Morpho Phonology Notes

Verb morphophonology

There are some morphophonological processes in Ojibwe, though there may be some dialect variation.

  • Short final vowels in VAI go away for forms with ni- and gi- prefixes
    • Example:
  • gi- and o- alternates with gid- and od- in verb stems beginning with vowels
    • Example:
  • ni- is realized as several things depending on the initial context of the verb stem
  • there are several segmental changes that occur in preterites
  • Some reduplication
  • -s- in negative assimilates in voicing when following the segments n z h m
  • -m- alternates with -n- before negative -s-/-z-, also both things occur: ni-nisidotam-siin ➔ ninisidotanziin


  • ni- ➔ ind- before vowels
  • ni- ➔ in- before d g j z zh
  • ni- ➔ im- before b

Some dialects may also have nin- before gii- , as well as there is some dialectical variation for the whole process.

  • ni-nibaa
  • ind-anokii
  • in-dagoshin
  • im-bakade

Preterite segmental changes

  • a ➔ e
  • aa ➔ ayaa
  • e ➔ aye
  • i ➔ e
  • ii ➔ aa
  • o ➔ we
  • oo ➔ waa

This process does not affect stems beginning in dan-, dazh-, das-, dash- , or daa- . These have prefix en- .

There are some other changes too: the place prefix bi- 'here, hither' ➔ ba-

There is also some vowel insertion between the preterite form and consonants. usually /a/?


Reduplication of certain segments occurs, somewhat complex.

	a    ➔   aya
	aa   ➔   aayaa
	e    ➔   eye
	i    ➔   ayi
	o    ➔   wawo, wawi
	Ca   ➔   CaCa
	Caa  ➔   CaaCaa
	Ce   ➔   CeCe
	Ci   ➔   CaCi
	Cii  ➔   CaaCii
	Co   ➔   CaCo
	Coo  ➔   CaaCoo

source - James A. Starkey jr: Ojibwe Lesson 6