Numic Query (fwd)

Alan H. Hartley ahartley at
Fri Nov 12 20:16:22 UTC 2004


Thanks for sharing John McLaughlin's detailed and helpful discussion
(and to him for writing it).

> there is no evidence for the loss of the nasal (it's
> reconstructible) before the stop in Shoshoni.  However, in Comanche, the
> nasal has been lost before the stop and the stop devoiced.  How these
> facts explain 'Pomp/Pompey' is not within my ken, but Clark's not
> recording a nasal before the stop in /yampa/ and /aniipampi/ (beaverhead)
> is interesting.  It could reflect either Comanche or Southern Ute
> influence.  Both of these languages have lost the nasals before stops so
> the cognates for Shoshoni /pampi/ and /yampa/ 'wild carrot' are Comanche
> [papI], [yapA] (reflecting my /papi/ and /yapa/ and Charney's /pa=pi/,
> /ya=pa/) and So Ute [papI], [yapA] (reflecting /pappi/ and /yappa/,
> Southern Paiute /pampi/ and /yampa/).  The problem, obviously, is that
> it's unlikely that Clark encountered either Comanches or Utes during his
> trip and the placename is not in Ute or Comanche country I assume.

Seems to me the simplest explanation is that Clark's record *is* from an
obsolete Shoshoni dialect. (His transcriptions are, after all, probably
the earliest on record of Eastern or Northern Shoshoni.) This hypothesis
is supported by the fact that the Comanche language is an historically
recent offshoot from Shoshoni: -mp- > -p- may be a feature that Comanche
shared with a now extinct Shoshoni dialect recorded by Clark.


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