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Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin / ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒧᐎᓐ)

Ojibwe is a member of the Ojibwe-Potawatomi branch of the Algonquian language family. It is spoken in parts of Canada and the USA by about 89,000 people. There are several dialects known as Ojibwe or Ojibwa, each of which is classified as a separate language in some sources. Varieties of Ojibwe include:

Source: Ethnologue

Written Ojibwe

In 1840 James Evans, a Wesleyan missionary working at Norway House in Hudson's Bay, invented a syllabary for the Ojibwe language. He had first devised a Latin-based orthography for Ojibwe, and later 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.

Evans translated parts of the Bible and other religious works into Ojibwe, and later Cree, and printed them using type carved from wood, or made from melted-down linings of tea chests.

Evans later adapted it to write Cree. The script proved popular with Ojibwe and Cree speakers, and within about 10 years, most of them had learnt to read and write it. As paper was scarce at the time, they wrote on birch bark with soot from burnt sticks, and nicknamed James Evans 'The man who made birch bark talk'.

Notable features of the Ojibwe syllabary

Ojibwe syllabary

Ojibwe syllabary

Hear Ojibwe pronunciation

Latin alphabet for Ojibwe

Each variety of Ojibwe that uses the Latin alphabet has its own spelling system, most of which are based on English or French orthographies. The double vowel system, devised by Charles Fiero, is the most popular as it is easy to use.

Latin alphabet for Ojibwe (double vowel system)

Download script charts for Ojibwe (Excel)

Sample text (unpointed)

Sample text in Ojibwe (unpointed)

Sample text (pointed)

Sample text in Ojibwe (pointed)


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


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)

Sample video in and about Ojibwe

Information about Ojibwe | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel


Information about the Ojibwe language and script

Ojibwe courses

Ojibwe phrases

Ojibwemowin Zagaswe'idiwin (Ojibwe Language Society)

Ojibwa people

Information about James Evans

Algonquian languages

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas

If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.

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