in Nishinaabemwin to name a language. In Nishinaabemwin, we have the verb Nishnaabema, which means ‘(s/he) speaks (our language)’. So to say that I speak Nishnaabemwin, I would use this verb and say “Ndoo-Nishnaabem”.  

 

Bottom panel, left: Aji’s mouth is open wider than before. Mary Ann has her arms crossed in front of her, and has her eyes closed.

 

MA: I say “Nishnaabemwin” just when I’m talking about our language in English, since English is very noun based.

 

Bottom panel, right: A close up of Aji with a look of slight surprise.

 

Aji: “Ooh. Like when I ask “Who speaks Anishinaabemowin?” in English, right? “Speaks” is the verb and the name of the language follows it.

 

 

[Page 7]

 

Top panel: Aji with a cat-like expression. Profile view of Mary Ann, who is smiling with her eyes squinted at Aji.

 

MA: That’s right. To ask that in our language, I’d say “Wegnesh e-Nishnaabemat?”

 

Bottom panel: Aji with a cat-like expression, mouth open.

 

Aji: Stay tuned to learn more about Anishinaabemowin!!

 

Text in bottom right: To be continued!

 

 

[Page 8]

 

Section title:  References

 

Riccomini, K. (2019). The syntax and semantics of the Ojibwe verbal domain [Doctoral dissertation, Université d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa].

 

Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0216-01 Knowledge of languages by age and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions.

 

Sullivan, M. D. (2020). Relativization in Ojibwe. University of Nebraska Press.

 

Valentine, J. R. (1994). Ojibwe dialect relationships Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas-Austin]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

 

Valentine, R. (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. University of Toronto Press.

 

Section title: Learn more

 

Odawa &Eastern Ojibwe Language resources: https://nishnaabemwin.algonquianlanguages.ca

 

The Ojibwe People's Dictionary: https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu

 

Section title: Acknowledgement

 

Expert consultant and co-creator of Anishinaabemowin "5-Minute Linguistics" comics:

Mary Ann Corbiere

Professor Emeritus, University of Sudbury

 

Footnote: Errors, if any, are the Pl's oversight.

 

[Page 9]

 

Page title: About the L’IMAGE project 

Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies 

Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics 

Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre 

With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre 

Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com 

Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo. 

 

 

 

PART 2

 

[Page 1, cover]

 

Series title in blue text on the top: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Title over bright red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

Subtitles under the red banner: In conversation with Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere

Part 2: Nishnaabemo

 

Under the titles: The comic figure of Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere holding L’IMAGE Aji, the project mascot. Both are greeting the reader with smiles. Dr. Corbiere is a middle age woman with long, brown-grey hair. She wears a pair of rectangular framed glasses and a purple shirt. L’IMAGE Aji is a fish character drawn in a style reminiscent of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty. It is generally round in its silhouette and features. It has a pastel blue body with a yellow stripe, white belly, and yellow fins. It has two round eyes and round, pink blush on the cheeks, with a cat-like smiling mouth. There are sometimes bubbles coming out above it.

 

[Long description of infographic pages:] 

Each page of the infographic is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. 

 

[Page 2]

 

Top panel: A spotlight is on Aji and Mary Ann. Aji has a neutral expression. Mary Ann has her eyes closed as if thinking.

 

Aji: Dr. Corbiere, who speaks Anishinaabemowin?

 

MA: This is a tricky thing to explain, but I think at the end of the day, if a person says “Ndoo-Nishnaabem” (‘I speak Nishnaabemwin’), they are a speaker of the language!

 

Bottom panel: Mary Ann is seen in bottom left corner, pointing to the speech bubbles.

 

MA: For example, Mississaugas, Nbisiing Anishinaabeg (Nipissings), Ojibwek (Ojibwes), Odaawaak (Odawas), and Boodwewaadmiinyik (Potawatomis) might say this. There seems to be a growing trend for people from the various Nishnaabe First Nations to call themselves at the community level as Nishnaabek. (Also spelled Anishnawbek, Anishinaabeg, etc.)

 

 

[Page 3]

 

Top panel: Aji has his mouth open, as if shocked. Profile view of Mary Ann with her right hand raised as if handing something to someone in front of her. She has a neutral expression.

 

MA: Today, the matter of their name is an important question that different groups and individuals resolve in different ways.

