Northern Iroquoian and Algonquian bird

david costa pankihtamwa at
Mon Nov 22 00:11:49 UTC 2004

Interesting. This immediately reminds me of the Mahican (Hudson Valley,
Algonquian) form for 'bird', which appears to phonemically be something
like /ci:htsi:s/ or /ci:htci:s/ ('c' = c-hacek). This also appears in Mohegan
(southeast Connecticut) as /cits/, tho given the usual total lack of
borrowing betwen Algonquian and Iroquoian, I'm inclined to attribute it
to onomatopoeia in both families.

David Costa

> In answer to Dave's question, although I haven't made a thorough
> comparative study of this, I think one can reconstruct a
> Proto-Northern-Iroquoian noun root *-tsi?t- for "bird". The ts usually
> comes out as a voiced palatal affricate, so this is pronounced more like
> -ji?t-. I'm using ? for a glottal stop. I suspect that the *tsi part is
> cognate between PNI and Cherokee.


>> (I'd welcome any info from the Iroquoianists on 'bird'
>> from the northern Iroquoian languages to check if this is indeed
>> Iroquoian, or a Cherokee renegade word possibly cognate with B and O
>> perhaps through borrowing.)

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