Rankin, Robert L rankin at ku.edu
Tue Aug 29 22:03:39 UTC 2006

For a long time it was thought gourds originated in Meso America, but more recent discoveries place them in much of N. America as well.  I don't know about the sub-arctic, but I wouldn't say proto-Algonquian was really sub-arctic.  In any event anything that can be used as an implement was pretty widely traded.  At the very least, gourds go back 4K years with squashes and pumpkins (which ARE from Central America) somewhat more recent.
Incorporated and compounded constructions do tend to maintain conservative semantics, while their independent counterparts often undergo more semantic change.  One of the standard examples is found in Benveniste's discussion of Indo-European terms for 'family', 'clan' and 'tribe'.  The cognate sets in the different subgroups often vary quite a lot in meaning, but if you look at the compound terms for the patriarch who presided over each of the societal divisions, the meanings are much more uniform, and presumably represent the original meanings of the nouns.  


From: owner-siouan at lists.colorado.edu on behalf of Rory M Larson
Sent: Mon 8/28/2006 10:50 PM
To: siouan at lists.colorado.edu
Subject: RE: squash

> I think we want to be a little careful about reconstructing semantics from silverware.  (a) the older meaning is 'gourd' -- squashes come later in the archaeological record.  Gourds are used for dippers virtually everywhere.  Proto-Siouan has a reconstructible term for 'gourd', namely *ko:re, but not 'squash'.  (b) I think that most linguists would agree that the incorporated meanings, in Algonquian and elsewhere, tend to maintain the conservative semantics even better than the independent nouns and verbs.  

> Other "spoon" terms are typically reconstructible as 'shell' or 'horn'.

Thanks, Bob!  Are gourds actually grown/used even by people in the sub-arctic?  And do we have any handle on how far back in time would they have been used?

Is there any reflex of *ko:re in Dhegihan?  That ought to come out as *gu:dhe in Omaha, right?


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