EDIT: Note to anyone who may be reading this years later: there's some inaccuracies (or, rather, extreme simplifications) in the discussion below, mostly regarding the derivational morphology of nouns and verbs and such. The other stuff, about conjunct verbs etc., is still correct
Tidbits from Ojibwe! Yay! Many of these features apply to Algonquian languages more generally, as well.
There are also three so-called "orders" of verbs: imperative, conjunct (used in subordinate clauses and in certain other complex situations), and independent (all other verbs). Conjunct verbs are very interesting. They are most often used to mark verbs as subordinate (e.g., gaawiin gii-bi-izhaasiin gaa-aakozid, "he didn't come because he was sick, where the independent form of the second verb would be gii-aakozi, "he is sick;" example from ). However, I just finished reading a really interesting article on conjunct verbs: Rogers, Jean H. (1978). Differential Focusing in Ojibwa Conjunct Verbs: On Circumstances, Participants, and Events. International Journal of American Linguistics, 44: 167-179. The article deals with a distinction among conjunct verbs between "plain conjunct" and "changed conjunct" (forms in which the first vowel in the verb complex undergoes a predictable ablaut). Rogers argues that plain conjunct forms are used in basic, neutral sentences, while changed conjunct forms are used to place special focus on some aspect of the verb, either the circumstances surrounding the action, the participants involved in the action, or the event of the action itself. It's extremely fascinating, and I'm going to provide some examples from Rogers (though altered somewhat to fit the dialect I have so far been describing, Southwestern Ojibwe as spoken in Minnesota and Wisconsin):
An example of the neutral conjunct is in the sentence Mii sa azhigwa de-apiitizid (it.is thus now enough-be.of.a.certain.age-3SG.SIMP.CONJCT), "It's that he's old enough now." A changed conjunct form, however (also involving the initial apiiti-/apiichi-, "extent"), focuses on the circumstances surrounding the action; in this case, the degree or extent involved; for example, gaawiin ingii-gashkitoonziin ji-onishkaayaan gaa-apiichi-zegiziyaan (not 1-PAST-be.able-NEG to-get.up-1SG.SIMP.CONJCT PAST.CHANGED.CONJCT-extent-be.scared-1SG.CONJCT), "I wasn't able to get up, the extent to which I was scared" (i.e., "I couldn't get up I was so scared"). Or, to take a different example, using the preverb onji- (changed conjunct wenji-), "location," an example sentence using the independent order would be Mille Lacs indoonjibaa (Mille Lacs 1-come.from), "I'm from Mille Lacs." An example using the changed conjunct, however, is Mii iwidi wenjibaayaan (it.is over.there come.from.CHANGED.CONJCT-1SG.CONJCT), "It is there that I come from; that's where I come from," with the focus on the location, rather than a just being a neutral statement.
Verbs can also place focus on their participants through the changed conjunct form. Nominal verbs, called "participles," are quite common in Ojibwe, and are simple third person changed conjunct verbs used as nouns, with the meaning "someone/something who is [verb], does [verb]" (a number of common nouns are actually verbs in participle form, for example bemisemagak, "airplane," literally "something that flies along," the changed conjunct form of bimisemagad, "it flies along, it flies past"). These can be interpreted as changed conjunct verbs placing focus on the subject participant of the action.
A final area on which the changed conjunct can focus is on the occurrence of the action itself. For example, there is the simple conjunt form in the clause giishpin oodetooyaan (if go.to.town-1SG.SIMP.CONJCT), "if I go to town." The changed conjunct form appears in the verb wedetooyaanin (go.to.town.CHANGED.CONJCT-1SG.CONJCT-ITER), "whenever I go to town." Rogers points out that in this case "reference is to particular repeated events" (175). In other words, the focus is on the occurrence itself, and not just a neutral statement.
Okay, that's all the time I have for now. I should talk about the direct/inverse system, but I think the covers it fairly well. And there's also more info on Ojibwe grammar in .
Last edited by Whimemsz on Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.