Benefactive Reflexives

Jan Ullrich jfu at
Tue Nov 16 08:34:26 UTC 2004

Hi Linda

> benefactive. 'Make for
> oneself' is, as in your example, reflexive: ic^?i'c^agha, which
> does *not* mean
> 'make oneself'

This is interesting. In Lakhota ic?i'chag^a can mean both "to make oneself
(into)" and "to make for oneself". According to Deloria the difference is
indicated by stress:

he'cha ic?i'chag^a – "he made for himself that kind of thing"
he'cha-ic?ichag^a – "he made himself to be of that kind"

(Boas-Deloria, Dakota Grammar pp. 139)

I am not sure I have ever been able to catch that subtle stress difference
in a conversation with speakers, but I am sure that I have understood from
context that heard speakers use ic?i'chag^a in both meanings.

Similarly oi'c?ile - 'to seek something for oneself' and 'to seek/search
oneself (as in pockets etc.)'

Perhaps somewhat unrelated question:

I have always wondered why the k in kag^a turns into aspirated ch in
ic?i'chag^a. It remains plain in ki'cicag^a. The same thing happens with
kuN'zA 'to decree' -> ic'ichuNzA = I decree for myself (I pledge).

Deloria comments that "The possessive forms are irregular insofar as they
aspirate the c" (ibid 102) as in:

we'cag^a – I make for him/her (from ki'cag^a)
we'chag^a – I make my own (from ki'chag^a)

So here the difference between c and ch is used as an irregularity to help
differentiate the meaning, I guess. But why in ic?i'chag^a?


Jan Ullrich

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