*Wát, *WáHt (?)
‘any kind of boat’
nahaṭí, nahádi, naháti, nahád
There are many phonological problems in this set: (1) Nasal vowels in
DH are not accounted for. (2) The hati of the SE languages is very
difficult to relate to central Siouan. (3) Quapaw nasality is unexpected, since
the reflex of *W should be b (unlike Omaha-Ponca where the normal reflex is m).
(4) DH generally shows an irregular shift in accent. (5) Hidatsa preaspiration
(not attested in Crow) is difficult to account for even from hati since h
should not have been lost in Crow. (6) Mandan should have -E rather than -a.
Although it may be possible to justify a Proto-Siouan reconstruction for ‘boat’, we
believe that in reality this word is equally most likely a diffused form,
ultimately an early borrowing or adaptation of a reflex of proto-Algonquian
*meʔteko:ši ‘dug-out canoe’ (Aubin-1231). As in ‘bow’, q.v., only
approximately the first two syllables are ever borrowed into Siouan, probably
at a variety of different times and from different Algonquian languages or
In this set, what appears as a reflex of *W in several languages may stem
either from interaction between m and ʔ, or from the fact that Algonquian
phonemic m was treated differently in Siouan from the native nasalized
w’s. Most Siouan *W come from *w-w sequences that arise secondarily
due to syncope of a medial vowel.
*meʔteko:ši ‘dug-out canoe’ Aubin-1231