This is the first of many lessons about the four verb types. We’ve tried to break down the beautiful complexity of Anishinaabe verbs to help you assemble the parts into a whole. It is presented with help from Sean Kennedy of White Earth Nation, living now in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Please note:
Anishinaabemowin is very descriptive. Most of the language involves explaining what is happening.
The first of the four main verb types describes the world around you. No one is doing anything. Something is just happening.
Let’s learn some widely used Verb Type 1 words and phrases. The following vocabulary is singular.
* Ziigwan refers to ziigwanibiisaa (it is pouring water in little bits). This happens at a specific time of year, after the animkiig (thunders) animkodaadiwag (are projecting rumbling noises with each other). After these spring stroms the ground is good for growing which is why in some areas the word for spring is minogamig (mino = good, gamig = a place, building or land.)
* Biboon relates to “booni” which means to quit and “boonii” to land after flying. “Biboonigizi” also references age. In Anishinaabe culture, you say how old you are by indicating the number of winters you’ve lived through.
You may be wondering how you make a Verb Type 1 plural. Remember, a Verb Type 1 explains something in the general sense and there are no people or objects involved. Use the following formulas to make a Verb Type 1 plural: