Benefactive Reflexives

Koontz John E John.Koontz at
Mon Nov 15 23:59:15 UTC 2004

A question that came up off the list leads me to post the following
concerning certain Omaha-Ponca forms that have a reflexive form, but a
benefactive reading (reflexively benefactive, of course).  I was wondering
if these occurred elsewhere in Siouan, e.g., in Dakota?

These are not benefactives in the usual Dakotan sense (a second dative in
(k)ic^i) or the usual OP sense (just a standard dative or maybe an igi-
form).  They are "reflexive forms with reflexively benefactive force."

For example, une 'to seek' yields ukkine with the reading 'to seek
something for oneself' as opposed to 'to seek oneself' (with a strictly
reflexive reading), or gaghe 'to make' yields kkikkaghe 'to make something
for oneself' as opposed to 'to make onself', or dhize 'to get' yields
kkigdhize 'to get something for oneself' not 'to get oneself'.

For the relevant stems the reflexive/reciprocal form has a "benefactively
reflexive" or "reflexively benefactive" reading '*for* oneself' instead of
a simple reflexive reading 'oneself'.

I guess another difference is that the reading is 'for oneself' and not
'for someone (else)'.  For the latter purpose the forms are the simple
datives (by memory) uine or giaghe (eppaghe, dhes^kaghe, giagha=i,
iN(g?)agha=i) or gidhize (ebdhize, dhe(s^)nize, gidhiza=i, iNdhiza=i).

This is probably a good point to recall that the morphology of the dative
in Kaw and Osage and I think Quapaw is radically different from that in
OP.  On the other hand, the morphology of the suus and reflexive is the
same across Dhegiha.  I seem to remember benefactive reflexives in Osage.
I assume they are everywhere in Dhegiha, just a bit obscure and easy to

I don't remember when I first noticed these in OP.  It was a while ago,
but after my initial OP sketch was written.  I still remember the
combination of "Aha!" and "Oops!"  The problem in the sketch is that I
concentrated on form and only took function into account secondarily and
negligently.  And, of course, I had only been looking at things a year or
two.  I don't recall seeing "benefactive reflexives" mentioned anywhere
else in the literature, either, but they definitely occur in OP.

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