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´╗┐Title: The Dakotan Languages, and Their Relations to Other Languages
Author: Williamson, A. W. (Andrew Woods), 1838-1905
Language: English
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To the ethnologist and to the philologist the Dakotas and those speaking
kindred languages are a very interesting people. There are four
principal Dakota dialects, the Santee, Yankton, Assinniboin and Titon.
The allied languages may be divided into three groups:

I. a, Winnebago; b, Osage, Kaw, and 2 Quapaw; c, Iowa, Otoe and
Missouri; d, Omaha and Ponka.

II. Mandan.

III. a, Minnetaree (Minitari) or Hidatsa; b, Absauraka, or Crow.

Pawnee and Aricaree seem also to be somewhat related.

In my father's opinion the Dakota dialects differ about as much as the
Greek dialects did in the time of Homer, and the Assinniboin is much
nearer to the Yankton dialect of which it is an offshoot than is the
Titon. Judging by the vocabularies to which I have access chiefly in
Hayden's "Indian tribes of the Missouri," I would suppose the first
group to differ from the Dakota about as much as the German from the
English, and to differ among themselves somewhat as Hollandish,
Friesian, and English. The Mandan appears to be separated much more
widely from them than they are from each other. The Minnetaree and Crow
constitute a distinct group diverging from each other more than the
Santee and Titon, the extreme dialects of the Dakota. They show more
resemblance to the Mandan than to any other one of the class, but
diverge very widely from it. But very few words approximate identity.
About one half of the words in Matthew's Hidatsa dictionary appear to me
to be in part at least composed of material related to the Dakota, and
about five per cent to fairly represent Dakota words. Many of these show
little similarity except as compared in the light of sound

When first discovered the Dakotas and Assinniboins were nomads, living
almost entirely by hunting and fishing. The Dakotas, then probably less
than ten thousand, are now more than thirty thousand in number. There
are probably about three thousand Assinniboins. The allied tribes,
except the Crows, when first found lived chiefly by agriculture. They
have during the last hundred years rapidly diminished in numbers, and do
not number over twelve thousand including the Crows.

All of the Dakotan tribes and some others formerly made and baked
pottery similar to that found in the mounds of the Ohio valley. The
Osages and some others lived in earth houses, whose ruins are similar to
those of the houses of the mound builders. The Minnetarees, Mandans and
Aricarees still live in houses of the same kind, and make and bake
pottery. Measurements indicate that the crania of the Dakotas in size of
brain and angle decidedly approach the European form. The cheek bones of
the Dakotas are much less prominent than those of the Chippewas, and
those one-fourth Chippewa and three-fourths white have on an average
darker complexions than those half white and half Dakota. Among the
Minnetarees and Mandans are many persons of light hair, blue eyes, and
tolerably fair complexion, not attributable to an infusion of Caucasian
blood since the time of Columbus.

No people take more pains to speak their language accurately than the
Dakotas. Their social condition is similar to that of the Arabs, whose
language has within historic observation changed more slowly than any
other. The Assinniboins have been separated from the Dakotas about three
centuries, perhaps a little less, possibly much more. During all this
time they have been entirely separated, associating wholly with tribes
speaking languages entirely different, and yet their dialect remains
almost identical with the Yankton. We are then encouraged to believe
that their language has not changed so rapidly as to obliterate traces
of its origin.

So far as I have been able to ascertain them the most important features
characteristic of the Dakotan languages generally are the following:

I. Three pronominal prefixes to verbs, i, o and wa. I, this, forms nouns
of instrument. O forms nomen actionis, etc. Some Crow and Minnetaree
words seem to indicate that its original form was a. Wa, meaning some or
something, prefixed to transitive verbs makes them intransitive or
general in their application. Wa is in Min. ma (ba, wa), in Crow, ba.
Scantiness of material prevents me from more than inferring the
existence of these and other prefixes in the other allied languages,
from a few words apparently containing them.

II. A system of verbal prefixes used to form verbs from certain stems,
regularly varied in signification, according to the prefix used. The
Dakota has seven of these prefixes. The Min. has three of these almost
identical in force. I should suppose that I would, with as much
material, find greater similarity in the other languages, but the only
one I have been able to trace at all generally is Dak yu. This merely
converts the stem into a verb without changing its meaning. Dak y is
nearly always represented in the allied languages so far as I have
observed by r, d, l or n; so that I find it in Min. du (ru, lu, nu),
Iowa, Mandan, and Crow ru, Omaha ra.

III. A reflexive pronoun tawa, Min. tama (tawa, taba), Iowa tawe, Osage
tabe, forming from possessive pronouns double possessives, related to
their primitives somewhat as mine to my. In some features of structure
the Dakotan languages present an amazing diversity.

