OP u- and udhu- Verbs

Koontz John E John.Koontz at colorado.edu
Mon Nov 15 16:48:29 UTC 2004

On Sun, 14 Nov 2004, Rory M Larson wrote:
> .. I've been following a paradigm that is either mistaken, or at best a
> recent innovation.  I had thought we had it nailed down with our
> speakers that 'them (anim.)' in u- verbs was handled as u-wa'-[root].

Nope, the u-wa'- forms definitely occur with some verbs.  Very likely what
you have encountered is essentially what is in Dorsey.  I didn't do the
wa-using u-verbs.  They mostly have subjects not only animate, but human
as I recall.  I should probably have mentioned them again, but I had
mentioned them earlier and I was (believe it or not) trying to cut things

> > ua'ttaN 'I am putting on (a shoe?  shoes?)' 90:45.6
>   *o-a'-[root]                  I -> 3(sg?/pl.inanimate?)

This one is anomalous, either as glossed or as accented.  It is possible
that either one is wrong.

> My question here is that I thought wa- as 'them' was restricted to
> animates.  Two of these three cases seem to show that shoes as 'them'
> take wa-.

An excellent point!  I have no explanation.

> > aN'guna=i 'we hunted them' 90:434.2
>   *uNk-wa'-o-[root]             we -> 3pl

I make it *wa-uN'k-o-.

> This one is interesting because it suggests that the rule of shifting
> accent forward in u- verbs to indicate an underlying wa- has been
> generalized to the extent of shifting it off the *wa-o- => u- syllable
> itself.  If that weren't the case, the above example should have come
> out *aNgu'na=i.

However, I did initially womnder if it wasn't generalization of accent

> > udhu'ha=bi=ama 'he followed them (elk)' 90:72.7
>   *i-wa'-o-[root]               3sg -> 3pl.anim.
> In this case, the accent does not move forward.

I think there's no wa in this form, so the glossing is anomalous.  It
probably should be 'he followed it (the trail of the elk)'.

> > wiu'akkie" 'I spoke to him (?) [(?) in orig.] about it' 91:120.13
>   *wa-i'-o-a-kki-[root]         I -> 3sg?.anim?
> In this case, the accent moves back.

But I tend to think that pronunication of wi'u- alternates with wiu'-, or
at least the transcription does.

> > wi'uha=bi=ama 'he followed them (trails)' 90:149.8
>   *wa-i'-o-[root]               3sg -> 3pl.inan.
> Again, we seem to have a wa- for inanimate 'them'.

Which I hadn't noticed.  Maybe it's less a question of animacy than a
specific perception of multiplicity, far more likely to be considered with

> > aNwaN'ha 'we followed their trail' 90:440.16
>   *o-uNk'-[root]                we -> 3sg.inan.
> The 'we' affixed pronoun is inserted after the *o- rather than before
> it.


> > we'uhe aNmaN'dhiN=i 'following them we walked' 90:419.15
>   *wa-i'-o-[root] uNk-[root]    we -> 3pl.anim.
> The non-final verb in a verb chain is not inflected for subject as it
> could be.  I suspect that the subject marker is optional in this
> position.  If none is specified where one could be, that verb is parsed
> as an adverb.

Yes.  This looks like a case where the subordinate verb isn't inflected -
what we might call progressive syntax.

> Here's something I hadn't noticed before.  I had thought of this kki- as
> a straight-up reflexive, such that the above should mean 'to cook
> oneself'.  But I guess we do the same thing in English too.  There is a
> difference between "I'm going to kill myself" and "I'm going to kill
> myself a bear".

That's an example I hadn't thought of.  Good parallel, thoyugh I think the
Omaha forms never have both options.  Anyway, I aven;t noticed one yet.  I
think the first benefactive reflexive I noticed was ukkine 'to hunt for
for oneself'.

> Now this brings up a couple of other things I'm a little vague on.
> First, that i- there.  In many contexts, i- means that the verb action
> is accomplished by means of the foregoing.  In others, it seems the i-
> is some sort dative pointer or something.  Here, you seem to be
> interpreting it to mean 'together with'.  Just what kind of salience
> does i- have, anyway?  Is it just one morpheme, or multiple
> sound-alikes?

I got the 'together with' reading from the original text example of
udhuhaN, in which paunch meat (a stomach?) was being cooked with wild
turnips.  The i- aloows adding the addition thing cooked.   Note this
example from the LaFlesche Osage dicionary, though:  i'-tha-t<underdot>se
'to eat one thing with another' (p. 79a).  This would be idhathe (ithatHe)
in Omaha-Ponca, if it exists there.  In this case the i- 'together with'
is not a second locative.

I think what the i- does with u- in udhu- (*iru-) is allow adding one more
argument.  So with udhuhe it is 'follow a route (first arg.) by means of
something, i.e., by means of tracks (second arg.).  In udhuie we have
'talk with someone (first arg.) about something (second arg.)'.  In
udhuhaN we have 'cook something (first arg.) with something else (second
arg.)'.  But i- alone is also adding an additional arugment, as in the
idhathe 'eat something with something else' case.

Now whether this i- is the same as i- 'by means of' I can't say.  The
latter could be a specialization of the former.  As could be the former of
the latter, if you think about it.  The distinction may be more a matter
of English glossing than anything.  I don't know of any paradigmatic or
syntactic differences.  I'm inclined to say it's all one morpheme, because
I can't distinguish between them in terms fo anything but the English
gloss.  How about i- in i'bahaN 'to think'?

> Second, that kki-.  The interpretation here is that it is the reflexive
> affix, which Dorsey indicates with an inverted or dotted 'k'.  But
> Dorsey distinguishes another affix ki-, which he writes with upright
> 'k', which seems to indicate reciprocal action: "they do it to each
> other".  I used to suppose that this reciprocal ki- was kHi-, until our
> speakers corrected me: both reciprocal and reflexive were pronounced
> kki-.

I think that reciprocal is just a use of the reflexive.

> With regard to 'pepper', I had been assuming that that kki- was the
> reciprocal affix, not the reflexive, and that that was the element that
> meant 'together with'. Comments?

Either reciprocal or benefactive reflexive works, but perhaps the i-
covers the reciprocality aspect already.

> Finally, once again, what about the salience of wa-, 'them'?  Is it for
> any plurality, as some of Dorsey's examples would seem to show, or is it
> restricted to animates, as I've been supposing?  Perhaps usage is
> variant in modern Omaha?

Good questions.  I wonder what Ardis has discovered about this?

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