brain (1)

noun physical_somatic_body_part


Proto-Siouan *rąt-

Proto-Crow-Hidatsa *ahtú

Crow aašúu ‘head’ GG:3, RGG:69 , aššóo ‘place of honor opposite Tipi entrance’ GG:13

Hidatsa a•htú ‘head’ J , ahtúka ‘place of honor in earthlodge; Hidatsa Earthlodge’ GLW , ahtú ‘rear of the house’ H&V


Mandan rą́trų ‘brain, spine’ H:174 , rą́tįrų, rątį́rų ‘brain’ RTC



Lakota natá ‘head’ RTC , natáhu ‘whole skull’ EJ



Ofo nạ́thû , †nə́thu ‘brain’ D&S:326b


Catawba mųtu ‘brain’ KS

General comment

Several of the reconstructible words involving the upper body begin with the syllable , cf. ‘brain (1)’, ‘brain (2)’, ‘ear (1)’, ‘ear (2), external opening’, and ‘hair of head’. Where Crow or Hidatsa show cognate forms, the initial syllable is a and following (unexplained) preaspiration, not the expected cognate, ra. It is possible that the syllable is historically a classificatory prefix, and that the compound structure of these words was still evident in Proto-Crow-Hidatsa when the (irregular) loss of r(a)- affected the initial morpheme. (Alternatively, the r may be epenthetic between the possessive pronominal prefixes and the vowel-initial morpheme.) The medial cluster of Mandan is unexplained. Crow/Hidatsa long prefixes are possessed forms (body parts); short prefixes are unpossessed. Reduction of the regular geminate in Crow ‘head’ is probably due to contamination from ‘horn’.

Language Cognate Phonetic Siouan Meaning Comment Sources