Ottawa (Nishnaabemwin / Daawaamwin)

Ottawa is a dialect of Ojibwe spoken by about 7,400 people in southern Ontario in Canada and northern Michigan in the USA. Ottawa, with is also known as Odawa, is considered endangered by it's speakers, who are using more and more English. It is taught in schools and other revitalization efforts are under way.

Ottawa was first written by European missionary during the 19th century. French Catholic missionaries used French-influenced orthographies, while Methodist and Anglican missionaries used an English-based orthographies. Between 1823 and 1910 native speakers of Ottawa wrote letters, petitions and other documents in their own language.

The is currently no standard spelling system for Ottawa, although the system used in recently published dictionary, grammar and other texts is widely accepted.

Ottawa alphabet and pronunciation

Ottawa alphabet and pronunciation

Sample text (Love Medicine, by Andrew Medler)

Ngoding kiwenziinh ngii-noondwaaba a-dbaajmod wshkiniigkwen gii-ndodmaagod iw wiikwebjigan. Wgii-msawenmaan niw wshkinwen. Mii dash niw kiwenziinyan gii-ndodmawaad iw wiikwebjigan, gye go wgii-dbahmawaan. Mii dash gii-aabjitood maaba wshkiniigkwe iw mshkiki gaa-giishpnadood. Mii dash maaba wshkinwe gaa-zhi-gchi-zaaghaad niw wshkiniigkwen. Gye go mii gii-wiidgemaad, gye go mii wiiba gii-yaawaawaad binoojiinyan. Aapji go gii-zaaghidwag gye go gii-maajiishkaawag.


Once I heard an old man tell of how a young woman asked him for love medicine. She was in love with a young man. So then she asked that old man for the love medicine, and she paid him for it. Then this young woman used that medicine that she had bought. Then this young man accordingly very much loved that young woman. Then he married her; very soon they had children. They loved each other and they fared very well.


Sample video in and about Ottawa

Information about Ottawa | Numbers


Information about Ottawa

Algonquian languages

Abenaki, Algonquin, Arapaho, Atikamekw, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cree (East), Cree (Moose), Cree (Plains), Cree (Swampy), Cree (Woods), Fox, Innu (Montagnais), Kickapoo, Malecite-Passamaquoddy, Loup, Massachusett (Wampanoag), Menominee, Miami, Míkmaq, Mohegan, Mohican, Munsee, Narragansett, Naskapi, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Ottawa, Penobscot, Powhatan, Potawatomi, Quiripi, Sauk, Shawnee, Unami (Lenape)

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.01.23


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