1st singular actor, syncope product (allomorph)

pronoun n/a


Proto-Siouan *w-


Crow ba- /__ la ‘by mouth’ [pitch accent shifts to stem from instrumental] , bu- / __ lu ‘by hand’ [pitch accent shifts to stem from instrumental]

Hidatsa wa- / __ru-/ra- [accent shifts to stem from instrumental]

Pre-Mandan *w- < **wa-

Mandan w- /__r- [and addition of a Dorsey’s Law V]

Proto-Mississipi-Valley w- < **wa-

Proto-Dakota *w- (plus assimilation)

Lakota b- /__*r , p- /__*h , m- /__n and replacing:or: *w-


Hoocąk t- replacing *w-r (of stem) [much analogical restoration of ha-; a few relics]

Proto-Dhegiha *w-

Omaha-Ponca b /__*r [replacing *ʔ or *w] , p/__*h [p/__ p, t, k with assimilation to pp, tt, (kk or pp)] , m , p/__ p, t, k

Kanza/Kaw (as in Omaha-Ponca)

Osage h /__ p, t, k [h /__ p, t, k with assimilation to hp, ht, hk]

Proto-Southeastern *wa- (restored ?)


Ofo a-


Tutelo wa-

General comment

Here, and with the second person analogs, we see the result of the strong tendancy of Mississippi Valley Siouan languages to lose unaccented, short, initial syllable vowels. In the 1Act forms this leaves *w- prefixed to numerous consonant-initial stems. This, in turn, resulted in assimilation of various features from the stem-initial consonant. In MVS this most frequently produced allomorphs *p- before voiceless contoids (incl. h), *b- before *r, and *m- before any nasal contoid. *m- also replaces stem-initial and *w as far as we are able to determine, but glottal and W-stems almost always have nasal vowels, perhaps by coincidence. In a few instances, e.g. Dakota ‘lie’, DH and dialectal Dakota ‘sit’ positionals, q.v., *m- appears to replace stem-initial *r, but these verbs also have nasal stem vowels, and the r in question may well have been epenthetic as it is in the causative.

Throughout Siouan there has been massive analogical leveling of these consonantal allomorphs of the person-number prefixes with concomitant restoration of the fuller form, wa-, or its local reflexes. The irregular allomorphs are restricted to a few verbs in the modern languages. These most frequently include verbs of motion, ‘say’, ‘eat’, ‘ask’, ‘do’, ‘think’, ‘wear about the shoulders’, ‘wound’ and the positionals, ‘sitting, be; sitting positional’, ‘standing, continue, standing positional’, ‘lie, be lying, positional’. MVS preserves the assimilation products best. There are few if any cases in Crow, few in Mandan and almost none in the Southeast. The few relics that do exist show that syncope was found beyond just MVS however.

The Crow allomorphs suggest that Crow underwent some of the same kind of syncope in prefixes that MVS stems did. The rightward shift of accent implies that the syllabic in the prefix was missing, and the fact that the vowels in these same prefixes harmonize for height and rounding suggest that the present-day vowels are the result of a “Dorsey’s Law”-like process. Note that Catawba has analogous syncope processes operating in the agent pronominal paradigms, although, as noted, 1s is not cognate.

Language Cognate Phonetic Siouan Meaning Comment Sources