According to Powell (Int. to stud. Am. Lang.) a Ponka in order to say "a
man killed a rabbit," would have to say "the man, he, one, animate,
standing, in the nominative case, purposely, killed, by shooting an
arrow, he, the one animate, sitting, in the objective case." "For the
form of the verb to kill would have to be selected, and the verb changes
its form by inflection, and by incorporated particles, to denote person,
number and gender, as animate or inanimate, as standing, sitting or

On the other hand the Dakota could not vary the form of the verb to
denote any of these things except number, with reference to either
subject or object. He would probably say: "Wichasta-wan mastincha-wan
kte,"--"man-a, rabbit-a, kill,"--in which each word is about synonymous
with its English equivalent, and case as in English denoted by position.
If he wished to show that the action was done by shooting, he would
probably not vary the form of the verb kill, but would use the verb
kute, meaning shoot whether with arrow or bullet. Except that the Dak.
order corresponds to the Icelandic the only difference in structure
between the Dak. and English expression is that the Dakota word kte may
mean any time, the particular time being indicated whenever desirable in
all cases in Dak. as mostly in English by auxiliary verbs and adverbs.
If the word man were represented by a pronoun the Dak. would be still
more analytic, since its pronoun would indicate any actor, male or
female, or inanimate, unless it were desirable to distinguish, in which
case the distinction would be made by compounding the pronoun with a
suitable auxiliary word. In this feature, often given as characteristic
of American languages, is a variation the greatest possible between two
languages closely related. It is also worthy of remark that the
Minnetaree, which I should suppose the most analytic of the group next
to the Dakota, is one of those that least resembles the Dakota in
vocabulary. Some of the features often assigned as peculiarities of
American languages were according to Bopp and Schleicher features of the
I. E. languages in their earlier stages. Of most other features said to
characterize American languages I find in Dak. but faint traces. The
Dak. _does have_ verbs nearly synonymous with _go_, _walk_, _eat_,
_drink_, _strike_, _etc._ _It is well supplied with purely copulative
verbs. It has differentiated_ the various parts of speech even to the
_definite_ and _indefinite article_. It is sufficiently supplied with
nouns denoting genera and classes. This is not a feature of recent
development. A much smaller proportion of general than of special names
have lost trace of origin.

The Dak _does not_ have inclusive and exclusive plurals, etc. It _does
not_ have a multiplicity of verb forms to denote mode and tense, but
when necessary does denote them with elegance and precision, by
auxiliary verbs and adverbs, very much as we do in English. The Dakota
is not made up chiefly of very long words. On the other hand it uses a
great many little particles and connectives to express fine shades of
meaning, wonderfully reminding one of the Greek. It fully agrees with
other American languages in its wonderful facility for forming
derivatives. The I. E. languages in their earlier stages possessed equal

As a matter of fact we know scarcely anything concerning the structure
of American languages aside from the Algonquin and Iroquois groups, and
a very few isolated languages. They have been classified, in fact,
almost entirely by examination of scanty and not very accurate
vocabularies. In investigating the relations of the Dakotan to other
American languages we are therefore compelled to base our conclusions
chiefly on vocabulary. I once resided a year among the Chippewas, and in
various ways have had much better opportunities of comparing the Dakota
with the Chippewa than with any other American language. I have not been
able to find a word alike in the two; and but very few words even
slightly similar in sound and sense. In pronouns few languages in any
part of the world are so strikingly contrasted. If I were to attempt an
argument for original affinity between Dakota and Chippewa my argument
would be that so great dissimilarity could not be the result of
accident. Aside from the Cheyenne, an Algonkin language which has
incorporated some Dakotan words, and the Pawnee group, the similarities
east of the Rocky mountains are surprisingly few, though the Huron,
Iroquois and Mobilian languages do not seem quite so strongly contrasted
as the Algonkin. Among the Eskimo, the tribes of the Pacific Slope,
Mexico, Central and South America, we occasionally find identical and
not infrequently similar words. In some the resemblances seem remarkable
considering the size of the vocabulary. Closer examination shows however
that they are not of a kind to indicate a special relationship. They are
almost exclusively confined to a few pronominal bases of very wide
diffusion, and the following: 1. ata, tata. 2. papa, each meaning
father; 1. ana, nana; 2. ma, mama, each meaning mother. As an example I
take the base ata, tata. Dakota, ate (dialect ata); Minnetaree, ate,
tata, tatish; Mandan, tata; Omaha, adi, dadi; Ponka, tade-ha; Aricaree,
ate-ah; Pawnee, ate-ish.

Tuscarora ata; Cherokee e-dauda; Eskimo--Greenland ahtata, Aleutian ata,
California, San Miguel tata; Mexico Aztec teta; Otomi, ta, te; Yucatan,
Cakchequil tata; Central Am. Tarasca tata; Darien tauta; Eastern Peru,
Mossa tata; Western Paraguay, Villela tata.

Congo Western Africa, tat, tata.

Japan dialect tete; Chinese dialect tia.

Turko Tartar, Turkish ata; Tatar ata, atha; Kunan atta; Kasanish,
Orenburg, Kirgis ata; Samoyedic dialects, Eastern Russia and Western
Siberia ata, atai, atja, tatai; Finno Hungarian, Lap attje; Hungarian

Caucasus, Kisti dada. Basque (Pyrenees Mountains) aita.

Indo European: Sanskrit ata, tata; Hindustanee dada; Latin, atta, tatta;
Greek atta, tatta; Albanian, Albania, at, atti; Calabria and Sicily
tata; Celtic, Welsh tad; Cornish and Bret tat; Irish, daid; Gaelic
daidein; English (according to Skeats of Welsh) dad, daddy; Old Slav,
tata otici; Moldavian tata; Wallachian tate; Polish tatus; Bohemian,
Servian Croatian otsche; Lithuanian teta; Preuss thetis; Gothic ata; Old
Fries tate; O. H. G. tato; Old Swed atin; Swed island Runoe dadda.

