corn (3)

noun plant




Proto-Dhegiha *wathą́se

Omaha-Ponca wathą́zi RR

Kanza/Kaw wakhózi RR

Osage watoⁿçi , †wathą́zi LF:204b, LF:205a

Quapaw wathą́se RR



Biloxi taⁿsi , †tąsi ‘grass’


Tutelo mātāqē , †mą•ta•xé• N, H , mandazéi , †mątasé- H

General comment

Cf. ‘cucurbit (1)’ for related terms and a fuller lexical set. As with the other Siouan terms for ‘corn’, we are dealing with borrowing here. This seems to be the most prominent Mississippi Valley term for ‘corn’. MRS derives its ‘corn’ words from *ko- ‘gourd’. OVS (Biloxi, Ofo only) have a third distinct term that is similar to some of the Caddoan corn terms. It seems clear that the introduction of corn into Siouan-speaking areas postdates the split of the major subgroups and several of the minor ones.

There is evidence for diffusion of terms within these subgroups as well. The Tutelo form suggests an association with MVS at the time of borrowing, but the archetype for this term appears to be very widespread, possibly spreading out of Meso-America with the cultigens themselves, cf. Choctaw and Chickasaw ta•nči < tą + ači ‘corn’, Yuchi thą ‘gourd’ and possibly even Keresan (Proto Keresan *dâ•ni ‘squash’ Miller and Davis) for analogs. Ultimately linguists and archaeologists working together may be able to trace the routes of spread.

Other languages

  • Chickasaw tanči ‘corn’
  • Choctaw tą:či (RR)
  • Mobilian tanči (Crawford)
  • Kiowa ʻa•thán ‘corn tassel’ (LJW)
  • Kiowa é•thâl ‘corn’ (LJW)
  • Proto Keresan *dâ•ni ‘squash’ (Miller and Davis, IJAL 29, p.321).
Details Language Word Source