 

Aji: So it’s not simple matter!

 

 

[Page 4]

 

Top panel: Slight close up of Mary Ann. She is looking at us and looks happy.

 

MA: Sometimes, when someone wants to clarify their particular way of speaking the language, they might say things like “Ndoo-Ojibwem” (I “speak Ojibwe”). Sometimes people have commented that I have an Odawa way of speaking!

 

Bottom panel: Aji has a cat-like expression. Profile view of Mary Ann, who is smiling with her eyes squinted.

 

MA: But as far as I’m concerned, whether you are Odawa, Ojibwe, or from the Nipissing First Nation, etc., we are all Nishnaabek, and we Nishnaabem.

 

[Page 5]

 

Top panel: Aji with a neutral-to-inquisitive face. Mary Ann looks happy.

 

Aji: Like any language, it sounds like there are many variants of Anishinaabemowin. When people like Alicia are learning the language, which one(s) do they learn?

 

MA: Teachers in a given program base their classes on the way of speaking they acquired as mother tongue speakers!

 

Bottom panel: Aji with a cat-like expression, mouth open. Mary Ann is smiling enthusiastically with her eyes squinted.

 

Aji: Dr. Corbiere, could you please teach me some Anishinaabemowin expressions? [Page 6]

 

MA: Sure!

 

 

[Page 6]

 

Top panel: A box containing the following words in Anishinaabemowin:

 

Giwaabam. (You see me.)

Giwaabamin. (I see you.)

Giwaabamig. (He/she sees you.)

 

Mary Ann with a neutral expression is pointing to this box with her right hand (fist open).

MA: One thing you should know is that sentence structure in Nishnaabemwin is quite different from English. Here are some examples.

 

Bottom panel: Mary Ann is smiling enthusiastically with her eyes squinted.

 

MA: You’ll notice here that what is one word in Nishnaabemwin corresponds to an entire sentence in English.

 

Hand-written text in the bottom of the background reads: “Polysynthetic Language!”

 

 

[Page 7]

 

Full panel: the previous box with the example words is repeated in the upper right corner. MA is pointing to this box from the left side. She has a neutral expression.

 

Giwaabam. (You see me.)

Giwaabamin. (I see you.)

Giwaabamig. (He/she sees you.)

 

MA: In Nishnaabemwin, who is doing the action and to whom the action is done to is conveyed by the verb shape and affixes.

 

The initial G in these sentences mark the second person, you. The rest of the word is what might be termed the “verb stem”. The shape of this verb tells you who else is involved in the sentence, and whether “you” are seeing this other person, or “you” are being seen by the other person. The practice of marking a particular person in a sentence is called person hierarchy.

 

[Page 8]

 

Top panel: Aji with a cat-like expression, smiling with mouth open. Mary Ann is smiling in a proud manner with her eyes squinted.

 

Aji: Wow, that’s so neat!

 

Bottom panel: Aji with an inquisitive expression. Profile view of Mary Ann, with her eyes closed.

 

Aji: Oh! When I spoke to Alicia, she told me that Anishinaabemowin has a “4th person” in addition to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person! Could you please teach us about that?

 

MA: Of course!

 

Text at bottom right: To be continued!

 

 

[Page 9]

 

Section title:  References

 

Riccomini, K. (2019). The syntax and semantics of the Ojibwe verbal domain [Doctoral dissertation, Université d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa].

 

Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0216-01 Knowledge of languages by age and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions.

 

Sullivan, M. D. (2020). Relativization in Ojibwe. University of Nebraska Press.

 

Valentine, J. R. (1994). Ojibwe dialect relationships Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas-Austin]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

 

Valentine, R. (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. University of Toronto Press.

 

Section title: Learn more

 

Odawa &Eastern Ojibwe Language resources: https://nishnaabemwin.algonquianlanguages.ca

 

The Ojibwe People's Dictionary: https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu

 

Section title: Acknowledgement

 

Expert consultant and co-creator of Anishinaabemowin "5-Minute Linguistics" comics:

Mary Ann Corbiere

Professor Emeritus, University of Sudbury

 

Footnote: Errors, if any, are the Pl's oversight.

 

[Page 10]

 

Page title: About the L’IMAGE project 

Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies 

Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics 

Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre 

With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre 

Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com 

Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo. 