In fifty-nine of the one hundred and forty-six versions of the Lord's
prayer given by Adelung in the Sclavonic, Lithuanian and Teutonic
families, the word for father is from this base. Atta is the form used
in Ulfillas Gothic version of the fourth century, the oldest Teutonic

Papa and mama in Dak., as in I. E. languages, occupy a subordinate
position, having about the same scope as in Latin and Greek. Words
apparently related to these are rare in N. A. languages, but frequent in
S. A., African, Malay Polynesian and Turanian languages. The Semitic
aba, etc., is perhaps related. The base ana, nana (Dak. ina), though not
very much used in I E languages appears to be more widely distributed
than any of the others.

All the Dakota pronouns which show much similarity to other American
forms are representative of Fick's I E bases, and appear to be widely
disseminated. Adelung and Latham do not however give pronominal forms in
as many languages as they give words for father and mother, and I cannot
so well determine their distribution.

Professor Roehrig, in his able paper on the Dakota, points out some very
interesting analogies to Turanian languages. Others might be added.
These similarities are chiefly in features common to I. E. and
Turanian. On the other hand the Dakota shows on the surface striking
contrasts to Turanian languages. The numerals are eminently dissimilar.
The Dakota, like I. E. languages, varies both root and suffix in forming
words, and uses both prefixes and suffixes. In Turanian languages the
suffix only is varied, and prefixes are scarcely at all used.

It seems to me therefor that it is not unscientific to inquire whether
the similarities of the various Dakotan languages to various European
languages, modern and ancient, so often remarked are or are not
accidental. It is very easy to see that the Dakota resembles the English
in vocabulary much more than it resembles the Chippewa. The similarities
of the Dakota suffixes, pronouns and prepositions to those given by
Bopp, and the general resemblance of Dakotan languages to Sanskrit,
Gothic, etc., in vocabulary, made me certain of relationship before I
ever saw Fick's dictionary. Yet as I turned over his pages I was amazed
at the similarity of the I. E. roots to the Dak roots. The Slav Teut
bases of Fick seem to me most similar to the Dak. I am certain that
neither the Teutonic or Graeco-Italic dictionaries resemble the Dakota
as much as do the European, Indo. European and Aryan dictionaries. The
I. E. consonants are represented in Dakota, Santee and Titon dialects,
and in Minnetaree in accordance with the following table. I omit
representatives concerning which I am doubtful. I have too little
material on the other languages to justify me in including them.

I E|     k          |    g    |     gh     | p  |   bh    |   m     |  w
   |                |         |            |    |         |         |
S  | k, h, kh, sh[A]| k, h[B] | gh, kh, zh | p  | m, b, w |   m     | w, p
   |                |         |            |    |         |         |
T  |k, h, g[B], khsh| k, g[B] | gh, kh, zh | p  |   b, w  | m, b[C] | w, p
   |                |         |            |    |---------+---------+------
M  |k, h, gh[D], sh |  k      |     gh[D]  | p  |       m[F] (b, w) p
I E|  t   |    d    | dh      | n | r, l[E]|y[E]|      s
   |      |         |         |   |        |    |
S  | t, n | t, d, n | d       | n |  n, d  |y, z|   s, sh, z, zh, t
   |      |         |         |   |        |    |
T  | t, n | t, l, n | l       | n |  n, l  |y, z|   s, sh, z, zh, t
   |      +---------+---------+---+--------+----+--------------------------
M  | t, d |  t     d[F] (l, n, r)         ts    |    ts, sh,     t


     [Footnote A: Chiefly, probably not always, for Fick's second
     k, Lith sz (pron sh), Slav s. The k's and g's liable to
     labialization in Eu. languages appear to be occasionally
     labialized in Dakotan languages.]

     [Footnote B: In S. hd, Yankton kd, T. gl; S. hn, Y. kn, T. gn
     or gl; S. hm, Y. km, T. gm.]

     [Footnote C: In S. md, Y. bd, T. bl.]

     [Footnote D: In a previous paper I represented this by kh; and
     do not know whether it is nearest Dak kh German ch, or Dak gh;
     I E gh.]

     [Footnote E: Santee d always becomes l in Titon.]

     [Footnote E: Dak y becomes r, d, l or n in the allied
     languages, except perhaps the Osage, and perhaps in part
     represents I E r.]

     [Footnote F: In Minnetaree m, interchanges so freely with b
     and w, and d with l, n, and r, that Matthews represents each
     group by one letter. The same irregularity occurs largely in
     Crow, and somewhat also in Mandan.]

Ch as in chin very often occurs in Dak as a euphonic modification of k.
Otherwise it stands chiefly for d, r, l, n of the allied languages. On
the other hand Win and Iowa ch usually represents Dak, and I E t. R is
found in all the allied languages, and in Winnebago is more frequent
than even in Icelandic. Iowa aspirate th, represents Dak s, and other
sibilants. Hayden does not distinguish the subvocal and aspirate th in
Omaha. From a small list gathered by my father I judge that the aspirate
is probably similar to the Iowa, and that the subvocal represents Dak
and I E dentals. F in Iowa represents some Dak p's.

There is wonderful regularity in the sound changes in passing from
Santee to Titon Dak, and so far as I can yet discover great irregularity
in passing to the allied languages. Possibly fuller materials and closer
study may reduce the changes to system.

Dak proper has but five vowels; a and e represent I E a; i, i; u, u; and
o, either u or a. They are weakened as in I E languages, and suffixes
which raise I E vowels raise i and u to a. The allied languages have a
larger number of vowels, the Minnetaree ten.


The reduplication of roots in Dak as in I E is extremely frequent, in
both, as in other languages, developing iteratives which occasionally
become intensives. The reduplication of Dak words is like Skt of but one
syllable, usually but not always the root.

