More on Omaha-Ponca =daN=shte and =daN=shte=aN

Koontz John E John.Koontz at
Mon Oct 23 05:44:41 UTC 2000

Use of =shte with various forms of 'what'

* eda'daN

Kki eda'daN=shteshte    i'wima'ghe
And whatever (specific) I asked you about
JOD 1891:77.4

* iNda'daN

INda'daN=shte          e'gaN,
whatever (nonspecific) so,

thana'?aN=b=azhi,      kHage',            a'=bi=ama
you have not heard it, o younger brother, he said (they say)
11 JOD 1890:39.16

You have heard nothing like that?, o younger brother, he said (they say).

* da'daN

Wu!  Da'daN=shte pi'azhizhi=xci thatHa=i     e=d=uehe      a'haN,
Wu!  what        really bad     they eat it I go with them EXCLm

he said (they say)

11 JOD 1890:71.5-6

"Whoa!  I am hanging out with those who eat disgusting things!",
he said (they say).


Constuctions with =daN=shte=aN

Nisi=ha!  Uga'shaN=ga!    Aba?a=daN,       wathitaN=daN=shte=  aN=ga!
My child! Travel   IMPm   Hunt  CONTINGENT work     CONTINGENT do IMPm!

11 JOD 1890:189.1-2

"My child!  Travel!  Hunt or else work perhaps!"

Witu'shpa, makaN'   i'dhappahaN=daN=shte=maN      a'dhiNhe
Grandhild, medicine I know it   "DUBITATIVE SIGN" I move

she said (they say)

11 JOD 1890:36.13

"Grandchild, I may have some small knowledge of medicine," she said,

Uspe'=         daN=shte
A sunken place perhaps
11 JOD 1890:345.9

GaN' ni'ashiNga (PaNka) pe'thabthiN shaNka=daN=shte=aN t?e=watha=i
And  man         Ponca  eight       nine   perhaps     he killed them

11 JOD 1890:370.1

And he killed perhaps eight or nine Ponca men ...

>>From the preceding examples I deduce a lexicalized sequence of enclitics
=daN=shte=aN, of which the latter is inflected in the right contexts,
signifying something like "perhaps this ..." with respect to the preceding
phrase and opposed optionally to a phrase preceding that with the sense
"perhaps that ...".  This former phrase can be unmarked, especially if a
number, or marked with =daN, if a verb.  "Perhaps ... or ..." is a
reasonable English translation with two terms.

I wouldn't care to identify the sequence =daN=shte(shte) that occurs at
the end of 'what' when =shte(shte) follows as an instance of this
lexicalized sequence, but I do think that the constituents =daN and =shte
are the same, and that the relationships of the meanings are clear.


I suppose we can think of =shte 'soever' as a sort of operator that
emphasizes that the preceding element ranges potentially over a whole
class of objects in reference rather than referring to some particular
thing.  Thus, it in some degree produces the sense 'something/anything
(soever)' as opposed to 'what (particular thing)'.  However, it doesn't do
anything so simple as changing 'what' to 'something' in a question.


More information about the Siouan mailing list