 

 

PART 3

 

[Page 1, cover]

 

Series title in blue text on the top: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Title over bright red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

Subtitles under the red banner: In conversation with Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere

Part 3: The fourth person in Anishinaabemowin

 

Under the titles: The comic figure of Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere holding L’IMAGE Aji, the project mascot. Both are greeting the reader with smiles. Dr. Corbiere is a middle age woman with long, brown-grey hair. She wears a pair of rectangular framed glasses and a purple shirt. L’IMAGE Aji is a fish character drawn in a style reminiscent of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty. It is generally round in its silhouette and features. It has a pastel blue body with a yellow stripe, white belly, and yellow fins. It has two round eyes and round, pink blush on the cheeks, with a cat-like smiling mouth. There are bubbles coming out above it.

 

[Long description of infographic pages:] 

Each page of the infographic is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. 

 

[Page 2]

 

Top panel: Following the end of part 2, L’IMAGE Aji is asking Mary Ann a question about the grammatical person in Anishinaabemowin.

 

Aji: So what is the “4th person” in Anishinaabemowin?

 

MA: Let me show you some examples.

 

Bottom panel: Mary Ann continues her explanation with the illustrative demonstrations of two examples on both sides of her. On the left side, the example is when Tom saw Paul. On the right side, the example is when Paul saw Tom.

 

MA: Imagine that there are two people, Tom and Paul. let's say that I want to tell you that tom saw Paul. In English, saying "Tom saw Paul" in this context indicates that tom did the seeing, and Paul was seen. If I said "Paul saw Tom," it would mean the opposite.

 

The explanation continues in the next page.

 

[Page 3]

 

The full panel: Mary Ann continues her explanation of the fourth person in Anishinaabemowin.

 

MA: In Nishnaabemwin, where "Tom" and "Paul" appear in the sentence is flexible in this context, partly because one of them necessarily gets marked as the fourth person! For example, we could say Paul-an gii-waabmaan Tom, or Tom gii-waabmaan paul-an. They both mean "Tom saw Paul!”

Side note: This person marker, combined with the shape of the verb, tells you who saw and who got seen.

Aji: Ooh!

 

Sidenote: The -an in the examples means fourth person, and no suffix means third person. That’s why in the examples, the -an is attached to Paul, and there is nothing attached to Tom.

 

[Page 4]

 

The full panel: Mary Ann continues her explanation, with four example sentences (1) to (4) in a text box on the upper right corner.

 

MA: This means word order can be quite flexible in Nishnaabemwin. Let's look at (1)-(4).

 

In the text box, titled “Tom saw Paul” in English, there are the four Nishnaabemwin example sentences:

 

Example one: Tom gii-waabmaan Paul-an.

Example two: Gii-waabmaan Paul-an Tom.

Example three: Paul-an Tom gii-waabmaan.

Example four: Paul-an gii-waabmaan Tom.

 

MA: All four sentences are telling that Tom saw Paul. How speakers know that is from the verb stem used, /waabmaa/, and the suffix, -an, on Paul’s name.

 

Aji: So -an marks the 4th person! What is the -n on the verb, then?

 

MA: Because the sentence has a fourth person, the verb stem also requires that an -n be added, hence "waabmaan".

 

[Page 5]

 

Top panel: Mary Ann continues her explanation to Aji:

 

MA: This grammatical person, which doesn’t exist in English grammar, is integral to depicting a picture accurately in Nishnaabemwin.

 

Bottom panel: Mary Ann continues her explanation with an illustrative example. The description for the illustration will follow Mary Ann’s utterance.

 

MA: Which individual is marked as a fourth person and which the third in one moment can be reversed in the next moment, so a speaker could say as their next remark, “Tom-an Paul gii-nkwetwaan.” (Paul answered Tom. Paul in third person form while Tom in fourth person form)

 

In the illustration: on the left side where Tom saw Paul, A figure of Tom is looking at a figure of Paul (who is signing) from a distance. Tom is marked as third person, while Paul as fourth person.

An arrow leads us to the next scene on the right side, where Paul answered Tom. Paul is waving to Tom. Paul is marked as third person, and Tom as fourth person.

