two, three, seven, eight

Anthony Grant Granta at
Tue Nov 9 11:40:31 UTC 2004


Big is chito /cito/ in Choctaw and ishto in Chickasaw, the Muskogean
languages most relevant to the question.

Quinary numeral systems aren't rare in North America, hence the use of
'two bones on the hand' for 'seven', etc..



>>> dvklinguist2003 at 09/11/2004 05:27:53 >>>
Hi all,

In looking through my Biloxi dictionary, I've noticed the same words
seem to be used for 'two' and 'seven', and for 'three' and 'eight'!  For
the first pair it's noNpa; for the second it's dani.  Dorsey makes an
allusion in the dictionary that seven is "two bones on the other hand"
and eight is "three bones on the other hand."  I'm compiling a
comparative wordlist of the Siouan languages I currently have info on
(e.g., Hiraca, Dakota, Hocak, Biloxi, Ofo) and this doesn't seem to
occur in these other languages.  Is Biloxi a rarity in this, or are
there examples from other Siouan languages that I don't have info on, or
even from Muskogean?

Another question relates to another possible case of borrowing between
Cherokee, Biloxi, and Ofo (or southeastern in general, as in the case of
'buffalo'): I'm not sure what "big" is in the other Siouan languages
(except I believe it's ixtia in Hiraca), but in Biloxi it's taN and Ofo
ithoN.  This looks suspiciously similar to Cherokee utana.  I'm
wondering if any of the Muskogeanists could enlighten me on "big" in
Muskogean languages.   Anyone have any ideas about this?


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