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Updated: 6-27-2011 11:17 AM


 Word stems may also be made up of parts that have meaning. If one examines a group of words related in meaning, one finds that certain parts appear again and again, retaining the same basic meaning. For example, many words that refer to bursting or exploding begin with the same part of the word stem meaning to shoot something.

baashkiz-, as in the word obaashkizaan s/he shoots it

 The last part of the stem, the z or s part, is common to many words referring to heat or fire. Neither of these two parts is a word by itself, but together the word parts for burst or explode and by heat or by fire make up a word stem. This process of putting together parts to make word stems is called derivation.

 In Ojibwe, word stems may be derived from other word stems by the addition of special derivational affixes, usually suffixes. For example, by adding the suffix -ge/-ke to the stem in the above example, one gets another word, a verb that means to shoot things, which has different inflections.

baashkizige                 s/he shoots things

 Derived stems can change word class. Noun stems can be made out of the verb stems above by the addition of various derivational suffixes.

baashkizigan               gun

 These noun stems with verb stems within them can be bases for further verbs, as illustrated below:

obaashkizigani            s/he has a gun

 Understanding and using word stems in the correction inflected forms are essential skills that learners of Ojibwe must master.