[Spam:0005 SpamScore] Re: two, three, seven, eight

R. Rankin rankin at ku.edu
Tue Nov 9 15:17:13 UTC 2004

Subject: [Spam:0005 SpamScore] Re: two, three, seven, eight

> . . . ithoN.  This looks suspiciously similar to Cherokee utana.  I'm
> if any of the Muskogeanists could enlighten me on "big" in Muskogean
> languages.

/cito/ or, in the 'tall' sense, /ca:ha/, where "c" is the palatoalveolar
affricate.  This is Choctaw, and there are some cognates at least farther East.
In Creek /lhakko ~ lhakki/ where "lh" is the voiceless lateral.

> In proto-MVS, I believe 'big' is *htaN'ka.  In Dakotan it is
> thaN'ka, and in OP it is ttaN'ga.  The final -*ka is probably
> an enclitic, so the original root for 'big' ought to be *htaN,
> which would match the Biloxi, and I suppose possibly the
> Cherokee.  But this word is surely old in Siouan-- probably
> at least 2000 years-- so if the Cherokee form is not just a
> coincidence, then the borrowing must have gone from Siouan to
> Cherokee, or else happened a very long time ago.

Right.  The OVS languages allow us to reconstruct an initial syllable, so the
PSi should be something like *ihtaN.  I'd say the -ka is an affix and tightly
bound.  I'd reserve "enclitic" for things like the articles that can be moved to
the end of the NP, or, at least, farther to the right as you insert additional
lexical material.  Siouan has at least two distinct roots for 'big'.  One is our
*ihtaN and the other gives the CH-WI, HI and some other forms.  I can't remember
the set offhand, but it comes out something like *xete.  Both words seem archaic
since they occur in dispersed subgroups.

> By the way, how is that Ofo version to be pronounced?  Is that
> an aspirated 't' or an edh in /ithoN/ ?

Aspirated.  And Swanton uses "oN" for an allophone of /aN/, so Ofo has /ithaN/.
Tutelo is similar.

I have my doubts about the Cherokee, but the first thing to do is check other
Iroquoian.  There is no real evidence for a Siouan-Cherokee contact (excluding
Catawba of course, but Catawba doesn't have the 'big' cognate.).

As for the numeral words, we've already written quite a bit on this and the
stuff is in the archives of the list.  I did a paper on the numbers many years
ago (pre-computer).  Numerals 1-5 and probably 6, along with 10 are pretty
easily reconstructible, and a decimal counting system is suggested.  But early
on you get partial quinary systems developing on top of whatever original system
there was.  I've tried to relate this to particular hand signs in the Plains
Sign Language (PSL).  But the quinary systems are somewhat different in the
different languages signaling somewhat independent development.  In Biloxi it
may have been under the influence of Muskogean, which also has quinary terms.
One of my M.A. students did a thesis on numeral systems in eastern North
America.  At any rate, it's hard to reconstruct 7, 8, 9 for PSi.  'Nine' may
have been *k(i)$aNhka, but that term is shared with Algonquian and its source is
by no means clear.

I see that the PBS program NOVA is presenting an episode that explores the
notion that the original Native Americans came from the continent of Europe (the
Solutrean hypotheis, I imagine).  That ought to be interesting and plenty


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