noun plant





Omaha-Ponca gobé , †gobé JOD , gubé hi , †gobé hi ‘hackberry tree’ MAS:91

Kanza/Kaw gǫbé ‘hackberry’ RR

Osage goⁿbé , †kǫpé ‘hackberry’ LF:53a

General comment

Hackberries proper are found as far south as the mouth of the Ohio River. All other Siouan territory is covered. Other varieties of the fruit extend further south however. So far this set exists only in DH and Chiwere, and we suspect borrowing as the source. The most similar form is found in Tunica.

Haas records the following entry for ‘hackberry’: kómeli < kó ‘tree’ (only hackberry and hawthorne) + meli ‘black’. (p.224). Since Haas analyzes as ‘tree’ only in two words (there is another word for tree in all other contexts), we suspect a folk etymology here, i.e., instead of being essentially unanalyzable, it may be -li that is unanalyzable. In any event, it appears that kómehackberry’ was borrowed into DH and spread northward losing phonological features as it progressed. This analysis is marred by the fact that Dorsey never recorded a Quapaw term. Words with vaguely similar shapes are common up and down the Mississippi Valley and eastern plains, but the only other reasonably close form phonetically is Western Muskogean (Choctaw) kaⁿpko (Byington and Swanton).

Other languages

  • Tunica: kómeli MRH. ‘tree’ (only hackberry and hawthorne) + meli ‘black’. Haas uncertain of meaning. (p.224)
  • Pawnee: kaapsit Gilmore
  • Caddo: basnat Chafe
  • Wichita: ka•kwic DSR
  • Proto Muskogean: *kampko KMB
  • Choctaw: kaⁿpko
  • Alabama: kapko
  • Creek: kap-apó:cka KMB
Language Cognate Phonetic Siouan Meaning Comment Sources