The word Sioux

The word Sioux

Postby GnaskaGleska1 » January 16th, 2017, 3:22 am

I would like to clarify something that has always been assumed about the origin of the word Sioux. Everywhere it is discussed about, it is said that it comes from Nadowessiwak, a term by which the Ojibway used to call the Lakota. Then the French shortened it into Nadowessi before becoming Sioux. This I won't contest, but as a French person, and retired French teacher at that, what is incorrect is that you'll read also the way the French pluralize a word is by adding -oux at the end of it. I don't know where this originated, but I can tell you this is wrong. To pluralize a noun in French is by adding an S at the end, just like in English or in Spanish. We do have a few nouns, 7 to be precise, whose singular form ends in -ou, and to which you add an X instead of a S to make the plural. Seven words only! So, with Sioux that would make 8. And why not! The Sioux would become the 8th entry of the list of this exceptional plural form which involved the following words : bijou (íŋyaŋ othéȟika), caillou (íŋyaŋ), chou (waȟpéyutapi), genou (čhaŋkpé), hibou (hiŋháŋ), joujou (wíškate) and pou (héya)! I have no problem with that.
But although I know this is not a discussion about French, and you probably don't care about knowing details of my language, it just bothers me to know that each time someone is looking up the origin of the word Sioux, he/she is given a wrong information.
Waŋná oyás'iŋ slolyáyepi.
Last edited by GnaskaGleska1 on August 16th, 2017, 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The word Sioux

Postby bdcrowell » August 16th, 2017, 8:53 am

Interesting. Thanks for the info.
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Re: The word Sioux

Postby NancyD » August 16th, 2017, 4:03 pm

GnaskaGleska1 wrote:I would like to clarify something that has always been assumed about the origin of the word Sioux. Everywhere it is discussed about, it is said that it comes from Nadowessiwak, a term by which the Ojibway used to call the Lakota. Then the French shortened it into Nadowessi before becoming Sioux. This I won't contest, but as a French person, and retired French teacher at that, what is incorrect is that you'll read also the way the French pluralize a word is by adding -oux at the end of it. I don't know where this originated, but I can tell you this is wrong. To pluralize a noun in French is by adding an S at the end, just like in English or in Spanish. We do have a few nouns, 7 to be precise, whose singular form ends in -ou, and to which you add an X instead of a S to make the plural. Seven words only! So, with Sioux that would make 8. And why not! The Sioux would become the 8th entry of the list of this exceptional plural form which involved the following words : bijou (íŋyaŋ othéȟika), caillou (íŋyaŋ), chou (waȟpéyutapi), genou (čhaŋkpé), hibou (hiŋháŋ), joujou (wíškate) and pou (héya)! I have no problem with that.
But although I know this is not a discussion about French, and you probably don't care about knowing details of my language, it just bothers me to know that each time someone is looking up the origin of the word Sioux, he/she is given a wrong information.
Waŋná oyás'iŋ slolyáyepi.


Hi Caroline,
Thank you for the information. :rose: I took Parisian French in high school many years ago.
Some of the students in my class were fluent in French-Canadian and I remember an interesting discussion that took place in class
about the difference between the Parisian and Canadian French.
I did some research on the net and found this:
"For example, what is the plural of the word "gâteau". It is "gâteaux", right? But what is the plural of "pneu"? It is "pneus"!

It turned out, there are four exceptions:

Sarrau = sarraus
Landau = landaus
Bleu = bleus
Pneu = pneus

All other words ending with -au or -eu have plurals ending with -aux and -eux. But this is not all. What is the plural of "clou"? It is "clous". But the plural of "chou" is "choux"! There are seven exceptions of the plurals of the words ending in -ou. Normally, all such words have plurals ending in -ous, but these seven exceptions take irregular plurals -oux:

Bijou = bijoux
Caillou = cailloux
Chou = choux
Genou = genoux
Hibou = hiboux
Joujou = joujoux
Pou = poux "


I'm wondering if the French trappers spoke Canadian-French, thus the difference. What do you think? :rose:

Nancy
Tȟuŋkášilayapi tȟawápaha kiŋháŋ owíhaŋkešniyaŋ hé nážiŋ kte kštó.
“I helped the Lakota language by donating to the audio dictionary project. Can you help too?”
Donation Confirmation # is 841269.
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Re: The word Sioux

Postby GnaskaGleska1 » August 17th, 2017, 12:33 am

Hello Nancy

First, thank you for taking interest in this post. I made it exclusively about the plural of words ending in -ou. I didn't want to go into the specifics of French pluralization because this discussion is not relevant to this forum.
But of course, there are variations of pluralization with words ending in -au and -eu, which are very few by the way, and take either an S or an X. Words ending in -eau always take an X. The plural of words ending in -al and -ail becomes either -als, -ails or -aux.

I really don't want to get into a French grammar course here, but I can tell you that the only difference between Canadian French and Parisian French will be on vocabulary, not on grammar. So, same rules apply on either side of the Atlantic.
You just have to learn by heart which word takes an S or an X at its plural form.
At the time, the French Canadian trappers spoke French as it was spoken in France, but with time the language evolved somewhat differently in both places, particularly the vocabulary like I said, and the accent especially.

In the case of the word Sioux - and here I have to contradict myself about what I propose in my post - it definitely could not be added to the seven -ou word list, because actually we write "un Sioux" (= a Sioux / one Sioux), not "un Siou". So that makes it a word already ending with a X at its singular form. Therefore it cannot be part of that list as an 8th entry!

I hope this answers your question, Nancy. :rose:

To the rest of you, sorry for the off topic comment. I will bomb myself for that! :bomb:
Caroline
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Re: The word Sioux

Postby NancyD » August 17th, 2017, 10:46 am

Thank you for your reply and explanation Caroline. :rose:

Nancy
Tȟuŋkášilayapi tȟawápaha kiŋháŋ owíhaŋkešniyaŋ hé nážiŋ kte kštó.
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Donation Confirmation # is 841269.
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