The suffix a, aya, which formed verb stems of I E roots usually becomes
a, e, i in Dak as in old Eu. languages.

Ya seems to be rarely preserved: I E pak cook, Skt papakaya parch; Dak
papakhya parch; I E agh say, Lat ajo for aghya say; Dak eya say. The Dak
has many relics of the n of suffix na, which worked its way before the
final consonant; I E tag touch whence I E tang, Lat tango; Dak tan
touch. There seem to be relics of the other methods, which were however
so closely akin to methods of forming nominal stems that they need not
be discussed here.

Schleicher gives two methods of forming secondary verb stems: by suffix
sa forming frequentatives; by suffix ya cause to be, forming transitive
verbs from verbs, adjectives and nouns. Both are living suffixes
extremely frequent and having the same force in Dak.


As in I E a few Dak roots either single or reduplicated form nomen
actionis, etc. This similarity is too widely spread to be of value. It
is far otherwise with suffixes, which are in a majority of cases usually
representative of one or more of Schleicher's twenty suffixes, and if
otherwise at least derived from I E roots, excepting a few of obscure

1. I E -a formed from roots, adjectives, also appellatives, and
abstracts, of which the Dak. has many relics: I E stag, Teut stak strike
beat; Dak staka beaten, broken; Slav. Teut kak sound; Dak kaka rattling;
I E pu stink, rot; Min pua stinking, rotten; Eu sap understand; Lat sapa
wise; Dak k-sapa wise.

Slav Teut kak cackle, kaka the crow; Pawnee kaka; Man keka the crow; Eu
sara stream flow, sara butter; Min tsara; Tit Dak sla grease; I E ar
join whence our arm; Win and Min ara, the arm; Slav Teut lap, lamp
shine; Dak ampa light; Slav Teut krup fear; Dak kopa noun fear, a
fearful place; adj insecure; a Scandinavian base naf, nap, our nab, Icel
nefi; Swed nefwa (perhaps i was the original suffix) the hand; Dak nape
the hand; I E kak spring; Lith szaka (pronounced shaka) twig shoot, etc;
Dak shake nails claws; Om shage finger; Min shaki hand paw.

In Dak as in I E -a usually raises the stem vowel; I E kid burn; Teut
haita hot; Dak kata hot; I E sik dry; Dak saka also shecha dried; I E
lip adhere; Tit Dak lapa sticky adhesive; I E migh pour out water, Skt
megha cloud; Om magha, mangha cloud sky; Crow makha sky; Dak in makhpiya
(maghapiya) cloud sky, maghazhu rain. The zhu is Dak-zhu, Min-ghu, I E
ghu pour.

2. I E -i formed abstracts and nouns of agency; I E ar go; Min ari, way,
track, trail.

3. I E -u formed adjectives; I E ragh spring, raghu light, whence lungs;
Min dagho, agho; Dak chaghu lungs;[G] Eu park whence parka wrinkle; Dak
pako crooked, wrinkled.

4. I E -ya formed nouns, adjectives and participles. The Dak still
retains some adjectives thus formed, and hundreds of participles
rendered by English participles, but used only adverbially, and it has
become an adverbial suffix.

5. I E -wa formed passive participles, adjectives and nouns. It is in
Dak a living passive participial suffix combined with the like suffix
-an, forming wa(h)an. When added directly to the root it raises the stem
vowel as in; Eu ku contain to be hollow; Lat cava; Dak -ko be hollow,
noun ko a hole; kawa open. After consonants the w becomes p; I E akwa
water of ak; Gothic ahva river; Dak wakpa river.

6. I E -ma, -mana, -man formed adjectives, present participles and
nouns; I E akman stone of ak, A S iman; Dak imni stone.

7. I E -ra, -la formed adjectives and nouns; Eu kira yellow; Old Slav
seru; Crow shira, Min tsidi, tsiri, Man psida, Iowa thi, Om thi, zi; Win
and Dak zi yellow; I E ghu pour; Min ghu pour; Dak zhu pour, ozhu pour
in, in ozhudan, Tit ozhu la full; Eu wasra spring of was; Icel vara, Lat
ver; Win wera spring; Eu tag cover whence; Welsh and Irish ti house, our
thatch; Win chira house; Man, Min, Om, Dak ti house; Aryan nira water of
ni; Tit Dak nila water; Om and Win ni water.

Ra, la is also a diminutive suffix in I E languages. It is the regular
diminutive suffix in Win, -ra, in Tit Dak, -la, in Yank -na, in Santee
Dak -dan also -na.

8. I E -an formed past passive participles whence our en in fallen, etc.
It is still the regular passive participial suffix in Dak either alone
or combined with wa. As Dak verb stems end in a vowel it is preceded by
a euphonic h. When added directly to the root it raises the stem vowel,
as in Eu wik whence Gothic veiha holy; Dak wakan sacred.

9. I have not found infinitive suffix -na in Dak.

10. I E -na was a passive participial suffix, developing also
denominatives. The Dak has perhaps a few relics; I E ku bring low, kauna
low; Dak ku- in kuchedan, also kun low. I E mi, diminish (mince); Yank
and Tit Dak mina knife.

11. I E -ni formed abstracts and nouns of agency. Possibly it is found
in; I E migh pour out water; Dak mini water; and a few others.

12. Two words containing -nu, are recognized by Schleicher as I E; I E
and Dak su bear; I E sunu son; Dak sun younger brother. I E and Dak tan
extend; I E tanu adj thin, noun body; Dak tan body.

