Numic Query (fwd)

Alan H. Hartley ahartley at
Fri Nov 12 23:35:31 UTC 2004

John M.,

Thanks for all the additional background, especially on the timing of he
loss of the nasal in Comanche. (That doesn't, of course, preclude the
existence of an archaic Shoshoni dialect with the same loss.)

> I just looked up "Beaverhead Valley" in
> Bill Bright's Glossary of L&C names in Names (2004, 52:163-237) and it is in
> Montana, predating Sacajawea's meeting of other Shoshoni speakers.  It's
> listed as Har na hap pap chah with a note "also called <Hane-pompy-hah>".
> The alternate name reflects actual Shoshoni /hani/ 'beaver' and /pampi/
> 'head', and may reflect Sacajawea's usage AFTER speaking to her relatives in
> Idaho and remembering "proper" Shoshoni (assuming that Hane-pompy-hah is
> recorded by L&C).

"Hane-pompy-hah" wasn't recorded by L&C: it's from Moulton's footnote on
p. 176 of vol. 8 of his edition of the Journals where it's given as the
suggested Shoshoni original for "Har na Hap pap Chah" (citing an earlier
paper by Rees). "Har na Hap pap Chah" was recorded on the expedition's
second passage through western Montana, in 1806, months after they met
the Shoshoni.

The passage from Clark (8.175; 10 July 1806) reads:

"proceeded..into that butifull and extensive Vally open and fertile
which we Call the beaver head Vally which is the Indian name[,] in their
language Har na Hap pap Chah. from the No. of those animals in it & a
pt. of land resembling the head of one"

> The form with <pa(h)p> seems to reflect Sacajawea's
> pre-Idaho speech, not that of any other Shoshoni at the time.  It would be
> interesting to see if there are Shoshoni forms recorded by L&C after
> Sacajawea spoke with other Shoshonis in Idaho.

The word for 'yampa' was, like "Har na Hap pap Chah," also recorded in 1806.

The passage from Clark (7.270; 18 May 1806):

"The Squar wife to Shabono busied her Self gathering the roots of the
fenel Called by the Snake Indians Year pah for the purpose of drying to
eate on the Rocky mountains."

These seem pretty suggestive of a nasal-dropping Shoshoni dialect.


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