Kačihé:tyeh minus the birds

So, I was looking though the English-Tuscarora potion of Blair A. Rudes’ dictionary the other day (like any normal college student) and I noticed the descriptive language used in the dictionary and found some terms that seem oddly current (if that makes any sense). Let’s see A,B,C, ok diabetes, dinosaur, dishwater, all here! E, F, genitals (female), H, I, J, K, liberal, monopolize, N, O, potter, Q, R, sex with spouse, have, sovereignty, twitter, U, V, W, yawn, and Z.

In the introduction of the dictionary, Rudes has a nice table that explains when Tuscarora language research had been documented, the researchers who collected the material and the speakers that provided the material. The list dates back to the work of John Lawson in 1700 and continues through it publication in 1999. This time frame leaves a lot of room for language adaptation and the creation of necessary words. From the words that I have pulled out of the dictionary, it is obvious that some of these words have changed or multiplied in their meanings in the society in which we are immersed today.

For example, at the time the noun potter was used in the dictionary, they were probably referring to a person who made pots,

and not the boy-wonder with whom we are all familiar!

I found it to be quite interesting that sovereignty was included in the dictionary, but I am even more curious as to when it was added to the list? I mean if it was added right before publishing in 1999 sovereignty at Tuscarora would have had a different meaning than if it had come from a previous word list.

I almost laughed when I came across the word twitter because I had been talking about this with a professor at dinner. Many indigenous communities are creating new phrases and words to represent the items that we use today, that our languages do not really have specific roots for. These words can cover objects like ipods, cell phones, computers, e-mail, and many other examples. The creation of these new words require cleverness to the language while maintaining concise ideas that young people will be willing to say in every other sentence. I find it to be quite intriguing that the Tuscarora dictionary is already equip with a word that can name one of the most popular networking sites of the 21st century, twitter.

Although the Tuscarora term of twitter refers to the sounds of birds, the English term of twitter also means that! With that said, Kačihé:tyeh, which means they twitter should be welcomed in the the Tuscarora twitter community with open arms! Well, I guess there is only one thing left to do since the term already exists in Tuscarora, #tweetaboutit!


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