Meacham's CJ in Oregon 1870

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Wed Mar 24 01:40:24 UTC 1999

LhaXayEm!  Lhush san, palh snas yEkwa; "tEnEs wam IlIhi" ayaq ayaq chaku!

On Wed, 22 Mar 2000, Aron Faegre wrote:

> But there still is not *one whole, the mix* which is the same each time.  The pipe
> smoking was probably foremost an important act between people, so that the substance used
> retains a verb name and not a noun name, as appropriate.  I'm intrigued to find verbs
> which describe things because it may be saying something very powerful about life.  I
> work mostly on *buildings* which people generally think of as things, but become much
> more interesting and useful if they are designed and built as verbs!

Aha!  That last is a smashingly good point, Aron.  Hayash mersi.  But to
be drearily analytic, the preceding point is one that I the linguist could
paint gray.  Black and white is always gray, in the words of Husker Du,
for those who remember them.

"Kinnikinnik" may or may not be a verb in Ojibwe or the sister Algonquian
language that donated the word to ChInuk Wawa.  (I do suspect that it is,
given patterns of word-formation in North American languages, but it could
be about as "verby" as the English word "situation" is, for all I know.)
At any rate, I'm thinking of a book that made a big impression on me,
Peter Bakker's on Michif.  There he bases an important part of his theory
of the origin of Michif on the idea that Algonquian languages essentially
state everything as verbs.  I simplify, of course.  The main idea:  That
perhaps "kinnikinnik" could never have been phrased as a noun; lacking the
option, it might be less impressive that it's a verbal descriptor.  :-(

Idle thoughts!

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