Language contact

Carolyn Quintero cqcqcq1 at
Mon Aug 21 16:34:59 UTC 2006

Ah, yes, there's hkohkosa 'pig, shoat, hog' in Osage, likely a borrowing
from French. Accent on first syllable, although accent shifts in some
expressions to second syllable hkohkosa ekon 'hoggish' and hkohkosa weli
'lard, pig fat'.


Carolyn Quintero


From: owner-siouan at
[mailto:owner-siouan at] On Behalf Of Bryan Gordon
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 4:31 AM
To: siouan at
Subject: Re: Language contact


Ivan -


I'm heading down your way in about thirty minutes, actually. I'm going to be
in White Eagle for the Ponca Powwow and a few days afterward, hoping to get
some fieldwork done. I'm a PhD student in Linguistics at Minnesota, myself,
and am rather new at this list as well. 

I'm fascinated by your area of focus. I just took a course last term on
language contact, and wound up writing my term paper essentially as a
prospectus on contact research in modern Ojibwe and Omaha-Ponca. I am highly
interested in the way the languages are absorbing either covert or overt
characteristics of the majority language (English) and in how the dynamic of
decreasing L1 population and increasing L2 population will affect the
grammar itself in the process of revitalisation. Parallels to Hebrew
revitalisation are striking, and potential outcomes have eerie political
ramifications: some have called Israeli Hebrew a Hebrew-lexifier creole with
Semitic morphology on a Germanic/Slavic phonological/syntactic base! How
would a similar outcome be viewed in an indigenous context? Is anyone ready
for this? These are some of the pressing questions in modern language

In terms of your questions regarding availability of resources, my answer
is: highly doubtful. There are many texts and resources which mention one
tribe historically having had interactions with other tribes, and some may
even mention bilingualism, but I doubt that any of them took upon themselves
the task of documenting this bilingualism and its effects. Serious research
on language contact is very rare and very difficult to verify. Conclusions
on language contact are sometimes among the least stable conclusions that
can be made in linguistics. The field of language contact is truly in its
infancy still today, and will welcome all the development it can get! 

You will be able to find some examples of loanwords at very least. Although
Siouan languages have historically been resistant to loanwords, particularly
from colonial languages, there are some. I can send you my bibliography for
my term paper last semester as a starting point. It'll have to wait until
after I find it, though, because I'm about to board a Greyhound bus! One
loanword which stands out in my mind is OP "kukusi" (pig) (from French). I
would suppose its analogue in Osage might be "hkohkosi" or the like. Another
area of great interest are loan calques, in which the syntax of a foreign
concept is borrowed and superimposed over indigenous roots. These, I
suspect, are much more common than actual loans in Siouan. But they are
harder to document and to prove their origins. 

Anyway, gotta get going. If you're going to be up around Osage/Ponca/Kaw
country anytime soon, let Bob Rankin or Justin McBride know, because they
have my contact information (and I believe all of us will be getting
together at some point next week). 

- Bryan Gordon

On 8/19/06, HYPERLINK "mailto:ivan.ozbolt at"ivan.ozbolt at
<HYPERLINK "mailto:ivan.ozbolt at"ivan.ozbolt at > wrote:

Hello everyone,

This is the first message I am sending to the Siouan List. My name is Ivan
Ozbolt, and I am a MA student in Native American Studies at the University
of Oklahoma. 

I am currently writing a paper on the Osage language, and I would like to
know if there is documentation available about language contact and the
Dhegiha tribes, particularly from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century
historical period. 

For instance, the Osage used the sign language with other tribes, and some
also spoke French. But did they use any trade jargon or pidgin? Did they
also speak Comanche, a Lingua Franca of the southern Plains? Were some
colonial words (from French, English, Spanish) integrated in their language?

Can we find in Osage (and other Dhegiha languages) words borrowed from
non-Siouan languages?

Thank you.

Ivan Ozbolt


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