13. I E -ta (our -d) formed the past passive participle, and nouns of
similar signification, in which uses it is tolerably frequent in Dak; I
E ski collect, arrange; Dak shki plait gather, skita bound together,
tied on; I E pu destroy rot; Min pu rot; Dak po in pon (=po an) rotten,
po -ta used up, worn out; I E sta stand, stata standing, stopped,
brought to a stand; Dak -sdata standing, stopped, hence also sdata
feeble; I E su sew, sut sewed; Dak suta strong, compare Min ashu a
string cord; I E and Dak wi wind, wrap around, encircle; Dak wita
island; wita bound together, in witaya together.

14. I E -ta formed nouns of agency and future participles. It is derived
by Bopp from I E tar pass-over, whence also Eu tar, tur pass-over,
possess, accomplish, fulfil. The root is extremely frequent in these
uses in the Dakotan languages, and in Dak at least is much used as a
suffix. The last half of the word Mini-tari is tari, cross over. In Dak,
Eu tur is re; represented as accurately as possible by ton possess,
accomplish, fulfil, have, give birth, and the preposition tan in
composition from equally represents Skt tar, from.[H]

As forming nouns of agency it has in Dak lost the r; Eu pa, whence Eu
pana fire; Dak peta fire; I E ak Skt iksh see, whence our eye; Min aka,
ika see; Crow am-aka, Iowa at-aka see; ishta eye, in all Dakotan

We perhaps have a few relics of tar as a comparative suffix; I E uk
increase whence Old Sax agen our again; Mand age, Dak ake again, Dak
akton more than.

15. I have not recognized -ti in Dak.

16. Dak wetu, etu time, season, may be I E and Dak, -wi encircle, with
-tu, but is more probably related to I E vatas year, adj. old.

17. I have not recognized -dhi in Dak.

18. I E -ant (our ing) forming active participles necessarily drops t
and prefixes h in Dak, and in this form, han, is used as active
participial suffix with some verbs.

19. As a plural suffix I E -as seems to be presented by the Mandan
plural suffix osh.

20. I E -ka as a primary suffix forms a few nouns and adjectives; I E ku
contain be hollow; Dak root ko the same, koka a cask, barrel, box, etc;
I E and Dak tan extend, stretch; Dak tanka large (cf Iowa tanra large).
I E da bind; Dak daka bound by obligation, relationship or league,
whence their name Dakota, those bound by league, those making a league,
friend, comrade (-ta for I E tar). As a secondary suffix it is extremely
frequent in Dak as well as I E, forming in both words of multifarious
relations to their primitives. I E kuan, kwan, kwanka dog; Lith szun
(pronounced shun); Dak shunka dog; Old Slav suka a bitch; Min shuka a
dog. Ka is used both in I E and Dak as a negative suffix. In Sanskrit
and several other I E languages it is used as a diminutive suffix, and
forms one syllable of the various Min diminutive suffixes.


     [Footnote G: For I E r--Dak ch compare Eu wira Dak wicha-man;
     Eu wera; Dak wicaka true. Teut legya thigh whence leg of lak;
     Win lega and legra; Iowa reke; Mandan doka; Min diki, liki the
     leg, the thigh; Dak checha the thighs. The r probably first
     became d.]

     [Footnote H: Dak n--I E r is supported by about fifty


The Dak is like the I E languages remarkable for its copiousness in
prepositions. In their use or omission the Dak differs from the English
less than does the Anglo Saxon. As in some of the old I E languages they
are either verbal prefixes or follow their nouns. Nearly all of them
seem to be of I E prepositions mostly compounded. I give examples of the
more obvious similarities.

Sam. together with, in skt. A. S. and Dak.

En in, Greek, Teutonic and Dak.

On, A. S. with dat, for, on account of, of, Dak the same.

A verbal prefix on, Icel, A. S., Dak.

I E ana A. S. an on, Dak an in composition on.

A. S. at our at; Dak ta at necessarily transposed.

Eu da Old Ir du, our to, Germ zu; Min du, during, at that time; Dak tu
to, till etc.

Eu ek over, of I E ak; Min ak over, Dak in ak -an upon, ak -am beyond
over upon, ek -ta at, etc.

Eu api about, around; Min api with.

Eu ambhi about, around, over; Dak am in akam over upon; A S and Ger um.
Swed om same meaning; Dak om with, used with plural object only.

A S ni negative; Dak ni prefix in nicha none and base of negative words
in shni not combined with reflexive sa.


The Dak and Algonkin pronouns are amazingly dissimilar; the Dak and I E
are remarkably alike.

1st person sing. inflection, ma, mi, m, in I E and Dakota. The Dakotan
forms are however oftener prefixed than suffixed eg; Dak root ha have
(Teut aih own) yu formative prefix, 3 yuha he has; 2 duha thou hast; 1
mduha I have; Titon 3 yuha, 2 luha, 1 bluha.

1st p stem. The ga of Lat ego A S, ic etc. appears in Iowa, ka, ke, etc.
The chief base of nearly all the Dak languages is however, ma, mi,
corresponding to I E ma, mi; Lat me, mi; Eng me, etc.

1st dual and Plural stem. I E na, Lat no, Mandan nu; Teut dual onki,
Goth ugki, A S unc, Dak unki and un. The base wa whence we, has become
in Dak wa I, in Omaha wi me, in Iowa inflection plural wa, us, etc.

