Ojibwe syllabary (ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯ)

Origin

James Evans, a Wesleyan missionary working at Norway House in Hudson's Bay, invented a syllabary for the Ojibwe language in about 1840. He had tried to produce a Latin-based orthography for Ojibwe, but eventually gave up and came up with a syllabary, based partly on Pitman shorthand.

Evans' syllabary for Ojibwe consisted of just nine symbols, each of which could be written in four different orientations to indicate different vowels. This was sufficient to write Ojibwe, but Evans' superiors were not keen on his invention and would not allow his to use it. He later adapted it to write Cree.

Notable features

  • Each sign can be written facing four different directions which indicate the vowel attached to it
  • The finals are used to write stand-alone consonants
  • There are considerable variations in the way the symbols are written

Ojibwe is an Algonquian language spoken on by about 50,000 people in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and by about 30,000 people in the US states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota. The Ojibwe syllabary is used mainly in Canada, while in the USA the Latin alphabet is prefered for writing Ojibwe.

The Ojibwe langauge has a number of names, including Anishinaabemowin (ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒧᐎᓐ) and Ojibwemowin (ᐅᒋᐺᒧᐎᓐ). The Ojibwa people call themselves Anishinaabeg (ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒃ)

Ojibwe syllabary

Ojibwe syllabary

Sample text (unpointed)

Sample text in Ojibwe (unpointed)

Sample text (pointed)

Sample text in Ojibwe (pointed)

Transliteration

Kakinawenen kapimatisiwat nitawikiwak tipenimitisowinik mina tapita kiciinetakosiwin kaye tepaketakosiwin. Otayanawa mikawiwin kaye nipwakawin minawa tash ciishikanawapatiwapan acako minowiciwitiwinik.

Source (pointed text): http://anishinabemowin.21.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=34

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Tower of Babel in Ojibwe

Links

Introduction to Ojibwe
http://www.native-languages.org/chippewa.htm

Ojibwemowin Zagaswe'idiwin (Ojibwe Langauge Society)
http://www.ojibwemowin.com

Information about the Ojibwe language and orthography
http://www.languagegeek.com/algon/ojibway/anishinaabemowin.html

Ojibwe writing systems
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojibwe_writing_systems

Ojibwe language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojibwe_language

Ojibwa people
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojibwa

Algonquian languages

Abenaki, Algonquin, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cree, Delaware, Fox, Massachusett, Miami, Míkmaq, Montagnais, Naskapi, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Shawnee

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

Syllabaries

Bamum, Blackfoot, Caroline Island Script, Carrier, Celtiberian, Cherokee, Cree, Cypriot, Eskayan, Hiragana, Iberian, Inuktitut, Katakana, Kpelle, Loma, Mende, Mwangwego, Ndjuká, Nüshu, Ojibwe, Vai, Yi