2 Chiwere questions

Saul Schwartz sschwart at PRINCETON.EDU
Sun Jul 28 18:22:08 UTC 2013

Thanks for weighing in, Bob! Regarding accounting for the <K> in the last
syllable of WE-WV-HÆ-KJU: šų in Chiwere is often preceded by a glottal
stop. I don't know any of the technical phonetic terms for this, but if I
tense my throat to make a glottal stop and then try to say šų without first
relaxing those muscles, then I hear a distinct /k/ sound before the šų. If
this explanation for the <K> is correct then it also fits with the general
approach the missionaries took to writing Chiwere, which just to write what
they heard as best they could. In that context, Hamilton and Irvin's
decision in their later publications to stop using <v> for schwa since it
sounds so close to /a/ is strikes me as a rare and (subconscious)
proto-phonemic moment in the history of Chiwere missionary linguistics.

On Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM, Rankin, Robert L. <rankin at ku.edu> wrote:

>  > I’m here at the Newberry Library in Chicago going through their
> Chiwere materials,
> Saul, did you notice whether they had any Dhegiha materials in their
> collections?  I dare say their catalog is now on-line, so I should probably
> try to check for myself.  Doing philology on those early religious
> documents can be a challenge.  I took a try at it for the Smithsonian's
> Handbook using Biblical passages in Osage.  Mostly it's just a matter of
> finding words you know the pronunciation of and using them as key to the
> rest of the vocabulary.  If you're lucky that'll work all the way through
> the document(s).
> In your catechism the lack of distinct symbols for nasal vowels poses a
> problem.
> I agree with Sky except that we need to explain the K of the last
> syllable.  It seems to me that this final syllable will almost have to be
> /kšų/, whatever that portends for analysis.
> > Do other Siouan languages use a similar word for catechism?
> I should know that, but I don't.  Perhaps Randy has an idea about this.
> > V = I think this is a schwa sound.
> That was common mission usage in the early 19th century in the Southeast.
> V still has this reading in Creek orthography today.  In both Muskogean
> and Siouan languages this is nearly always an allophone of short /a/.
> So V will always be short /a/, while A may be either long or short /a/.
> Presumably this can be either the oral or nasal vowel.
>    > In any case, the fact that I’ve had this much trouble with the title
> doesn’t bode well for my plan to one day go through and decode the whole
> text...
> No, once you get going and "over the hump"  it will pretty much fall into
> place.  Lack of symbols for nasal vowels and /x/ and /ɣ/ along with /b,
> d, j, g/ don't help, of course.
> Second, I was wondering if the -gaxe part of the Chiwere word for book
> (wawágaxe) or writing (wagáxe) can be broken down into smaller morphemes.
> Jimm’s dictionary lists =gaxe as a verbal root meaning “scratch; fashion;
> carve; engrave with an instrument; create” and as an independent verb
> meaning “construct; build; make; create” cognate to the Omaha gáxe and Kaw
> gághe.
> First, it has the long vowel and the gamma, /gaaɣe/, in its basic formthroughout Mississippi Valley
> Siouan.  Second, it's always tempting to try to decompose polysyllabic words
> so that every syllable is a morpheme.  We all do it, but it is often a
> mistake.  I don't think we can do it with /gaaɣe/.
> > Gáxe looks like it could be composed of gi + a + xe, with gi- being
> either the instrumental prefix “by pushing or striking” or the indirect
> object (“to/for”), the a- looks like the positional “on,” and Jimm’s
> dictionary identifies =xe as a verbal root that refers to “lifting a soft,
> flat object.”
> Actually, the better analysis there would be /gi + gaaɣe/.  /gaaɣe/ is
> one of those few verbs in which initial /g/ is lost in the dative.  Mostly
> this happens with /ga-/ 'by striking' verbs, but it also happens with /gaaɣe/
> 'make, do'.  Thus, in Kaw, Mrs. Rowe had the verb /gaaɣe/ 'make', but she
> had competing forms for the outcome of /gi + gaaɣe/.  One outcome was /giaaɣe/
> and the other was /giiɣe/.
> > I have a feeling the Comparative Siouan Dictionary may have the answer,
> but this is my first time using it, and I’m having some trouble reading it,
> so to speak. It is suggesting that Chiwere gáxe is composed of two
> morphemes, proto-Siouan ká meaning ‘make marks’ and proto-Siouan xE meaning
> ‘surround’? So then is reading the gá in gáxe as gi + a mistaken? I’m
> pasting the relevant entries I could find below.
> If the CSD says that, I think it's wrong (which is to say, it wasn't MY
> analysis of the word).  While it is possible that the */ka-/ of this term
> was originally 'by striking', I strongly doubt that the rest was
> 'surround'.  'Dig' might be a better guess.  Any locative prefix, /aa-/,
> would normally come *outside* an instrumental /ka-/, so the whole
> analysis of /ka-aa-ɣe/ as 'to scratch ON by striking' would beessentially ungrammatical.
> > Any insight you could share would be much appreciated!
> Well, for what it's worth*. . . .*
> Bob
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