be black

Be a black person -hǫʼtsi-

 

hatihǫʼtsih           They (masculine and both genders) are black people.

[hah-tee-hon-on-tseeh]

hati-                 masculine plural agent – they (m)

-hǫʼtsi-             verb rootbe a black person

-h                     stative aspect

 

atihǫʼtsih              They (feminine) are black women.

[ah-tee-hon-on-tseeh]

ati-                   feminine-zoic – they (f)

-hǫʼtsi-             verb rootbe a black person

-h                     stative aspect

 

hahǫˀtsih               He is a black person.

[hah-hon-on-tseeh]

ha-                   masculine singular agent – he

-hǫʼtsi-             verb rootbe a black person

-h                     stative aspect

 

yahǫˀtsih              She is a black person.

[yah-hon-on-tseeh]

ya-                   masculine singular agent – she

-hǫʼtsi-             verb rootbe a black person

-h                     stative aspect

 

 

While this verb root has only this specific meaning in Wyandot, it has the general meaning of  ‘be black, dark in color’ in Cayuga (Froman el al 2002:316 and 472), Mohawk (Michelson 1973:57-8), Oneida (Michelson and Doxtator 2002:411 and 908), Onondaga (Woodbury 2003:571 and 1012), Seneca (Chafe 2012:19) and Tuscarora (Rudes 1999:554). Jesuit Father Pierre Potier records it in the 1740s Wyandot (Potier 1920:154), but does not include it in the dictionary. It looks like it might have been borrowed into Wyandot from one of the related languages.

 

Be Called Charcoal, Be Black

 

Perhaps the Wyandot (and the Wendat) did not use this term at first as they had another term meaning ‘be black’, which was also used to refer to ‘black people’, that is the Jesuit Fathers or ‘black robes’ (their uniform) who did a longer stretch of work with the Wyandot and the Wendat than they did with the other speakers of Iroquoian languages:

yatsehęstatsih        It is called charcoal. It is black.

[yah-tseh-hen-stah-tseeh]

ya-                   feminine-zoic singular agent – it

-tsehęst-           noun root – charcoal

-a-                    joiner vowel

-ˀats-                verb root – call, name

-ih                    stative aspect

 

hatitsęstaʼatsih     They (m) are called charcoal, are Jesuit Fathers.

[hah-tee-tsen-stah-ah-tseeh]

hati-                 masculine plural agent – they (m)

-tsehęst-           noun root – charcoal

-a-                    joiner vowel

-ˀats-                verb root – call, name

-ih                    stative aspect

 

References Cited

Chafe, Wallace, 2012, English-Seneca Dictionary file:///C:/Users/Owner/Desktop/Wyandot%20language%20project/English-Seneca_1-18-12.pdf

Froman, Francis, Alfred Keye, Lottie Keye and Carrie Dyck, 2002, English-Cayuga-Cayuga English Dictionary, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Michelson, Gunther, 1973, A Thousand Words of Mohawk, National Museum of Man, Mercury Series, Ethnology Division, Paper No. 5.

Michelson, Karin and Mercy Doxtator, 2002, Oneida-English/English-Oneida Dictionary, Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Potier, Pierre, 1920, Fifteenth Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario, Toronto: C. W. James.

Rudes, Blair, 1999, Tuscarora-English/English-Tuscarora Dictionary, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Woodbury, Hanni, 2003, Onondaga-English/English-Onondaga Dictionary, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

 

 

 

 

 

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