Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but RRC’s Indigenous Language (Ojibwe) students have found a way to not only make their own learning fun but to share what they’ve learned with others.
During their studies, students Dave Bird, Joy Phillips, Sherri Shorting and Gil Keeper came together to form their own musical group called Nagamoodaa!, which means “Let’s All Sing.” With support and guidance from their instructor Ida Bear, they created their own original children’s songs in Ojibwe – including lyrics, melodies, and accompanying guitar music. Although it was not required as part of their studies, these students felt they needed to record their songs and create a CD entitled Maajii’am (Start Singing).
“We found that it was important to record these songs as they are a fun and entertaining tool in language acquisition,” says Phillips. “Since we are on the journey to relearn the language of our grandparents, which was taken from us, we all felt it was important to do what we can to help in the language revitalization efforts. These songs have helped us learn Ojibwe as we have gone through the process of writing, recording and singing the songs.”
Phillips is an elementary school teacher and she hopes that the CD will be a helpful instructor tool for other language teachers.
“The songs are geared towards kids, because of the content and repetition, but we have found that these work great for any age and beginning level of fluency. Teachers can use the song structures to introduce phrases and conversation patterns, as a lot of the songs have proper grammatical tenses that can be used in everyday conversation.”
Phillips uses the Weather Song as an example.
“This songs talks about the weather for yesterday, today and tomorrow and includes the question and answer in the correct tense.”
Aaniin gaa ezhiwebag bijiinago? / What was the weather yesterday?
Da Gisina na? / Was it cold?
Aaniin wii ezhiwebag waabang? / What will the weather be tomorrow ?
Wii gimiwan na? / Will it rain tomorrow?
CDs can be purchased for $20 by contacting the group via their Facebook page Nagamoodaa – Learning Ojibwe through Song.
Maajii’am (Start Singing) songs include: Asabikeshin (Spider Song), Agindaaso/Awesin (Counting/Animals), Gaagweskaayaq (Seasons Song), Waawaatesi (Firefly Song), Colours Song, Aaniin Ezhiwebag? (What it the weather? / Weather Song), Aande Onjii’an? (Where do you live? / Directions Song), and Nibaa Ni-Abinoonjii (Sleep My Child – Lullaby).
The students would like to give special thanks and appreciation to their language instructor and mentor Ida Bear and Red River College.
For more information on RRC’s Indigenous Language programs, visit rrc.ca/indigenous