 

[Page 6]

 

Mary Ann’s explanation continues. In the upper half of the panel there is a box showing the illustrative examples. The descriptions will follow Mary Ann’s utterances.

 

In the example box, there are two scenarios. On the left side, the sentence is Tom (third person) saw Paul (fourth person). The focus is on Tom. Therefore we can see the figure of Tom in full opacity, while the background, including a figure of Paul, along with trees, grass, flowers and the sun, is like a painting hanging on the wall.

 

On the right side, the sentence is Paul (third person) saw Tom (fourth person). The focus is on Tom. Therefore we can see the figure of Paul in full opacity, while the background, including a figure of Tom, along with a house, grass, and the sun, is like a painting hanging on the wall.

 

MA: The difference between the 3rd person and the 4th person is that the 4th person is sort of “backgrounded”. The words “focus” and “background” above are just to give you an idea of how this kind of sentence works. It’s as if the speaker is visualizing the 3rd and 4th person in that way (emphasis on as if). The speaker’s not consciously visualizing them that way (emphasis on not consciously), and the 4th person isn’t necessarily actually in the background (emphasis on isn’t necessarily).

 

 

[Page 7]

 

Top panel: Aji talks to Mary Ann.

 

Aji: That's so neat!!

 

MA (smiling): Isn’t it? On the L’IMAGE website, there is a linguistics lesson that sketches the concept that’s actually behind our sentence patterns.

 

http://www.lingcomics.com/maryann-nishnaabemwin

 

Bottom panel:

 

Aji comes up to the forefront, with Mary Ann smiling in the background.

 

Aji: Next time, Dr. Corbiere will share some of her final musings about studying anishinaabemowin!

 

Text in the bottom: to be continued!

 

[Page 8]

 

Section title:  References

 

Riccomini, K. (2019). The syntax and semantics of the Ojibwe verbal domain [Doctoral dissertation, Université d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa].

 

Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0216-01 Knowledge of languages by age and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions.

 

Sullivan, M. D. (2020). Relativization in Ojibwe. University of Nebraska Press.

 

Valentine, J. R. (1994). Ojibwe dialect relationships Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas-Austin]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

 

Valentine, R. (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. University of Toronto Press.

 

Section title: Learn more

 

Odawa &Eastern Ojibwe Language resources: https://nishnaabemwin.algonquianlanguages.ca

 

The Ojibwe People's Dictionary: https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu

 

Section title: Acknowledgement

 

Expert consultant and co-creator of Anishinaabemowin "5-Minute Linguistics" comics:

Mary Ann Corbiere

Professor Emeritus, University of Sudbury

 

Footnote: Errors, if any, are the Pl's oversight.

 

[Page 9]

 

Page title: About the L’IMAGE project 

Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies 

Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics 

Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre 

With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre 

Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com 

Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo. 

 

 

 

PART 4

 

[Page 1, cover]

 

Series title in blue text on the top: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Title over bright red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

Subtitles under the red banner: In conversation with Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere

Part 4: Studying Anishinaabemowin

 

Under the titles: The comic figure of Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere holding L’IMAGE Aji, the project mascot. Both are greeting the reader with smiles. Dr. Corbiere is a middle age woman with long, brown-grey hair. She wears a pair of rectangular framed glasses and a purple shirt. L’IMAGE Aji is a fish character drawn in a style reminiscent of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty. It is generally round in its silhouette and features. It has a pastel blue body with a yellow stripe, white belly, and yellow fins. It has two round eyes and round, pink blush on the cheeks, with a cat-like smiling mouth. There are bubbles coming out above it.

 

[Long description of infographic pages:] 

Each page of the infographic is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. 

 

 

[Page 2]

 

Top panel: Mary Ann and Aji continue their conversation.

 

Aji: Linguistics students and language enthusiasts who want to learn more about Anishinaabemowin morphology and syntax should check out on the L’IMAGE website. www.lingcomics.com/maryann-nishnaabemwin !

 

MA, smiling: That’s a good idea.

 

Bottom panel:

 

MA, with a more serious expression: Oh! But before they do that, one more important thing.

 

Aji pays attention, which is indicated by a bubble with an exclamation mark inside.

 

[Page 3]

 

Top panel: Mary Ann continues:

 

MA: One thing to keep in mind when studying the linguistics of Nishnaabemwin and other Indigenous languages is that the linguistic terms introduced by settler linguists might not necessarily align with how Indigenous people might have analyzed their language, if they ever needed to make grammar lessons.

