School: ttappuska

Catherine Rudin CaRudin1 at
Mon Aug 2 17:32:50 UTC 2010

Hi again.  
I've just (finally) gotten around to actually looking back at my old fieldwork transcripts, and here's what I found.

(1) The speakers used both ttappuska and ttappuska tti as words for a school.

(2) Ttapuska alone is actually more common.  The one speaker who regularly uses ttappuska tti (and sometimes corrects the other speakers -- when one of them says ttappuska he'll sometimes say "or we could say ttappuska tti too" or some such comment) is Clifford Wolfe.

(3) I have the vague feeling that ttappuska tti is used only for the physical building -- "going to school" in the sense of getting an education is just ttappuska.  But I'd have to search much more carefully to confirm this.

(4) The speakers also uses wagoNze as a word for school a couple of times...  in particular, Coolidge Stabler refers to Wayne State College as a "WagoNze ttonga".

(5)  For "teacher" I remember them using wagoNze, but in fact, flipping through the transcripts what jumps out at me in the sentences I'd elicited with "the teacher did X" it's always "Teacher akha..." borrowing English word.  

So much for my memory!!!
Cheers,  C.

>>> Rory M Larson <rlarson at> 7/23/2010 5:53 PM >>>
Catherine wrote:

> Dorsey (slip file) translates it as 'teacher, missionary' (for both
> Omaha and Ponca) and gives wagoNze as a synonym (that's the word Jimm
> cited in IOM). 
> Actually, even the speakers I worked with in the 1980s seemed to prefer
> "ttappuska tti" for 'school', not just "ttappuska", though I don't think
> they used it to mean 'teacher'. 

Thanks, Catherine.  Somehow my thesis has it down that wagoNze is Ponca 
and ttappuska is Omaha, both based on Reel 3, 163:6.4.  Shucks!  I thought 
I had a Ponca/Omaha vocabulary difference for you!

Anyway, that helps to confirm that the original reference was to the 
person who taught the school, not the school itself.  Your note about how 
1980s elder speakers preferred "ttappuska tti" over "ttappuska" for school 
is news to me; our generation of speakers has always used just 
"ttappuska".  That would seem to correlate with the trend to drop the 
"tti" among school children as being around the 1930s and 1940s or so. And 
the standardization on "wagoNze" as 'teacher' rather than "ttappuska" must 
have been significantly earlier, like around the turn of the century. 
Maybe "ttappuska" meant specifically the missionary teachers, and was 
dropped in favor of "wagoNze" when secular education took over?  In that 
case, "ttappuska tti" would have meant "missionary building" as much as it 
meant "school".


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