This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (May 2009)
|Native to||United States|
|Extinct||1930s, with the death of Emma Jackson|
Pre-contact distribution of the Biloxi language.
The Biloxi tribe first encountered Europeans in 1699, along the Pascagoula River. By the mid-18th century, they had settled in central Louisiana. Some were also noted in Texas in the early 19th century.
By the early 19th century, their numbers were already dwindling. By 1934, the last native speaker, Emma Jackson, was in her eighties. Morris Swadesh and Mary Haas spoke with her in 1934 and confirmed that she spoke the language.
Multiple possible inventories have been suggested. This article follows that of Einaudi (1976).
Along with contrastive nasalization, Biloxi also has phonemic vowel length.
- May be either open-mid or close-mid.
- Biloxi may have a phonetic schwa, but[clarification needed] Dorsey-Swanton (1912) and Haas (1968) are consistent in marking it.
Dorsey & Swanton (1912) postulated phonemic vowel length, which was verified by Haas and Swadesh in speaking with Emma Jackson in 1934. Their findings appeared in Haas (1968).
Also, there may still be some uncertainty as to whether certain words contain /ą/ or /an/.
|/i/||ide||'it falls'||/į/||įde||'dung, manure'|
|/o/||dohi||'anything rubbed or smeared'||/ǫ/||dǫhi||'he sees'|
|/a/||da||'he gathers'||/ą/||dą||'he holds'|
|Stop||p b1||t d||c (tʃ)||k|
|Fricative||f (ɸ)1||s||š (ʃ)1||x||h|
- Has a marginal status
Biloxi may also have a phonemic aspiration distinction for some segments.
|/t/||ti||'house'||/c/||ci||'they lie down'||/s/||si||'yellow'|
|/d/||de||'he went'||/n/||ne||'he stands'||/y/||yahe||'this'|
Syllable structure is (C)(C)(C)V(C) or (C)V(C)(C). However, clusters of three consonants are rare.
Most words end in a vowel. The others usually end in /k/ or /x/ as a result of deletion: tox from toho "he fell."
Few consonant clusters end syllables. Most exceptions are caused by vowel deletion: tohoxk from tohoxka "horse."
The following consonant clusters are observed:
Geminates do not occur. /n/ sonorants and probably /d/ occur only as the second elements of clusters. /h/ and /m/ are never the second element. Fricatives do not co-occur.
There are a few three-consonant clusters, all of the form C+s+stop or C+x+glide and some with alternate forms:
- pstuki~pastuki 'she sews'
- psdehi~psudehi 'knife' (also spdehi)
- atspąhi 'it adheres' (hadespapahi?)
- kutska~kudeska 'fly'
- ątska 'infant'
- aksteke 'he is stingy'
- apadenska 'butterfly'
- pxwe~pxe 'he punches'
- akutxyi 'letter'
- xoxo kxwehe 'he sits on a swing'
- įkxwe 'always'
- pukxyi 'loop'
- dE 'go'
- andE, yukE 'be'
- yE 'cause'
- E 'say'
- tE '[optative mode marker]'
- dandE '[potential mode marker]'
The alternation depends on the following morpheme:
|||E|| > /a/ /___:||||E|| > /i/ /___:||||E|| > /e/|
Nouns and verbs whose stems end in -Vhi or -Vhį change to -Vx before the plural marker -tu:
- ||anahį + tu|| > /anaxtu/ 'their hair'.
That may occur with duti 'to eat' also:
- ||duti + tu|| > /dutitu/~/duxtu/ 'they eat'.
The rule may optionally also apply in compounds and across word boundaries if the next element starts with CV:
- ||asąhi + nǫpa|| > /asąx nǫpa/ 'both arms'.
Nouns that end in -di and can undergo pluralization change to -x: ||adi + tu|| > /axtu/ 'their father'.
Verbs whose stems end in -Vki, -Vpi, or -si optionally lose their -i before the plural marker:
- ||pastuki + tu|| > /pastuktu/ 'they sew'
- ||duhapi + tu|| > /duhaptu/ 'they pulled it off her head'
- ||dusi + tu|| > /dustu/ 'they grabbed'.
||k(i)|| > x/___k occurs optionally across morpheme or word boundaries.
