bear > black bear (2)

noun animal_mammal


Proto-Siouan *wi-hų́te, *wa-hų́te


Crow buushí ‘black bear’ RG, GG:35, RGG:2



Dakota húte ‘bear’ RR

Proto-Hoocąk-Chiwere *(wa-)hų́te

Chiwere mų́ǰe ‘bear, black bear’ JDH

Hoocąk hų́ųč ‘bear’ KM:1612 , hųųc

Proto-Southeastern *mų́•ti


Biloxi oⁿṭí, óⁿṭi , †ǫti ‘bear’ D&S:242b, JOD


Tutelo mūnti; mōnti, moñdi , †mų•ti N, H

General comment

Given that ‘bear > black bear (1)’, meaning ‘(little) black one’ is found in those languages that lack reflexes of *wi-hų́te, *wa-hų́te, this is most likely the original ‘black bear’ term. The Dakota term is not found in any of the published sources and was provided to RR by Gerald Red Elk, Ft. Peck, Poplar, MT. The somewhat irregular initial consonants (e.g. Dakota, Hoocąk), the various UA look-alikes cited by Miller along with the phonological similarity to the ‘bear > grizzly’ word suggest a good deal of borrowing and contamination in the ‘bear’ sets. Cf. Miller PUA #30 ‘bear’ NT vóxi; My hoóso; Cr huúceʔe; Hch húuce. Length and accent would be accounted for if the original were *wV-hų́te with an initial syllable, wi- ‘animate absolutive’ or simply wa-absolutive’. Additional argument for this analysis derives from the fact that the sequence *wu is highly unstable in Siouan and commonly dissimilates. Here it is found intact, and is, thus, almost certainly secondary.

Other languages

  • Cf. Miller PUA #30 ‘bear’ *pos, poc NT vóxi; My hoóso (cf. Sp. OSO JEK) Cr. huúceʔe; Hch húuce. Cf. UA huna ‘badger’.
Language Cognate Phonetic Siouan Meaning Comment Sources