Course:FNEL 382/Ojibwe People's Dictionary

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The Ojibwe People's Dictionary

Lexicography Tool

The dictionary is an online resource [1] that allows for users to query the Ojibwe /oʊˈdʒiːbweɪ/ [2] language, which can be done so by either searching in English or Ojibwe. It is a talking dictionary meaning audio clips of Ojibwe speakers are included on the website.


Linguist and professor at the University of Minnesota, Dr. John D. Nichols created the online dictionary. The dictionary was created with the help of faculty and staff at the university, headed by the Department of American Indian Studies [3], and University Libraries [4].


Initial support for the project was headed by the Legacy Amendment in Minnesota which allowed for the Ojibwe People's Dictionary to commence its development.

From there on out, the Ojibwe People's Dictionary has been supported through a variety of grants. Some examples being the from the National Science Foundation with Grant No. BCS-0553716, Historic Resources Advisory Committee, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.

Since 2015, further support from nearby institutions has forged partnerships. These are notably Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa Gidakiiminaang.[5]

Intended Audience

The dictionary is a basic introduction to the Ojibwe language. The language is spoken in Canada as well as the United States, however since it was created and maintained by the University of Minnesota staff and faculty, its roots are in the dialects pertaining to the Great Lakes region in the U.S.

Ojibwe is considered an endangered language, and in the past the older members of the community have not taught it to their children. This has led the language to be considered "severely endangered" and resources such as the Ojibwe People's Dictionary aim to increase the number of langauge speakers in present generations to avoid complete language loss. [6]


For Ojibwe, the orthography used is the Double Vowel alphabet. All included letters are: a, aa, b, ch, d, e, g, h, ’, i, ii, j, k, m, n, o, oo, p, s, sh, t, w, y, z, zh [7] An example of an Ojibwe word is aagim - 'snowshoe'. "aa" has the English equivalent sound of the "a" in "father."