- ||ay + nk + kiduwe|| > ||yąk + kiduwe|| > /yąxkiduwe/ 'you untie me'
- ||mąki ką|| > /mąx ką/ 'when it was reclining'
- but ||yąk + kinitą + xti|| > /yąkinitą xti/ 'it is too large for me'.
The rule may cause the previous vowel to denasalize.
- ||ay + nk + kica daha|| > ||yąk + kica daha|| > /yaxkica daha/ 'you have not forgotten us'
- ||mąki kide|| > /max kide/ 'he sat until'.
Verbs whose stems end in -ti or -hi may optionally change to -x before the negative mode marker ni:
- ||kohi + ni|| > /kox ni/ 'they were unwilling'.
Stems ending in -si optionally become -s.
- ||nk + Ø + kidusi + ni|| > ||axkidusi + ni|| > /axkidus ni/ 'I did not take it from him'.
The dative marker ki becomes kiy before a vowel.
- ||ki + E + tu|| > /kiyetu/ 'they said to him'.
(However, Einaudi cites one counterexample, ||ki + į|| > /kiį/ 'they were drinking it for him', perhaps with a glottal stop inserted.)
The following rule is optional in compounds and across word boundaries and obligatory everywhere else:
V1V1 > V1
V1V2 > V2
- ||ku + ay + ǫni + ni|| > /kayǫ ni/ 'you do not make it'
- ||tątǫ + ahi|| > /tątahi/ 'panther skin'.
However, there are a few words with two adjacent vowels: naǫ 'day', hauti 'be sick', etc.
Two morphophonemically-identical syllables may not appear contiguously, but the former is dropped.
- ||ku + ku ni|| > /ku ni/ 'she does not give'.
Einaudi finds one counterexample, ||kite + te|| > /kite te/ 'she wanted to hit him'.
C1C1 > C1
- ||ca ha + ay + YE|| > ||ca hay + YE|| > /ca haye/ 'you kill'.
The following rule optionally applies to compounds:
XV#CY > XCY
- ||cake + pocka|| > /cakpocka/ 'hand + round' = 'fist'.
That may lead to otherwise-disallowed clusters, including geminates:
- ||ayapi + pa + są|| > /ayappasa/ 'eagle + head + white' = 'bald eagle'
- ||ndesi + xidi|| > /ndesxidi/ 'snake + chief' = 'rattlesnake'.
The following rule applies to compounds:
Vn#C > V̨#C
- ||dani + hudi|| > ||dan + hudi|| > /dąhudi/ 'eight'.
The following rules are conditioned by person markers on nouns and verbs:
Stems beginning with /h/ and some beginning with /y/ (morphophonemically distinguished as ||Y||) undergo the following (obligatory for h-stems but optional for Y-stems): ||Y, h|| > ∅ / ||nk||___, ||ay||___
- ||nk + Yehǫ + ni|| > /nkehǫni/ 'I know'
- ||nk + hu + di|| > /nkudi/ 'I come from'.
However, that does not apply for y-initial (rather than Y-initial) stems:
- ||nk + yaǫni|| > /nkyaǫni/ 'I sing'.
