Siouan and Iroquoian "buffalo"

David Kaufman dvklinguist2003 at
Tue Nov 9 19:57:30 UTC 2004

Yeah, yinisa is apparently a "southeastern" term that's been shuffled around the Muskogean languages as well as Biloxi and Cherokee.

I have another Iroquoian question: what are Seneca or Mohawk words for "big"?  I ask because I notice Cherokee utana seems strikingly similar to Siouan taN or ithoN, and I'm wondering if Cherokee could have borrowed it from Siouan at some point.  There doesn't seem to be any Muskogean influence here, since those words are quite different; my guess is that Cherokee utana is just coincidentally similar, but wanted to know what the other Iroquoian languages have to say....


Wallace Chafe <chafe at> wrote:
Seneca for buffalo is degiya'goh (accent on a and nasalized o). Apparently
this comes from *yotekriya'koh or something similar. Cayuga and Onondaga
have similar words. It isn't clear what the word means.

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