Osage 'eight'

David Costa pankihtamwa at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 22 21:00:17 UTC 2006

What's the best guess as to where this Wichita -> Osage/Kaw borrowing would
have taken place? Were they adjacent in the early contact period?

Dave C

> Well, that doesn't mean I understand it.  :-)   I suspect what happened is
> that, when the word was borrowed, the /tawha/ was (re)interpreted as Siouan
> *to:pa 'four' (Lord knows how speakers of OS and KS would have adapted [wh]
> into their speech).  Then the remaining [kkidha] HAD to be interpreted as
> having some meaning that would turn 4 into 8.  So semantic change in the sense
> of some sort of steady progression probably wasn't involved.  Just a gestalt
> replacement.  I think OS and KS have some words that sound like [kiya] that
> facilitated this interpretation.  Dorsey interprets the parts as meaning
> "again four", and he lists KS /kkiya/ as meaning 'separate, apart'.  You can
> see how, especially if you're using finger counting in sign language, "four
> separate" or "four apart" might be construed as totaling eight (i.e., perhaps
> four on each hand).  But the truth is hard to know.  

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