The following rule applies before roots and the dative marker ki: ||nk|| > /x/ /___k
- ||nk + ku|| > /xku/ 'I come back hither', ||nk + ki + ku|| > /xkiku/ 'I gave him'
||nk|| > /ǫ/ /___n (optionally /m/, /p/)
- ||nk + nąki|| > /ǫnąki/ 'I sit'
- ||nk + pxitu|| > /ǫpxitu/ 'we cheat'
||nk|| > /n/ /___other consonants (optional except before /p/ and for /m/ unless it was covered by the previous rule)
- ||nk + yą ni|| > /nyą ni/ 'I hate him'
- but ||nk + sįto|| > /nksįto/ 'I am a boy'
||nk|| > /nk/ /___V
- ||nk + ǫ|| > /nkǫ/ 'I make'
(optionally) ||ay|| > /aya~ya/ /___k,x
- ||ay + kide|| > /yakide/ 'you go home'
- ||ay + kitupe|| > /ayakitupe/ 'you carry on your shoulder'
||ay|| > /i/ /___C
- ||ay + duti + tu|| > ||ay + duxtu|| > /iduxtu/ 'you pl. eat'
||ay|| > /ay~y~iy/ /___V
- ||ay + įsihi + xti|| > /ayįsihi xti/ 'you fear greatly'
- ||ay + andE hi ni|| > /yanda hi ni/ 'you shall be so'
- ||ay + E|| > /iye/ 'you say'.
The use of different allomorphs in free variation is attested for some verbs.
The next four rules combine personal affixes and so apply only to verbs: ||nk + ay|| > /į/ /___C
- ||nk + ay + naxtE|| > /įnaxte/ 'I kick you'
||nk + ay|| > /ny/ /___V
- ||nk + ay + įdahi|| > /nyįdahi/ 'I seek you'
||nk + ∅|| > /ax/ /___k
- ||nk + Ø + kte|| > /axkte/ 'I hit him'
||ay + nk|| > /yąk/ (which may undergo further changes as described above)
- ||ay + nk + dusi|| > /yandusi/ 'you take me'
The subjunctive mode marker ||xo|| undergoes the following rule: ||xo|| > /xyo/ / i___ / į___
- ||ǫ nani xyo|| 'she must have done it'
The habitual mode marker ||xa|| optionally undergoes the following rule: ||xa|| > /xya/ / Vf___
- ||ande xa|| > /ande xya/ 'she is always so'
- but ||nkaduti te xa|| > /nkaduti te xa/ 'I am still hungry'
The auxiliary ande undergoes the following rule: ||ande|| > /ant/ / ___k
- ||nkande kąca|| > /nkant kąca/ 'I was, but'
The three word classes in Biloxi are verbs, substantives (nouns and pronouns), and particles. Only first two take affixes.
Verbs are always marked for person and number and may also take dative, reciprocal, reflexive, and/or instrumental markers as well as mode markers, the object specifier, and auxiliaries. They are at or immediately before the end of clauses.
All nominal affixes may also be used with verbs, but nouns use a subset of the verbal affixes. They may not use dative, reciprocal, reflexive, or instrumental markers or mode markers or auxiliaries.
Particles serve many functions, including noun phrase marking and acting as adverbials.
Nouns may be inflectable or, as most are, non-inflectable.
The former group inflects for person and number. It contains names of body parts and kin terms, which must inflect, and a few other personal possessions, with option inflection. The person markers are nk- for the first person, ay- second person, and Ø- for the third person.
They may be pluralized with the marker -tu. The noun's number itself is not marked explicitly.
Examples of inflected nouns are below:
- dodi 'throat'
- ndodi 'my throat'
- idodi 'your throat'
- doxtu 'their throats'
- adi 'father'
- iyadi 'your father'
- nkaxtu 'our father'
Here are examples of optionally-inflected nouns:
- ti~ati 'house'
- nkti/nkati 'my house'
- doxpe 'shirt'
- idoxpe 'your shirt'
Personal pronouns are formed by inflecting the root indi for person and number. (It may once also have been done by the demonstratives he and de.) Pronouns are always optional, and are emphasis. Singular pronouns may occur as either the subject or the object, but the plurals are always subjects (see -daha).
|nkindi 'I'||nkįxtu 'we'|
|ayindi 'you'||ayįxtu 'you all'|
|indi1 'he, she, it'||įxtu2 'they'|
- In free variation with ind and int before /h/
- In free variation with įxt before /h/
Biloxi has two common demonstratives: de 'this' and he 'that'. They may be marked for plurality as denani and henani, but that is very rare since they are used if plurality is unmarked elsewhere, and it is marked on the verb in noun phrases with classificatory verbs:
- ąya atąhį amą de 'these running men'
Verbs inflect for person (1st, 2nd, 3rd), number (singular vs. plural), and mode (many possibilities, including some less-well understood mode markers).
