Kaw and Osage 'stand'

Rankin, Robert L rankin at ku.edu
Mon Nov 1 18:33:51 UTC 2004

There are a lot of remaining questions.  A full fledged reanalysis of
accent and length has to be done.  The answers won't be simple exactly
because of verbs like naaNz^iN 'stand'.  Historically it is probably
bimorphemic, or, at the very least, susceptible of being folk
etymologized as such, since the two parts have discernable meanings: na-
'on foot' and z^iN 'erect'.  How are such compounds treated accentually?
Or if they're thought of as monomorphemic, is the accent different?  No
easy answers here.  Also, are speakers accustomed to listening for
length in unaccented syllables?  These are just a few of the
imponderables.  It's up to us to sort them out.


> CQ:  In Osage, 'to stand' has a long nasal a:N.  'To rain', on the
> other hand, is either ni'z^u or nu'z^u, where the first syllable vowel

> is not long, or at least is not so long as the a:N in 'to stand'. I
> don't write 'rain' with a long vowel.
> RLR:  Ditto in Kansa. naaNz^iN' 'stand' (1st syll. long, second
> accented) nuz^u' 'rain' (1st syll short, second accented, /u/ is a
> front-rounded V as in French)
> Hmm.  Well, I asked our other Omaha speaker on Friday, and after
> mulling it over for a while, she denied that the first syllable in
> naNz^iN', 'stand', was long.  I wonder how Ponka handles it?

I hope the non-Dhegihanists and non-comparativists on the list will
excuse us as we wrestle with this single form and what must seem like
something we ought to know by now!  Unfortunately, I have to admit that
I don't! It's really important for those of us working with Omaha - and
in a larger sense Dhegiha - to understand how the phonology of forms
like this works!

I have the impression that Bob is saying that these forms in Kaw, modulo
vowels, contrast CVVCV' and CVCV', whereas Carolyn is mentioning CVVCV
(CVV'CV?) and CV'CV.  Rory seems to have CVVCV' and CVCV'.  I decided on
Friday that I couldn't rely on my memory for this and had to check the
data - my recordings, Dorsey, etc.  Unfortunately I never got to email
over the weekend and so forgot the whole question!

It strikes me that it would be a bit odd for there to be second syllable
accent if this was the third mora.  Of course, I'm not positive that
"second mora"  accent survives the discovery of vowel length, but I
suspect there is something in it, as it works so well in accounting for
patterns in both Dakotan and Winnebago, albeit in the former case the
rule is somewhat discretized by the absence of vowel length, and in the
latter case it only appears if you reverse a couple of major sound
changes, "in underlying forms."  I also meant to check Miner's Winnebago
version this weekend!

Just out of curiosity, Rory - or anyone, for that matter - what is the
pitch contour of naNaNz^iN in Omaha or anywhere else, not necessarily in
Dhegiha?  I'm wondering, frankly, if the pitch contour isn't

  H H   L

Is there any trace of falling pitch on the final syllable?

  H H   HL

I always thought I tended to hear some bisyllabic H L forms as finally
accented, though I think that they should really be classed as initially
accented.  I'd expect pattern one above with initial accent and pattern
two with final accent.  The fall might be absent, however, in cases
where something additional followed, e.g.,

  H H   H? H?    L

It might also be difficult to judge length, if the basis for the
judgement was relative length and the form in question had an underlying
plural/proximate =i that was deleted finally with, say, compensatory
lengthening of the final syllable.  This might be controlled for by
looking at a form that moved the plural/proximate slot to a later
position, e.g., naN(aN)z^iN=naN=(i) or didn't require it, e.g.,
naN(aN)z^iN=akHa.  And, of course, in =i=the, the =i should resurface.
Still another way of controlling which is not an option here is that
ablauting final reveals whether the form under consideration has =i by
changing -e to -a.  If you ask for a form like "to walk" or "walking,"
it's not necessarily clear what you'd get in a language that lacks
infinitives (?) and/or may not have a standard citation form.

In fact, it might also be worth looking at your perception of length in
a cross-section of forms:  first, second, third, inclusive and also
imperative and "embedded" under a governing predicate.  The personal
forms won't work with 'rain', of course!  But I think we tend to make
the simplifying assumption that length is constant.  A good deal might
actually depend on factors like inflection or foot structure.

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