Sunday, 4 January 2015

Gidinwewin, a new (2011) Ojibwe language textbook

I thought I would post a review of Gidinwewin (by Roger Roulette,  2011), but the copy of the CD-ROM that arrived with the textbook doesn't work (or, at least, it doesn't work on my computer), so I can't really review the book (beyond a first impression).

This is a textbook created as part of a Grade 9 (high school) curriculum, produced  by the MICEC (Manitoba).

It uses what I would call "standard" Ojibwe spellings: it seems to consistently use the same spellings that you find in the Ojibwe People's Dictionary, despite the distance between Manitoba and Minnesota (i.e., the editors did not decide to "lean toward" a West-Ojibwe accent, nor Saulteaux spellings).

The textbook contains crossword puzzles and word-searches.  The majority of the pages are direct translation exercises (Ojibwe to English and vice-versa).

There are short word-lists and very short explanations, assuming either (1) a classroom instructor, or else (2) whatever help may exist on the CD-ROM (that I haven't seen myself).

I think that most people would be disappointed with the book, as it doesn't look like "a real textbook", but more like a series of worksheets for in-classroom use; however, I think the book would be a very useful augment to resources that already exist (like the Pimsleur course, etc.).

If you were using this alone (for self-study), you would need to have  the discipline to attempt the translation exercises, and then check the answer key in the back (that's a method that gets results, but requires determination; I went a long way with that method in teaching myself Pali).  Again, I do not know how much encouragement the CD provides.

In general, the book makes me hopeful about whatever language-resources the MICEC may produce next; the rest of their catalog (as of 2014) isn't very impressive (just a few story-books for small children).