Morphemes within verbs have the following order:
- Very occasionally an enclitic will proceed -tu, e.g. supi xti tu 'they are very black'.
Verbs may either be classificatory or normal. Classificatory verbs specify the subject's position (sitting, standing, etc.) and differ from normal verbs in that the first person is not inflected for person.
Inflection for person and number is identical to inflected nouns:
- nk- 1st person
- ay- 2nd person
- Ø- 3rd person
- -tu pluralizes referent of prefix (not used for inanimate subjects)
Because of the rules determining the surface manifestations of some combinations of person markers, 2nd person on 1st and 3rd person on 1st forms are identical, e.g. yaxtedi 'you hit me, he hit me'. Also, 2nd person subj., 2nd person on 3rd, and 3rd person on 2nd are identical, e.g. idǫhi 'you see, you see him, they see you'.
-tu marks animate plurality (except with some motion verbs).
- įkcatu ni 'we have not forgotten you'
- nkyehǫtu ni 'we did not know'
However, -tu is not used:
- In the presence of the plural auxiliary yuke 'are':
- dǫhi yuke 'they were looking at it'
- When the sentence has already been marked as plural:
- aditu ką, hidedi nedi 'they climbed up, and were falling continually'
- If it is followed by a plural motion verb:
- dą kahi hą 'they took it and were returning'
Some (but not all) verbs of motion mark plurality with the prefix a- inserted directly before the root:
- de 'he goes'
- nkade 'we go', ayade 'you (pl.) go', ade 'they go'
- kide 'he goes homeward'
- xkade 'we go homeward'
But there are counterexamples (even ones derived from the same roots):
- kade 'he goes thither'
- xkadetu 'we go thither', ikadetu 'you (pl.) go thither'
daha marks plural objects when they are not specified elsewhere. It comes after -tu and before all mode markers.
- de ya daha 'he sent them'
- yacǫ daha ǫni 'she named them (in the past)'
There are two examples of daha being reduced to ha:
- įkte ha dande 'I will kick you (pl.)'
- nyiku ha dande 'I will give it to you (pl.)'
a- may be added to some verb roots to mark an unspecified indefinite object:
- ki 'carry on back'
- nkaki 'I carried something on my back'
- da 'gather'
- nkada 'I gather things'
There are many mode markers in Biloxi. Some are common and well understood, while others are infrequent and have elusive meanings.
|Declarative mode||na, male speaker
ni, female speaker
||Usage is optional:
|Interrogative mode||wo, male speaker
∅, female speaker
|always last (never appears with declarative)||
||It is unclear what sort of intonation accompanied the interrogative.|
|Hortatory mode||hi||na (or wo)||
||Almost always appears before declarative na/ni, but there's one example of it before wo:
Also, it may appear on its own in embedded sentence:
||te almost always follows -tu, but there is a counter-example:
|Subjunctive mode||xo~xyo2||always last||
||Semantic force is in question. Involves potentiality and contingency ('... if/provided').
nani 'can' may appear before 'xyo', lending it the meaning 'must' or 'must have':
|Habitual mode||xya~xa3||Everything except...||... na/ni||
||Habitual and declarative combined are sometimes glossed as 'can':
||It's unclear when ku is needed. It is used for stems ending in -ni and with the feminine declarative marker ni4.
The negative form of the verb duti 'eat' is kdux ni 'he did not eat', and not the expected kudux ni.
|Imperative mode||Positive||ta, male speaker to male addressee
di, male speaker to female addressee
te, female speaker to male addressee
∅, probably used to address children, possibly also female speaker to female addressee
xye na, first person plural
|stem (+ number marker)||
||The plural marker -tu (or a-) is used for plural addressees, and person markers mark objects (except for 2nd person negative imperative).
