On Sun, 8 Jun 1997 06:24:23 -0400 Susan Harris <[log in to unmask]>
>I think the legend of Madoc is credible, or at least not incredible.
>group might not have remained intact and distinct, but may well have
>assimilated into a native american tribe. That would easily account
>occasional language and cultural similarites between Welsh and Mandan.
>Don't you think?
>I'm new to this list. Please bear with me :)
Welcome. As I said to Marc, we NEVER take off anyone's head...yell at
them, maybe, but...[:>)>
A cautionary tale, if you will. I once heard Maria Von Trapp, the real
one - not Julie Andrews, speak on radio or TV about coming to America.
One of the problems she ran into was the fact that a. English is a
Germanic language and b. words that sound the same...aren't necessarily.
She was shopping for cabbage and was in the second shop she'd visited.
When she was told the price of the cabbage, she said, "Behold your
cabbage! I am becoming cabbage at the store around the corner."
What she meant to say was "Keep [beibehalten] your cabbage. I am getting
[bekommen] cabbage...etc." Winston Churchill once said that the English
and the Americans were one people separated by a common language...how
much more so between English and German where the split came long ago?
And British English and American English are drifting. I mean, if
someone offered to "knock you up" in the morning, you'd probably slap
his face...but to an Englishman that just means to "call for you", to
knock on your door.
Just a couple minutes with an Irish Dictionary and a Dakota Dictionary
gives me the following two similarities: Dakota - Maga = a cultivated
spot, garden, field / Irish - Macha = cattle-field, yard...Dakota - koza
= brandish, as a sword / Irish - cosain = defend. There is absolutely no
relationship between Irish, an Indo-European language, and Dakota, a
Hokan-Siouan language...but if I had the time, and inclination, I would
suppose I could find more, perhaps even better fits between them.
The problem is, it proves nothing...even if the words were identical.
I'll give you an example that happened to me in the Philippines where I
was a Marine guard at the former Subic Bay Naval Base. One of the guys
in my outfit was a Mexican-American by the name of Manuel Bustos. One
morning I was on the Main Gate checking in Philippine nationals who
worked on the base. I had just bid a little elderly lady [Hell...I'm
probably older now than she was then, but...] good morning in
Tagalog..."Magandan oomaga, magandan talaga [Won't guarantee the
spelling of that.]" - "Good morning, beautiful lady." and she was
"tee-hee"ing away when Manny walked out the door.
"Hey...Bustos!", I called.
The little elderly lady turned around, incensed, and began, in rapid-fire
Tagalog, to tell me...well, nothing nice...because "bustos"...or a word
near enough to be identical...was/is an extremely bad cuss word in
Tagalog. It was only after we showed her Manny's ID that she calmed
down...and called him "Pobrecito" - Poor Little One. To this day I have
no idea what the Tagalog word means, just not to say it around Filipinos
One final example of confusing the sounds of words. A friend of mine, a
Lakota who heads a Native American Center, once objected strenuously to
the use of the word Indigenous...believed it was rooted in Indigent and
was there some sort of an insult to Indian people, calling them beggars
or bums. I took a dictionary and pointed out that the Latin root for
Indigent means needy, whereas the Latin root for Indigenous meant "in
country" or native. I think he was still a bit unconvinced.
All of this as a way of saying that absent any other proof, the odd
similarity in language or custom is just that, a similarity, not a proof
of outside influence. Now...it's those similarities I find interesting.
And if someone ever comes up with "smoking gun" proof that the
similarities are more that similar responses to similar
circumstances...hey, I'm a believer that folks moved around more than we
know in the long ago. But, until they do...
Which doesn't mean that the Mandan aren't an interesting group despite
probably not being Welsh.
Now...if all of this leaves you saying "Yeah, but...", then say "Yeah,
but..." and fill in the blank and fire back...that's how, if knowledge
is really our goal, we learn things...both of us.
Le meas agus beannachta