Language contact

Anthony Grant Granta at
Mon Aug 21 17:04:42 UTC 2006

Hi Ivan - welcome to the list!

I'm delighted that someone else here is interested in language

John Koontz told me a number of items that have been borrowed into
Dhegiha.  Several have already bveen mentioned but kkukkumiN (I think)
'cucumber' is another, probably from French concombre.  There are some
which may come from Native languages, such as ttappuska 'teacher', which
is also found in Pawnee (the direction of transmission is not certain). 
 A form meaning 'British' from French les anglais, has gone the rounds
of Dakotan, Chiwere and Dhegiha languages in addition to Ojibwe. /aho/,
which is used as  agreeting in at least some Dhegiha varieties, is also
found in Kiowa and Comanche according to Armagost and
Wistrand-Robinson's Comance Dictionary.  And then there are tribal
names, which may be transparent in some languages but not in all, and
which tend to be the single most borrowable item in Native North
American languages.  Siouan languages in general are not big borrowers. 

The really interesting one from my point of view is 'big', because the
original Dhegiha form coexisted with it in Osage at least two centuries
ago, as it's recorded in what is probably the first published Osage
vocabulary, by John Bradbury.  Relexification of this kind (borrowing a
term which replaces a pre-existing term for a concept) is rather unusual
on the Great Plains.  


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