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A Brief Lesson in the Ojibwe Language

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Scroll-Hoffman-1885.PNGOjibwemowin is an indigenous language spoken by the Anishinaabe, or Ojibwe people. (Ojibwe tribes are also often referred to as "Ojibwa," "Ojibway," or "Chippewa.") Ojibwe tribes live in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Because of the wide expanse of Ojibwe territory, there is not one single standard form of the language. Instead, there are related dialects that vary in sound, vocabulary, and grammar. The Ojibwe culture and language is traditionally oral, but some hieroglyphic images on birch bark teaching scrolls do exist. During the 1970s, a double-vowel alphabet and writing system were developed.

The Ojibwe alphabet consists of 23 letters:

a, aa, b, c, d, e, g, h, ', i, ii, j, k, m, n, o, oo, p, s, t, w, y, z

And seven vowels that sound different than their English counterparts:

a as in "about"
aa as in "father"
e as in "café"
i as in "pin"
ii as in "seen"
o as in "obey" or "book"
oo as in "boot" or "boat"

Let's look at some words about animals, or "awesiiyag," common to Wisconsin:

deer: waawaashkeshi (waah-waah-shkay-shee)
bear: makwa (mah-kwuh)
wolf: ma'iingan (mah-ing-gun)
fox: waagosh (waa-gush)
squirrel: ajidamoo (uh-jih-duh-moo)
rabbit: waabooz (waa-boose)
bird: bineshiinh (bih-nay-shee)
snake: ginebig (gih-nay-big)

This is just a small amount of insight into Ojibwemowin, a language with limitless possibilities....

In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Ojibwemowin as one of the "most complex" languages in the world. Today, the Ojibwe language is considered "endangered" due to the declining numbers of fluent speakers. Language revitalization programs are becoming more common throughout Ojibwe country as fluent speakers are recorded, immersion programs are developed, and teachers work with children and adults in schools and language tables on a regular basis to promote Ojibwemowin, the heart and soul of Ojibwe culture and heritage.

If you are looking to learn more about the Ojibwe language, check out some of these resources:

A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe
Ojibwewi-Ikidowin: An Ojibwe Word Resource Book
Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories
Ojibwemowin: The Ojibwe Oral Tradition, Language (DVD)

Submitted by Hayley @ Central

Check Out Oxford Islamic Studies Online

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Oxford Islamic Studies Online.jpgRamadan just began this Monday, July 8th. If you would like to explore this tradition and much more about Islamic culture in a new way, try logging in to Oxford Islamic Studies Online. See beautiful photos of the art and architecture of the Arab world, gain a deeper understanding of the various denominations, use a map to learn more about current international events or find out for yourself what the Qur'an really says. A nice feature is the timeline, which puts over 1,000 events in Islamic history in context with landmarks of world history. Log in to this website and many more through the MPL website by clicking on "Research Resources," and "All Library Databases."

scales of justice.jpgThe Milwaukee Legal Resource Center will offer two classes on how to use WestlawNext. WestlawNext searches across multiple content sets by jurisdiction providing more comprehensive and more relevant search results. An Introductory course at 12:00 P.M. is followed by an Advanced course at 1:00 P.M.

Location: Central Library's Meeting Room 1

Date: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Time(s): 12:00 P.M. to 12:50 P.M. Introductory Course

1:00 P.M. to 1:50 P.M. Advanced Course

Registration is required and limited. Call 286-3011 to register. This is not a hands-on class. Attorneys can earn one CLE credit for each course.

It's Money Smart Week @ The Library!

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green piggy bank.jpgDid you know that if you spend $6.00 a day less on fast food, you can save $2,190 dollars a year or $43,830 over 20 years? Learn more tips that can help you control your financial future at www.moneysmartweek.org visit any Milwaukee Public Library year-round to pick up a copy of the Money Smart Week Resource Guide.

Think you know everything there is to know about the Milwaukee Public Library? Make sure you're taking advantage of these five MPL offerings.


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1. Regardless of your residency or card-holding status you can call MPL's Ready Reference service at 414-286-3011. This service is offered Monday-Tuesday from 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. and Wednesday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Librarians will answer non-research, factual questions that don't take more than 3-5 minutes to answer.

2. During the hours above you can also ask questions through instant message or text and an MPL librarian will answer them.

3. MPL has a number of digital collections and we're working on more. Collections include Milwaukee Historic Photos, Milwaukee Leaders, Remember When and more.

4. MPL is a Patent and Trademark Depository Library. This means we maintain a large collection of patent and trademark materials, including copies of patents granted all the way back to the 1800s. We also offer patent classes.

5. Using our CountyCat catalog you can access links and RSS feeds to new materials divided by subject, genre and format. You can always find the link to new materials on the CountyCat home page under the More Information heading. Click here to check it out.


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1939 Debut of "The Wizard of Oz"

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Wizard of Oz movie poster.jpgAugust 25, 1939 marked the release of the Hollywood classic The Wizard of Oz. The film was based on L. Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first published in 1900. There are many differences between page and screen, including the fact that the Wicked Witch, portrayed with such malevolent aplomb by actress Margaret Hamilton, has a much larger part in the movie than in the book. Interestingly, her character inspired Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which, in turn, has been adapted into the Broadway musical Wicked.


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Celebrate Wisconsin!

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The 159th Wisconsin State Fair is on now through August 15. It is the perfect opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Wisconsin.

To learn more about the fair, check out the book 150 Years of the Wisconsin State Fair: an illustrated history, 1851-2001.

Or you can read up on our great state by perusing:


Forgotten Tales of Wisconsin.jpg

Weird Wisconsin.jpg


Short History of Wisconsin.jpg

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