Greater than the sum of its parts building plant names in ojibwe
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Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: Building Plant Names in Ojibwe. Stephanie Gamble Morse Eastern Michigan University/UC Santa Barbara. Overview. Project background Structure of names Types of descriptors Adjectives/Verbs/Nouns Animal names/colors Unanalyzables Names for plant parts

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Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: Building Plant Names in Ojibwe

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Greater than the sum of its parts building plant names in ojibwe

Greater than the Sum of Its Parts:Building Plant Names in Ojibwe

Stephanie Gamble Morse

Eastern Michigan University/UC Santa Barbara


Overview

Overview

  • Project background

  • Structure of names

  • Types of descriptors

    • Adjectives/Verbs/Nouns

    • Animal names/colors

    • Unanalyzables

  • Names for plant parts

  • Names that don’t fit the pattern

  • Discussion of dialectal variation

  • Conclusions


Project background

Project Background

  • Nearly 6,000 entries

  • 17 sources

    • Historical: Baraga, Pokagon, Blackbird

    • Contemporary: Rhodes, Johnson, GLIFWC

  • Looking for patterns in plant names across the language

    • All previous studies have been regional


Sources

Sources


By the numbers

By the Numbers

  • 10,000+ plants listed in the Ojibwe-speaking region (USDA PLANTS database)

  • 850-900 different Ojibwe plant names represented in the corpus

    • Number is approximate because there are a number of names that are probably spelling variants, but I was hesitant to collapse


Names

Names

  • Most names are comprised of two (or more) morphemes

  • Typical pattern is:

    descriptor+part of plant

    miskomin

    misko-min

    red-berry

    ‘raspberry’


Descriptors

Descriptors

  • Gezibi-nashk-> rustle-grass -> horsetail

  • Ishkode-jiibik -> fire-root -> shepherd’s purse

  • Bimide-min -> oil-berry -> olive

All images are from Wikimedia Commons


Descriptors animal names colors

Descriptors: Animal Names/Colors

  • Aandeg-opin -> ‘crow-root’ -> black nightshade

  • Bine-bug -> ‘partridge-leaf’ -> marsh cinquefoil

  • Msko-jiis-> ‘red-taproot’ -> beet

    • misko-jiisens -> radish

All images are from Wikimedia Commons


Unanalyzables

Unanalyzables

  • oginii-waabigwan -> ‘rose-flower’ -> rose

  • wiigwaas-aatig -> ‘birch-tree’ -> birch tree

  • wiigobi-mizh -> ‘basswood-woody.stem’-> basswood

All images are from Wikimedia Commons


Names for plant parts underground

Names for Plant Parts: Underground

  • Ojiibik‘root’

    • Minopugo-jiibik“good taste-root” Indian cucumber

  • Opin‘tuber’

    • Waagipin“bent? tuber“ -> yellow water lily root

    • Opin -> potato

  • -kaadaak/-kadak‘taproot’

    • Okaadaak -> carrot (also sometimes jiisens)


Plant parts easily detached

Plant Parts: Easily Detached

  • Anibiish‘leaf’

    • Anibiishwaabo -> leaf-liquid -> tea

      • -bag is a very common second component also with the meaning of ‘leaf’ but also ‘flower petal’

  • Miin, -min or –mn ‘berry, or plant with fruit’

    • Miin by itself is usually ‘blueberry’

    • Mishimin -> large berry -> ‘apple’

  • Bagaan: ‘nut’

  • Bagesan: ‘fruit’


Plant parts not so easily detached

Plant Parts: Not So Easily Detached

  • (wa/o)nagek‘bark’

  • Okonaas‘peel/skin of plant’

  • Bigiw‘sap’

  • Odikwan‘branch’

  • -aandag‘branch/bough’

  • -tig/-aatig‘stick, trunk, woody portion of plant’

    (Mitig when occuring by itself)


Names that don t fit the pattern

Names that don’t fit the pattern

  • Adjidamo-wano-> ‘squirrel-tail’-> goldenrod

  • Nebne-godek -> ‘hanging one-sided’-> solomon’s seal

  • niimidi moccasin -> ‘northern lights-moccasin’ -> yellow ladyslipper

All images are from Wikimedia Commons


Variation

Variation

  • Internal

    • Plant names tend to be use-based, so it’s not uncommon to see a descriptor with a variety of different plant parts

      American HazelnutWhite Birch

      Bagaanwiigwaas

      Bagaanesiminaagaawanzhwiigwaasaatig

      Bagaanimizhwiigwaasimizh


Variation between sources

Variation between Sources

CattailOak

Gilmore: pokwiiškmitigó-minš

Johnston: pukawaeyaukmishi-meesh

Densmore: apûk'wemǐtǐgo'mizǐnc

Rhodes: pakweyashkmiizhmizh*

*Q. alba


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Most names tend to follow the pattern:

    • Descriptive Modifier – Plant Part

  • Lists are useful for exploring the semantics of both the descriptors and plant parts

    • Name as a descriptor tends to indicate a type of mint, though it literally means ‘sturgeon’

      • (though it is also used for wild ginger and a type of potato)

  • It also makes it possible to more thoroughly investigate the organizational system of plants in the language


Sources1

Sources

  • A Concise Dictionary of the Ojibway Indian Language. Vols. 1 English-Ojibway. Rochester, NY: International Colportage Mission, 1903.

  • Baraga, Frederic. A Dictionary of the Ojibway Language. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1992.

  • Blackbird, Andrew. History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan: A Grammar of their Language, and Personal and Family History of the Author. Ypsilanti: Ypsilantian Job Printing House, 1887.

  • Davidson-Hunt, Iain J., Jack Phyllis, Edward Mandamin, and Brennan Wapioke. "Iskatewizaagegan (Shoal Lake) Plant Knoweldge: An Anishnaabe (Ojibway) Ethnobotany of Northwestern Ontario." Journal of Ethnobiology 25, no. 2 (2005): 189–227.

  • Densmore, Frances. Strength of the Earth: The classic guide to Ojibwe uses of native plants. Reprint of section from 44th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington DC GPO. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2005.

  • Dobson, Pamela J., ed. The Tree that Never Dies: Oral history of the Michigan Indians. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Grand Rapids Public Library, 1978.

  • Gilmore, Melvin R. "Some Chippewa Uses of Plants." Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters XVII (1933): 119-143.

  • Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission. Plants Used by the Great Lakes Ojibwa.

  • Geniuz, Mary Makoons. Our Knowledge is Not Primitive. 2009

  • Johnston, Basil. Anishinaubae Thesaurus. 2007.

  • Kenny, Mary B., and William H. Parker. "Ojibway Plant Taxonomy at Lac Seul First Nation, Ontario Canada." Journal of Ethnobiology 24, no. 1 (2004): 75-91.

  • Nichols, John D, and Earl Nyholm. A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.

  • Pokagon, Simon. O-gi-maw-kwemit-i-gwa-ki (Queen of the woods). Hartford, Michigan: C. H. Engle, 1899.

  • Rhodes, Richard. Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1985.

  • United States Department of Agriculture; Natural Resources Conservation Service. National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov (accessed April 10, 2009).

  • Valentine, J. Randolph. Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001.

  • Vennum Jr., Thomas. Wild Rice and the Ojibway People. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1988.

  • Weshki-ayaad, Charlie Lippert, and Guy T. Gambill. Freelang Ojibwe-English Dictionary.Freelang. June 11, 2009.


Miigwetch

Miigwetch!

Contact:

Stephanie Morse

[email protected]


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