skunk

noun animal_mammal

Proto-Siouan-Catawba

Proto-Siouan *awąka

Proto-Crow-Hidatsa *awakV•

Crow awačíi ‘badger’ GG:14, RGG:1

Hidatsa awaká• ‘badger’ J

Pre-Mandan

Mandan wąhték ‘badger’ RTC

Proto-Mississipi-Valley *mą́ka

Proto-Dakota *mąká

Lakota mąká ‘skunk’ EJ

Dakota maŋ-ká , †mąká ‘skunk’ SRR:308b

Proto-Hoocąk-Chiwere

Chiwere mų́kha ‘skunk’ GM

Proto-Dhegiha *mą́ka

Omaha-Ponca mą́ga ‘skunk’ RR

Kanza/Kaw mą́ga ~ mǫ́ga ‘skunk’ RR

Osage mą́ka ‘skunk’ RR

Quapaw mą́ka ~ mǫ́ka ‘skunk’ RR

General comment

The Chiwere first-syllable vowel is irregular, and Chiwere aspiration is also unexplained, but cf. ‘dog’. Mandan and Chiwere both suggest an old -h final stem, but such a reconstruction is not supported by the other languages. The Mandan appears to be an old compound with an unknown second root. The northern languages have ‘badger’ as the meaning, while it was ‘skunk’ in Proto-Mississipi-Valley. Since both animals have white stripes, the semantic shift seems quite reasonable, whichever way it went. Kanza/Kaw and Quapaw also show one form with ǫ, which would match the Chiwere ų. In DH there is a common tendancy to round reflexes of ą to ǫ following a bilabial. Cf. also ‘badger’.

Details Language Word Source