2d. I E twa has become in Dak ni (cf Swed ni thou). It is however in
Omaha thi identical in sound with our thee, and da, di in most allied
languages similar to German du. Dak ya pl yapi you, and our you are
probably also of this base. The Iowa forms the possessive of personal
pronouns like the Icelandic by -i; Icel min my; Iowa min my.

3d person, I, he, she, it, extremely frequent in I E languages, is the
base used in all the Dakotan languages as least partaking of a
demonstrative nature. In Dak it is omitted except when emphatic.

I E sa reflexive and emphatic; Min she, the same. Contracted to s it
forms I E nominative; in Dak, as sh nominatives of i (ish), mi, ni and
unki, and occurs in composition; in Min it forms proper names.

I E sa, ta; Teut tha, this, that; Om the, this; Dak ta, to in many

I E sawa genitive of sa, ta reflexive possessive for all persons; Dak
tawa the same, also ta. It is in the third person used alone in Dak, but
suffixed to i in Minnetaree. All its forms in Min, and those of the
first and second persons in Dak are double possessives analogous to
mine, thine.

Eu ki, kina, that, this, he, she, it; Dak ki, his, her, its, etc. In Nom
kana those, etc.; sing ka that, the vowel is raised as in the Greek
keinos. For abridgement of stem in singular compare our ox, pl. oxen,
Nortumbrian oxena, and other relics of stems in na; Teut hina this; Crow
hina this.

From kina, hina, originated the Icelandic and Swedish pastpositive def.
article the; likewise Dak kin postpositive def. article the; ke emphatic
pronoun kuns, clf, etc. Of this base A S stem he, he, she, it; Dak he
(pl hena) he, she, it, that.

Slav Teut da this; Dak de (pl dena) this.

I E antara other; Mandan ant that.

I E i demon, pref, this; Dak i.

I E a dem. pref; Min a, o; Dak o.

I E wa pronominal base used in compounds; Dak wa pronominal prefix some,
something. Prefix wo (wa-|-o) forms abstract nouns and nouns of agency.

I E ka int. and rel. pronoun; Pawnee ka interrogative; Dak ka
interrogative suffix and in compounds; Ger wer; Dak tu-we who int. and
rel; Gk po; Min tape who, tapa or tako what. I E neuter base ku what;
Dak ta-ku what rel. and int.

I E wika all the whole; Dak wicha them, incorporated objective. Iowa wi;
Dak pi plural suffix seems to be a contraction of this base.

Analogous to A S, accusative mik of ma-|-ga we have; Dak accusative
michi, in which the k has become ch through the influence of i; also the
accusatives unki-chi, ni-chi, i-chi.


I have compared the Dakotan numerals with all others accessible to me,
including some of the forms of more than five hundred dialects. I can
find less than half a dozen American or Turanian sets that resemble any
Dakotan set as much as the English numerals resemble the Hebrew. The
similarity of the Dak to the I E numerals can therefore be accounted for
only as the result of special relationship or of accident. Except as
noted below all changes are in accordance with well sustained laws.

1, A S an, Lith (w)ena; Dak (w)-an, ind. article wanzhi one, wancha one,

2, I E dwa; Min d(o)pa; Iowa n(o)wa; Dak n(o)m pa cf A S ta two; Dak ta
a pair.

3, I E traya; Iowa tanye; Dak ya -mni [or ya (m) ni?]

4, I E k-atwar; Iowa towa; Dak S topa; Y tom; T tol.

5, I E kankan, kwankwan; Mand kikhun; Dak zaptan?

6, I E kswakswa; Win hakwa; Iowa shagwa; Dak shakpe.

7, A S seowon; Dak shakowin.

8, I E aktu, Gk hokto; Dak Y sh-akdo-ghan; Sant sh-ahdo-ghan.

9, I E nawan; Dak na (pchi) wan-ka.

10, I E dwakan; Lat decem; Dak wikchem-na.

5, I E k = Dak z otherwise sustained but not proved. Kw = kp = tp = pt,
t and k being interchangeable before labials in Dak.

7, Neither A S seowon nor Dak shakowin are legitimately deducible from
saptan. Perhaps sakan, sakwan was the true base.

8, Either Gk h or Dak sh may equal I E s. Dak d for I E t is rare but S.
hd, Y. kd is a favorite combination.

9, I cannot explain inserted pchi.

10, In Dak m and n are interchangeable before labials, but m for I E n
is here unsupported.[I] D cannot stand before w in Dak.


     [Footnote I: Whitney Skt Gr 487 appears to regard m, as in
     Latin decem, the original nasal.]


The table of sound representation heretofore given serves to compare the
materials of the main body of the Dak with Fick's I E bases. The results
are, however, in many cases ambiguous. Besides the number of accidental
resemblances of the Dakotan to the I E languages seems, to be much
greater than the whole number of similarities between Dakotan and
Algonkin languages. Dak anapta is identical with I E anapta in sound,
closely similar in meaning. Dak a-na-pta is prep. a = Icel a on, na
prefix converting root to verb, and pta separate; cf I E pat fall, also
open (Lat pateo). I E an-apta is an negative prefix, and apta participle
of ap attain. My father compared Dak chepa fat with Lat adeps. I have
since found Min idip fat almost identical with Lat stem adipi. I E and
Lat d and p are nearly always d and p in Min; but it is extremely
doubtful whether the words are related. On the other hand there is
little apparent similarity between Eu karpya shoe, and Dak hanpa shoe;
but the Dak word represents the Eu as accurately as possible; similar
forms are found in every Dakotan language, and it seems scarcely
possible to me that the similarity can be accidental.

