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

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
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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