The Dakota Language (Classic Reprint)


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Excerpt from The Dakota Language Accent in Dakota is quite important. The meaning of many words depends upon it as, for instance, ma-ga, a field, and ma-ga, a goose. The principle of accenting seems to be determined from the beginning of the word, not from the’ end. In the case of two thirds, or perhaps three fourths, of all the words in the language, the accent is on the second syllable from the beginning. The greater part of the remainder are accented on the first syllable there are a few cases of polysyllables accented on the penultimate. In words of four or more syllables, a secondary accent follows on the second syllable after the primary. Hence it is not unfavorable to the composition of poetry; but, as almost all words end in a vowel or nasal n. Rhyme can have very little variety. The language is sometimes figurative from necessity and sometimes from choice. In the latter case, their figures are often far fetched. When they ask for an ox in soldier language, they call him a dog and when a chief begs for a horse, he often does it under the figure of moccasins. Their war songs and others seem to have but little of either the Spirit or form of true poetry. A few words make a long song and, in general, their meaning is just the opposite of that naturally conveyed by the words. For example: nam ing a young man who has acted very bravely, killed an en emy and taken his Scalp, they say, you are a fool; you let the Chippewas strike you. And this is understood to be the highest form of eulogy. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.


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