 

Bottom panel: Mary Ann continues:

MA: For example, in linguistics, “you” is called the second person, but in Nishnaabemwin the so-called second person has a lot of grammatical prominence. We saw this with the sentences “Gwaabmin,” (‘I see you’) and “Gwaabmig” (‘s/he sees you’), for example (emphasis on G and you).

 

[Page 4]

 

Top panel: Mary Ann: with a thoughtful expression, continues:

 

MA: Because G (which marks “you”) appears in those kinds of remarks, would we have called “you” the 1st person, perhaps? We have to wonder what kinds of terminology might have been used to describe Nishnaabemwin grammar if Nishnaabemwin speakers had written grammars for themselves.

 

Bottom panel: Mary Ann continues.

 

MA: Some linguists use terms like “direct” and “inverse” to describe the kind of Nishnaabemwin grammar we saw earlier …  which is useful for some. But Nishnaabemwin speakers might have made sense of th changes to verb shape in a different way.

 

[Page 5]

 

Top pane: Mary Ann continues to explain with a neutral expression.

 

MA: “We don’t realize that ideas like “I” being 1st person and “you” being 2nd person are rooted in European paradigms, and that Nishnaabek never had tot hink about “grammar” formally until they were in classes on English grammar. But such concepts are helpful when we go to write a grammar. They save us from having to recreate the wheel. And with our language being endangered, we need to produce learning resources as quickly as possible. Adapting an existing grammar paradign helps us to do that.

 

Bottom panel: Aji responds to Mary Ann. Mary Ann’s profile view is seen, and she has her eyes closed. The conversation continues.

 

Aji: As linguists, we have the responsibility of being mindful about the historical experiences of the speakers who languages we are studying, don’t we?

 

MA: Right. And it’s important to remember that linguists need to work with the language experts: people who speak that language.

 

Bottom panel: Aji and Mary Ann come up to the middle of the panel, smiling and facing the readers and saying some parting words.

 

 

[Page 6]

 

Full panel: In the center of the page is Aji with a cat-like expression, smiling with his mouth open. Mary Ann stands behind him with a happy expression.

 

Aji: Thank you Dr. Corbiere for having us reflect on these important issues!!

 

MA: You're welcome. To learn more, please see the references and resources on the next page.

 

Text in the bottom right corner: Miigwech! (Thank you in Nishnaabemwin)

 

 

[Page 7]

 

Section title: References

 

Riccomini, K. (2019). The syntax and semantics of the Ojibwe verbal domain [Doctoral dissertation, Université d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa].

 

Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0216-01 Knowledge of languages by age and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions.

 

Sullivan, M. D. (2020). Relativization in Ojibwe. University of Nebraska Press.

 

Valentine, J. R. (1994). Ojibwe dialect relationships Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas-Austin]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

 

Valentine, R. (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. University of Toronto Press.

 

Section title: Learn more

 

Odawa &Eastern Ojibwe Language resources: https://nishnaabemwin.algonquianlanguages.ca

 

The Ojibwe People's Dictionary: https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu

 

Section title: Acknowledgement

 

Expert consultant and co-creator of Anishinaabemowin "5-Minute Linguistics" comics:

Mary Ann Corbiere

Professor Emeritus, University of Sudbury

 

Footnote: Errors, if any, are the Pl's oversight.

 

[Page 8]

 

Page title: About the L’IMAGE project 

Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies 

Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics 

Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre 

Tee Duke and Jessica Tabak, UTM Indigenous Centre

With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre 

Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com 

Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo. 

 

 

Supplementary Material: Anishinaabemowin Morphology Infographic

 

[Page 1] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

Before we present some linguistics descriptions of Anishinaabemowin, just a few words about the ways linguists write Anishinaabemowin words for their analytical purposes. Recall an example we saw in Part 2 of Dr. Corbiere's lesson: Gwaabam ('You see me'). We spelled the verb stem of this word as waabam.  This is written by a linguist as waabami in the sentence Gigii-waabami (You saw me), even though speakers don't say the last i in that word. They just say, for example, Ggii-waabam.

