Language contact (Wichita numbers)

ROOD DAVID S rood at spot.Colorado.EDU
Mon Aug 21 20:34:12 UTC 2006

Wichita numbers six, seven and eight all start with the "morpheme??"
kiyah-, followed by the numbers for one, two and three respectively:

	(chi)7ass 'one'		kiyehess 'six'
	wicha 'two'		kiyahwicha 'seven'
	tawha 'three'		kiyatawha 'eight'

(Don't ask me to explain the vagaries of the "h"s, please.)

  The Siouan words cited in this exchange look like they're built on a
combination of this "prefix" and the Siouan word for 'four'. If that
element is borrowed in either direction, it's meaning has shifted between
"five plus" and "two times".  My instincts are that that's a lot of
semantic change for an element in the basic counting system, but the
phonetics is certainly intriguing.

	I'm pretty sure Bob R. worked his way through all of this a while
back in a study of the numbers.


David S. Rood
Dept. of Linguistics
Univ. of Colorado
295 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0295
rood at

On Mon, 21 Aug 2006, Anthony Grant wrote:

> Justin-
> I think Wichita has been mentioned in this context before as a partial source.  And there's 'nine', too, which occurs in Algonquian, Muskogean and Siouan languages and which is another old favourite of the list.
> -Anthony
> >>> "Justin McBride" <jmcbride at> 08/21/06 8:00 pm >>>
> I may be mistaken, but I think one of the two forms of 'eight' is probably a
> borrowing in both Osage and Kansa.  I believe the popular thinking is that
> the original source is Potawatomi, but I've never heard that particular
> word.  The loans are hkietóopa (OS) and kki(y)adóba (KS), which vary with
> the historically Dhegiha-derived form ppeyá(a)bliN in KS, and possibly
> *hpeyáabriN in OS, but I don't know if the latter form is attested.
> Wow, that sounds pretty vague!  Hope it helps, though...
> -Justin
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