Ind'an (was INDIAN vs. INJUN)

Dale Coye Dalecoye at AOL.COM
Wed Jan 10 22:35:33 UTC 2001

In a message dated 01/10/2001 2:18:16 PM Eastern Standard Time,
flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU writes:

<< Injun" originated as a palatalization of "Indian," as in Brit Eng
 "immedjate."  Of course, there's no excuse for continuing this
 pronunciation into Am Eng, at least today.  Interestingly, Lakota Sioux
 (and other tribes as well, I'm told) pronounce the word "Ind'an" [IndEn],
 reducing the medial vowel instead of palatalizing it.

This version may be the result of influences within Lakota, but it could also
be the way they first heard it pronounced by whites.   Historically this sort
of ending sometimes lost the high front vowel before schwa (and I can't
recall more details without Dobson)... but Lydia for example was Lydda for my
grandfather (b. 1893), and Shakespeare has a spelling somewhere that
indicates 'ruffian' was 'ruffin'.  There's lots of other examples, notably
the -iage group, marriage, carriage, and for some foliage, though lots of us
put the /i/ back in on that one.

Dale Coye
The College of NJ

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