There's a rationale behind the linguistics approach; some sounds were heard in the speech of Anishinaabemowin speakers in generations past. Anishinaabemowin, like any other language, changes gradually over generations.

Some linguists think that although people say waabam, this stem is underlyingly waabami in the speaker's mind. One way to think about this is that the stem is waabami with the i at the abstract level, but in speech, the i gets dropped.

L’IMAGE Aji is seen smiling in the bottom right of page. 

 

[Long description of infographic pages:] 

Each page of the infographic is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. 

L’IMAGE Aji is a fish character drawn in a style reminiscent of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty. It is generally round in its silhouette and features. It has a pastel blue body with a yellow stripe, white belly, and yellow fins. It has two round eyes and round, pink blush on the cheeks, with a cat-like smiling mouth. There are bubbles coming out above it. 

[Page 3]

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

The concept of morpheme is useful for understanding how Anishinaabemowin works. Linguistic units that carry meaning but cannot be broken up further are called morphemes. Some words are morphemes (like do), but some morphemes are not stand-alone words. For example, in English we know that the prefix re- adds the meaning 'again' to verbs (e.g., redo = 'do again'), but it's not a stand-alone word. Affixes (prefixes, suffixes, etc.) are a kind of morpheme. 

 

Anishinaabemowin is a polysynthetic language, which means that its words tend to contain a lot of morphemes. In a polysynthetic language,  you can have "sentence-words": a single word that would translate into a whole sentence in less synthetic languages like English! 

 

L’IMAGE Aji is seen smiling in the bottom right of page. 

Speech bubble (Aji): “In analyzing a sentence like Gigii-waabami, linguists might break it down into morphemes like gi-gii-waab-am-i. This practice is foreign to Anishinaabemowin speakers.”

 

 

[Page 4] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

If you utter just a verb like saw, it feels incomplete, right? This is because the verb is missing its arguments: the subject and the object. Arguments are things that help complete the meaning of a verb in a sentence. 

In English, you can tell which word is the subject or the object based on the word order. fI you say You saw it, you know that you is the subject and it is the object because English has Subject-Verb-Object word order. 

Anishinaabemowin has a completely different way of indicating what the subject vs. 

the object of the verb is!

 

L’IMAGE Aji is seen smiling in the bottom right of page. 

 

[Page 5] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

The way a verb stem changes leads linguists to describe Anishinaabemowin as having a direct/inverse system. There is one important thing you need to know in order to understand this system: Anishinaabemowin has a person hierarchy, which ranks the different grammatical persons. Here is the hierarchy (simplified):  

 

In the middle: the ranking of persons in Anishinaabemowin. From second person (such as ‘you’ in English), to first person (such as ‘I’ and ‘me’), to proximate third person, then finally the obviative third person or ‘fourth person’. 

 

L’Image Aji is seen smiling in the bottom right of page. 

 

Speech bubble (Aji): When there are two 3rd person participants in an Ojibwe sentence-word. one of them has to be proximate, and the other one has to be obviative. Proximate is the more "prominent", main character participant. in the event, whereas obviative is the less important, secondary participant. 

 

[Page 6] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

Here is an example to help you understand the direct/inverse system. Here is an Ojibwe word giwaabami, with a morpheme-by-morpheme translation underneath.  

The first part of the word, gi-, means one of the arguments is 2nd person. The second part, waabam, means “see”, the last part, -i, can have two meanings: one local, “one of the arguments is 1ST PERSON, the other is 2nd person!”, another direct: “the subject is higher in ranking than the object!” Detailed explanations continue in this and the next pages. 

The suffix i- is what's called a theme sign morpheme. A theme sign has two jobs: 1. it tells you which grammatical persons are involved as arguments (subject and object) in the sentence-word, and .2 it also tells you the relative ranking of the subject and the object in terms of the hierarchy. 

 

A local theme sign tells you that the 1st person (speaker) and a 2nd person (addressee) are involved. A direct theme sign tells you that the ranking of the subject is higher than the object in the hierarchy. i- is local and direct. 

 

 

[Page 7] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

Continue from the previous page, with further analysis of the Ojibwe word giwaabami.  

The prefix gi- on its own tells you that one of the arguments is 2nd person. We can't tell from just gi- fi this 2nd person argument ("you" in English) is the subject or the object. Combining the meaning of gi- and - helps us determine which one it's supposed to be. 

