Nice and big in Northern Iroquoian

Wallace Chafe chafe at
Wed Nov 10 18:09:56 UTC 2004


-iyo- is interesting. It doesn't mean "big" in either Seneca or Mohawk,
which Dave originally asked about, but rather something more like "good" or
"nice", in various senses including nice-looking, well-behaved, etc. In
Tuscarora, though, it means "big, great, beautiful", referring at least to
some positive quality. Marianne suspects that the Proto-Northern-Iroquoian
meaning might have been "big", and that the Tuscaroras extended it to
"beautiful" through contact with the languages in the north, which had
already replaced "big" with "good". That's certainly possible. These are
all verb roots, by the way.


> Wally,
> Isn't there also |-iyo-|? Or is that called a "verb root"?
> thanks,
> Michael

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