Wapiti, elk and moose

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 30 00:58:39 UTC 2008

At 7:41 PM -0400 9/29/08, Wilson Gray wrote:
>The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is a good
>source for matters like the etymology of "wapiti," since Calvin

better make that Calvert

>Watkins (probably the foremost authority on historical linguistics in
>the US) edited the etymologies and Ives Goddard (the leading expert on
>Algonquian linguistics) was in charge of the Algonquian etymologies.
>First, the dictionary gives the following as a definition for
>"wapiti": 'A large North American deer, Cervus canadensis. Also called
>"elk," "American elk."' It derives the word from Shawnee wapiti "white
>rump," which in turn comes from Proto-Algonquian *wap- "white" and
>*-itwiy- "rump." So neither Cree nor Inuit is involved in the origin
>of this word, and it does not contain any root that refers to "deer"
>or "moose," although it does contain a root meaning "white."
>The above
>Courtesy of Philip S. LeSourd, PhD
>Indiana University
>On Sun, Sep 28, 2008 at 9:00 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
>>  Subject:      Re: Wapiti, elk and moose
>>  Would anyone know the root here for "white" and the root for =
>>  "elk/moose"?
>>  =20
>>  Gerald Cohen
>>  ________________________________
>>  Message from Mark Mandel, Sun 9/28/2008 5:19 PM:
>>  OED says it's Cree, not Inuit:
>>  adopted from Cree wapitik (Shawnee wahpetee) lit. 'white deer'.
>>  m a m
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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