Verb Type 2 – How to Say Someone Does Something

Anishinaabemowin is a language focused on describing the world and the action that takes place in it. Before any sentence can be understood, a speaker or listener will ask, “What is happening and who or what is involved?” The answer to those questions will determine which verb is used.

The second type of verb is sometimes called the Intransitive Animate but “Type 2” also works.

Verb Type 2 is used when one of the seven kinds of “actors” or “pronouns” does something. Speakers add to the word to show who did it. The table below explains what is added to a “root” verb.

Pronoun in Ojibwe
Pronoun in English
Single Statement or “ina” Questions
niin I ni + verb
nin (initial d,j,g,z,zh) *also remove only
nim (initial b) the last “i” or “o”
nind (initial vowel)
giin you gi + verb *also remove only
gid (initial vowel) the last “i” or “o”
gim (initial b)
wiin he / she o + verb *the “o” is optional
niinawind just us ni + verb + min
nin (initial d,j,g,z,zh)
nim (initial b)
nind (initial vowel)
giinawind all of us gi + verb + min
gid (initial vowel)
gim (initial b)
giinawaa you all gi + verb + m
gid (initial vowel)
gim (initial b)
wiinawaa them o + verb + wag (final vowel) *”o” is optional
o + verb + oog (final consonant)

Here are some Type 2 root verbs. They will become the center of your statement as you add meaning.

Verb Types 2 Root Verbs

  • wiisni – to eat
  • giishkaabaagwe – be thirsty
  • zhoomiingweni – to smile
  • minawaanigozi – happy
  • debwe – true / honest
  • bakade – hungry
  • ayekozi – tired
  • aakozi – sick
  • bimibatoo – run along
  • bimose – walk
  • inendam – to think / agree
  • gaagiigido – talk
  • bimaadizi – to live
  • izhinikaazo – to be named
  • bagizo – to swim
  • odamino – to play
  • dagoshin – to arrive
  • biindige – to enter
  • niimi – to dance
  • nibaa – to sleep
  • bakinaage – to win
  • ozhibii’ige – to write

To begin a sentence, choose a root verb. Then indicate who is doing the action by adding the right parts to the front and/or back of the root verb. There is no need to say the actual pronoun unless you want to be very very emphatic. For example: Nimbakade. = I am hungry. Niin nimbakade. = Me, I am hungry!

Verb Types 2 Wiisini Example

It helps to think of it as an equation:

  • ni + wiisin (take away the “i”) = I am eating
  • gi + wiisin (take away the “i”) = you are eating
  • o + wiisini (with no changes and the “o” is optional) = he or she is eating
  • ni + wiisini + min = just us (the speaker and someone, not including the listener) are eating
  • gi + wiisini + min = all of us (the speaker and someone and the listener) are all eating
  • gi + wiisini + m = yous (more than one of you) are eating
  • o + wiisini + wag (the “o” is optional) = they are eating

Aanikanootan (Translate It)


Translate these sentences created by the students in the First Year Anishinaabemowin class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Then try to write your own!

Please note: In real speech there is variation that listeners learn to hear beyond. Some people have accents they picked up from their home community, others are learning the language for the first time. Being able to become fluent depends on the ability to understand a wide range of pronunciation.

Verb Types 2 Student Sentences

  1. Ningiishkaabaagwe.
  2. Gigaagiigid.
  3. Ayekozi.
  4. Nizhoomiingwenimin.
  5. Gibimosem.
  6. Bimibatoowag.
  7. Gidodaminomin.
  8. Obindige.
  9. Onibaawag.
  10. Nimbakade.
  11. Nindebwemin.
  1. Ningiishkaabaagwe. – I am thirsty.
  2. Gigaagiigid. – You are talking.
  3. Ayekozi. He/she is tired.
  4. Nizhoomiingwenimin. – We are smiling.
  5. Gibimosem – You all are walking.
  6. Bimibatoowag – They run along.
  7. Gidodaminomin – We are all playing.
  8. Obindige. – He/she enters.
  9. Onibaawag. – They are sleeping.
  10. Nimbakade. I am hungry.
  11. Nindebwemin. Just us are true/correct.

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