Siouan and Muskogean "flat"

David Kaufman dvklinguist2003 at
Thu Mar 9 17:50:55 UTC 2006

As long as we're on the subject of aquatic life, Biloxi presents us with another mystery: There is a word "naxodxapi" which is naxodi = alligator + xapi = box, which JOD translated as "Box Alligator."  JOD says that, according to the Biloxi, this is a species of alligator that lives in the ocean.   From what I know from Googling, alligators don't usually hang out in salt water (unless of course there was a salt-water species now extinct).  I'm sort of wondering whether this could be a shark (since they both have big teeth?) and of course sharks live in the ocean.  I assume the Biloxi probably would have seen alligators before sharks, so perhaps they extended the idea of alligator to shark by analogy?  (I know in Australia there are salt-water crocs, but modern Florida crocs apparently live in brackish rather than salt water.)    

Anthony Grant <Granta at> wrote:
  There's a Western Muskogean form for 'sunfish' (whatever that is; we don't have them in England) which is patassa or patasa, and which is recorded for Mobilian Jargon - is that connected? Are sunfish flat? 


>>> ahartley at 03/08/06 11:02 pm >>>
David Kaufman wrote:

> John Koontz wrote:
> > In fact, though I'm hard pressed to understand this as a phonaestheme,
> it does resemble IE forms like English flat, Latin planum, Greek Platon
> 'Plato', a nickname, lit. 'the broad one', P. having been a wrestler in
> his youth. I don't have a reference that allows looking up PIE sets.


Also, entry 12.71 FLAT (including some Baltic & Slavic cognates) in 
Buck's _Dict. of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European 
Languages_ (1949), a marvelous word-treasury!


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