 

L’Image Aji is seen smiling in the bottom right of page. 

Speech bubble (Aji): The reason why the prefix is "gi-" (2nd) rather than "ni-" (1st), even though both persons are present in the sentence, is that 2nd outranks 1st in the hierarchy!

[Page 8] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

Continue from previous page, with further analysis of the Ojibwe word giwaabami.  

 

Here is the logic: gi-says one of the arguments is 2nd person (you), and i- says the other one is necessarily 1st person (I or me). So, does this word mean 'You see me' or ‘I see you'? Well, the theme sign - tells us that the subject has a higher ranking than the object. 

 

According to the hierarchy above, 2nd person (you) has a higher ranking than 1st person (I/me). If higher ranking = subject, then this word must mean 'You see me'! 

 

[Page 9] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

The opposite of a direct theme sign is an inverse theme sign. Here is an example: 

 

The Ojibwe word, giwaabamin, analyzed by its three morphemes. The first part, gi-, means one of the arguments is 2nd person. The second part, waabam, means ‘see’. The final part, -in, is a local and inverse theme sign. The detailed explanation continues: 

 

This is like the previous example, except this time, the inverse sign n-i says that the object has a higher ranking than the subject. Again, 2nd person (you) has a higher ranking than 1st person (I/me) - So if higher ranking = object, then this word must mean ‘I see you'! 

 

[Page 10] 

 

Subtitle: Five-minute linguistics with L’IMAGE Aji! 

Main title, over red banner: Anishinaabemowin 

 

Anishinaabemowin has a bunch of prefixes and suffixes like this! Here's a couple more examples with a pair of non-local theme signs. A non-local theme sign says that at least one of the arguments is third person. 

 

Two more Ojibwe example words are provided below. The first, niwaabamaa, means “I see him/her” It has three morphemes. The first, ni-, means one of the arguments is 1st person!" The second morpheme, waabam, means, see. The third morpheme, the suffix -aa, is a non-local, direct theme sign. Non-local means “at least one of the arguments is 3RD person!”. Direct means “the subject is higher in the ranking than the object!"  

 

The second word, niwaabamig, means “she/he sees me.” The first, ni-, means one of the arguments is 1st person!" The second morpheme, waabam, means, see. The third morpheme, the suffix -ig, is a non-local, indirect theme sign. Indirect means “the object is higher in ranking than the subject!" 

 

[Page 11] 

 

L’IMAGE Aji is seen in the bottom left corner, smiling. Mary Ann (in color) is seen in the bottom right corner. She is middle aged and has shoulder-length black hair, with gray hair just around her face. She is wearing a purple collared shirt.

 

Mary Ann: For Anishinaabemowin mother-tongue speakers like myself, when and how to make assorted changes to verbs was learned through natural acquisition just from hearing the language day in, day out from birth. How fortunate we ewre to grow up in our language! However, a linguist’s analysis can be helpful to some learner of the language, depending on their learning style.

 

[Page 12]

 

Section title:  References

 

Riccomini, K. (2019). The syntax and semantics of the Ojibwe verbal domain [Doctoral dissertation, Université d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa].

 

Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0216-01 Knowledge of languages by age and gender: Canada, provinces andpronou territories, census divisions and census subdivisions.

 

Sullivan, M. D. (2020). Relativization in Ojibwe. University of Nebraska Press.

 

Valentine, J. R. (1994). Ojibwe dialect relationships Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas-Austin]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

 

Valentine, R. (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. University of Toronto Press.

 

Section title: Learn more

 

Odawa &Eastern Ojibwe Language resources: https://nishnaabemwin.algonquianlanguages.ca

 

The Ojibwe People's Dictionary: https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu

 

Section title: Acknowledgement

 

Expert consultant and co-creator of Anishinaabemowin "5-Minute Linguistics" comics:

Mary Ann Corbiere

Professor Emeritus, University of Sudbury

 

Paul Melchin

Linguist

Footnote: Errors, if any, are the Pl's oversight.

 

[Page 13]

 

Page title: About the L’IMAGE project 

Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies 

Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics 

Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre 

Tee Duke and Jessica Tabak, UTM Indigenous Centre

With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre 

Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com 

Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo. 

bottom of page