In giving a few additional examples of similar roots I select those that
are the most obvious, rather than the most certain. I exclude those not
in accordance with sound representation, and the analogies of such
allied Dakotan and I E forms as are known to me.

Where the Dakotan forms are not used as separate words it is indicated
by a hyphen, before, if used alone as a verb stem, after if it requires
suffixes. Where the root is found primarily combined with only one
suffix or prefix the derivative form is given. In some cases the Dak
root has one of the meanings given in one combination, another in

Eu i go; Dak i go.

Aryan u mangle; Min u wound; Dak o.

Eu ak tell, relate; Dak o(y)-aka.

Eu aka mother; Min ika mother.

Eu ap attain; Dak ape wait for, expect.

Eu ad; Icel eta eat; Dak ta eat.

Eu as be; Ital, Alb, Pers e is; Dak e is, -esh be it so.

Eu as mouth, asta lips; Dak i mouth, ishti the under lip.

Eu unk dwell; Dak un dwell, be; unkan be, unkan and, (act part for
unkant continuing.)

Eu ka bend, curl, kak (for kaka) laugh; Min ka laugh; Dak kha bend,
curl, i-khakha laugh.

Eu kak be injurious, Gk kakos bad; Mand khekosh bad; Crow kawi bad; Dak
shicha bad?

Eu ka and; Dak ka and.

I E ka, kan, kar desire; Dak kon desire.

I E ka, kar, gar honor; Dak kan honor.

I E ka, ga know; Min eke know; Dak ka mean, signify.

Eu ka pierce, cut in; Dak ka dig.

Eu kat cover; Dak o-kati, o in, kati cover.

Eu kap take hold of; Dak yu-kapa catch as a ball, kapa surpass.

Eu kam; Teut him bend, curve, arch; Dak S-hmi, Y-kmi curve; S hmi-hma, Y
kmikma round.

Eu kas rub against, scratch; Dak kashe rub against, kaza pick to pieces.

Eu skar, kar shave off; Dak ka strip off, as the feather part of a

Eu ki, gi possess by force; Dak ki take by force.

Eu ki, kit seek; Dak a-kita seek.

Teut han waver, hang; Dak -han hang, totter, waver.

Teut haf lift, heave; Dak -ha lift, heave.

Teut hata hate; Dak -hiti hate.

Teut hama the hull; Dak ha the hull.

Teut hiwan related of the same family. Icel hjun household; O. H. G. hun
both husband and wife; Dak hun- of the same family, also hun mother.

Teut kan, kin beget, germinate; Goth kuni related; Dak ku suffix kin,
root ku-, kin-, chin- in many derivatives. Goth kwino woman; Dak wino.

Eu gha open out, whence gate, gape; Dak -gha, ghapa, ghata open out.

Eu ghagh move convulsively; Dak gheghe swing the arms like a drunken

Eu ghans goose; Win wighanna, Mandan mihan, Dak magha goose.

Eu ghans be rough; Min -gha, Dak kha be rough.

Eu tap press; Min tapi press; Dak -tpa.

Eu tarp satisfy; Dak tpa satisfying, etc.

Eu tan thunder; Dak o-tin thunder.

Icel taka take, touch, fasten; Dak yu-taka take, touch, na-taka fasten.

Eu da know, dak show, suppose; Dak da, daka think, regard, have an

Eu da give; Dak da ask.

Eu di go, hasten; Min di go, travel.

Eu du go forth; Dak du-za run.

Eu dup sink in, our dive; Dak dopa mire; Min dipi bathe.

Eu nu now; Dak i-nu suddenly, na-ka now, wan-na now.

Eu nar man; Om no, nu man.

Eu pak, Gk pakto- bind; Dak pakhta bind.

Eu pat press; Min pati press.

Eu pat fill up, crowd; Dak in pta-ya together.

Eu pa swallow nourish; Dak -pa- nourish papa the nourishment, Min pe
swallow, take nourishment.

Eu pap swell up, puff out; Dak popa swell burst.

Eu par divide (our part); Dak a-pa a part.

Eu pi hate; Crow -pi hate.

Eu pik pierce; Min pi tatoo, -pi pierce.

Eu pu dry; Dak pu- dry.

Icel fok our fog; Dak po fog, mist, steam, etc.

Icel finn, Swed, Nor, M. H. G. fin, Dan, Sax finn, O. Du fijn M Eng
fine; Win pin, Dak -pi, Iowa pi good, perfected.[J]

Eu bub (of bu) make a noise; Dak -bu make a noise, bubu noisy.

Teut and Ir bata boat; Min mati, bati, Cr bashe, Dak wata boat.

Teut blas flame, our blaze; T Dak bleza clear, transparent.

Lat and Gr bison from Teut; Crow bishe the bison; Dak pte.

Lat and Gr mamma the mother breast; Dak mama the mother breast.

Eu man remain; Dak man remain, stay.

Sclav Teut man go, step; Dak mani walk.

Eu magh grow; Ir magh field; Dak magha field.

Teut marka limit, boundary, territory of a tribe; Dak maka the ground,
the earth, makoche country.

Eu ya go; Dak ya go.

Eu rup break; Min dupi, rupi break.

A S throte the throat; T Dak lote, S dote throat.

Eu wak say, speak, wad speak, sing; Gk wepos word; Dak wo-wa-pi that
related by pictures and writing, root wa in various compounds, relate,
count, write, sing, etc. (Gk p is root, Dak p suffix.)

