'All' and C + dh Clusters (RE: Osage 'eight')

Rory M Larson rlarson at unlnotes.unl.edu
Sun Aug 27 15:08:08 UTC 2006

Nice work, John!!  That certainly shows that the gdhu'ba variant was
present in the 19th century after all!

> Another possibility is that there is nuanced difference of meaning
> bdhu'ga and gdhu'ba, and some speakers prefer one nuance over the other,
> though in this case it seems likely that gdhu'ba would occur more widely.

I like this possibility best.  I recall that a couple of years ago, some of
Vida's speakers in Macy got together and produced an Omaha translation of
'Silent Night'.  It was a full verse translation; it rhymed and went along
with the music very nicely.  Mark and I were struck by the fact that the
same stanza used two different words for 'all': bdhu'ga and gdhu'ba.  I
have the strong impression that our speakers recognize a semantic
difference between them, though we've never really pinned it down.  My own
sense, purely off the top of my head here, is that bdhu'ga is used for
'all' as a collective plural for animate/individuated entities, while
gdhu'ba is 'all' as the totality of a mass noun.  I'll try to test that
next time I get together with a speaker.  Meanwhile, maybe we could check
the semantic context of the many references you've given.

> No instances of wabdha'gase or wagdha'base per se, but
> waba'gdheze 'book; writing; letter' does occur, upwards of 100 times.

So those forms are probably early 20th century.

>  I assume the etymology is something like 'made striped or,
> as the case may be, spotted by pushing'.

Spotted?  Wouldn't that be gdhe'z^e?  I'm assuming that gdhe'ze, 'striped',
refers to the lines of writing.

>  I think ba- is also used in cases where pushing
> per se is not really evidenced, but the tool used is oblong.

Besides 'pushing', ba- seems to be used regularly for both 'sewing' and
'writing'.  'Drawing' takes a different instrumental prefix: bag^u',
'write', vs. dhig^u', 'draw'.

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