Eu wagh carry, our way; Dak o-we way, trail.

Eu wad flow forth, our wet; Dak wi-wi a marsh, a springy place.

Eu wasu good; Dak wash-te good.

Teut wantra winter; Dak wani- winter.

Icel wakta watch, guard; Dak wakta watch, guard.

Teut widu wood; Min mida, bida wood.

Eu sa refrain from; Crow suffix sa the same.

Teut swa, Old Fris sa like as; Dak se like as.

Eu sak divide, cut; Min tsaki divide cut.

Eu sama summer; Min tsame hot, very warm.

Eu si bind; Min -shi bind; Dak -shi command.

Swed si! lo! behold! Dak. shi! hark!

Eu su good; Dak -su good.

Eu suk suck; Min tsuki, Dak zoka suck.

I E ska shine; Lat candidus white; Dak ska white shining.

I E ska separate; Dak ksa separate.

I E ska kill, Gk kten- kill; Dak kte kill.

I E ska tarry, Gk kta possess; Dak kta defer, tarry, used also as sign
of future tense. The Mandan future inflection -kit -kt -t appears to be
an abridgement of this.

Eu skat spring, leap; Dak skata play.

Eu ska, skad burn; Dak shku roast.

Eu skap annihilate; Dak skepa evaporate, remove entirely, cause to

Eu skap strike; Dak -skapa strike.

Eu skad, Gk keda spill, scatter; Dak kada spill, scatter, applied only
to solids.

Eu skap scratch, shave; Min kape scratch.

Eu kopa concave; Dak skopa concave.

Eu skid press; Dak -ski- press.

Eu sku shave off, flay; Dak -sku shave off, flay.

Eu skru rough hew; Dak sku broken in gaps.

Eu snigh cold; Dak sni cold.

Eu swan sonare; Dak sna ring, rattle.

Eu skud, Teut skut shoot; Dak kate shoot.

Teut sota soot; Dak shota smoke, shotkazi soot.

Eu sad sit; Dak si, siha the foot.

The Dakota words that most resemble I E forms are those in daily use,
those roots entering into the largest number of compounds, those most
widely distributed in languages more nearly related.

Excluding words repeated in compounds and those contained in phrases I
have not satisfactorily analyzed, and including words derivative rather
than compound, I find in Hayden, Morgan and Schoolcraft 262 different
Iowa words. Of these thirty-five as words represent words discussed in
this paper; thirty-nine others appear to be derived from roots herein
discussed, a number of them varying from the Dak. word only by using a
different suffix also herein compared. Out of 159 that I have been able
plainly to trace to Dakota words and roots 121 are to Dakotan roots and
words which seem to be related to I E forms. If I had sufficient Iowa
material to enable me to find Iowa roots independently, I doubt not the
resemblance to the Dakota would be much increased, and the resemblance
to the I E in a still greater degree.

The parable of the prodigal son as printed in Dr. Rigg's dictionary,
page 61, contains as there printed 417 words, 199 different[K] words. Of
these 36 words, occurring 186 times, are in the exact form[L] given in
this paper; 8 other words, occurring 11 times, as given in my preceding
paper; 75 other words, occurring 106 times, are composed wholly of the
words, roots and pronominal elements compared with I E forms in the two
papers. There remain 114 words, 80 different words. If I have correctly
analyzed them they contain the following elements compared in this
paper: words and verb roots, 9 times, pronouns 19 times, prepositional
and pronominal prefixes 35 times. Much of the remainder, in all about
nine-tenths of the whole, seems to me represent I E materials with which
I have compared it. I do not doubt that some of the similarities will
prove in the end fallacious. On the other hand I have no doubt that many
new similarities will be found. My father made a list of 1,243 Dakota
verb stems, radical words and words which he could not satisfactorily to
himself derive from simpler elements. Of these about 500 seem to be
similar to I E forms with which I have compared them, and from them are
derived more than three-fourths of the 16,000 words in Dr. Rigg's

The pronouns, prepositions and suffixes herein given seem to indicate
that the Dakotas did not separate from the Teutonic family till long
after the latter separated from the South European family. The fact that
the Dak resembles the Icelandic and Gothic in vocabulary and in
structure much more than it resembles the older Latin, points in the
same direction. The laws of consonantal change in many cases produce the
same result as Grimm's law, but the laws themselves are entirely
different. It _is certain_, therefore, that the Dakota has not been
connected with the Teutonic since the development of Grimm's law made
any considerable progress. I have studied the question less, yet I think
I have enough evidence in the system of consonantal change _to prove_
that the Dakota has not been connected with the Slavonic or Lithuanian
since they separated from each other, or for some time previously. It is
possible so far as I can now say that the Dak may have borrowed material
from some language not I E, but I have found no evidence of it.
Undoubtedly the adoption of prisoners has introduced a considerable
percentage of Algonkin blood. It is also certain that they have adopted
some Chippewa religious observances, but even in these they do not
appear to have adopted any Chippewa words.


     [Footnote J: A word of this kind used every day by the masses
     of all Teutonic people, and corresponding to the principal
     languages in such a variety of meanings, could not possibly be
     derived from the Latin finitum. Our fine may be in part from
     finitum, but fin--I E pin is certainly a Teut word.]

     [Footnote K: Words varied by inflection are classed as
     different words.]

     [Footnote L: Except that in accordance with euphonic laws
     initial k becomes ch sixteen times, and final a e seven

     | Transcriber's Note: Inconsistencies in the punctuation around|
     | abbreviations have been retained.                            |

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