There is one example of the person marker omitted from the (ku)...ni imperative:
|Negative||na5; second person strong negative
(ku)...ni (the regular indicative form)
|Rare||hi ko5; "deferential"
dki~tki6 (possibly for female addressees)
|hi ko: same as hi (potential mode marker)||
||Meaning somewhat uncertain due to limited data.
Appears adjacent to na/ni like hi, but unlike it is does this even in embedded sentences.
|Strong declarative mode||xye, masc speaker
xe, female speaker
|xye: follows dande||xe: precedes xo||
||Stronger semantic force than na/ni.
xye/xe may be followed by xo, but it's unclear whether this lends additional meaning:
||Most often used with a declarative marker.|
||It is unclear exactly how wa differs from xti (see below). It is possible that xti means 'very' while wa means 'so'.
wa sometimes may be glossed as 'always'.
||Emphasizes that the event occurred in the past.
ǫ often is followed by xa, which may be glossed either as the expected 'regularly in the past', or 'in the remote past':
|Superlative mode||xti||occurs immediately after whatever is being intensified||
||xti may be used with adverbs:
- With morphophonemic ||E||, see above
- ||xo|| > ||xyo|| / i___ / į___ (see above)
- ||xa|| > ||xya|| / Vf___ optionally (see above)
- because ||ni + ni|| > /ni/, see above
- requires person marker
- Stems ending in -di lose -i and gain -ki, others just gain tki
Nouns may be derived either through nominalizing verbs or by compounding.
Verbs are nominalized via the prefix a-:
- sǫ 'sharp at all ends'
- asǫ 'briar'
- duti 'eat'
- aduti 'food'
Compound nouns may either be formed by combining two nouns or a noun and a verb. (Some morphophonemic rules are involved, see above.)
noun + noun:
- ||cindi + aho|| > /cindaho/ 'hip + bone' = 'hip bone'
- ||peti + ti|| > /petiti/ 'fire + house' = 'fireplace'
noun + verb:
- ||sǫpxi + ǫni|| > /sǫpxǫni/ 'flour + make' = 'wheat'
- ||ąyadi + ade|| > /ąyadiade/ 'people + talk' = 'language'
For the personal pronoun indi, see above. įkowa may be used as a reflexive pronoun. It is possible that both of these, and perhaps the reflexive pronoun -įxki- (see below) are derived from a root in.
A number of interrogatives come from the prefix ca- (with vowel elision following morphophonemic rules):
- cak~caką 'where?'
- cane 'where (stands)?'
- canaska 'how long?'
- cehedą 'how high, tall, deep?'
- cidike 'which, how, why?'
- cina~cinani 'how many'
Some are derived from pronouns:
- kawa 'something, anything'
- kawak 'what?'
- cina 'a few, many'
- cinani 'how many?'
Verbal derivation may occur by root derivation (reduplication and compounding) or stem derivation (thematic prefixes, dative markers, reciprocals, reflexives, and instrumentals.)
Reduplication, common in Biloxi, is used for intensification or distributiveness. Usually, the first CVC of the root is reduplicated but sometimes it is only the first CV:
- cakcake 'he hung up a lot'
- cake 'hang up on a nail or post'
- tixtixye '(his heart) was beating'
- tix 'beat'
- xoxoki 'he broke it here and there'
- xoki 'break'
- ǫnacpicpi 'my feet are slipping'
- cpi 'slip'
Verbal compounds may be noun + verb or verb + verb.
It seems that most noun-verb compounds are formed by using the verb ǫ 'do, make':
- ||ką + k + ǫ|| > /kąkǫ/ 'string + make' = 'trap'
- ||cikide + ǫ|| > /cidikǫ/ 'which = do' = 'which to do (how)'
- ||ta + o|| > /tao/ 'deer + shoot' = 'shoot deer'
Examples of verb-verb compounds:
- hane + o /haneotu/ 'they find and shoot'
- kte + ǫ /įkteǫni/ 'with + hit + do' = 'to hit with'
Some of the above compounds end up having adjacent vowels, since syncope in compounds is optional.
Thematic prefixes come after person markers and before dative markers and instrumentals.
|directional indicator: 'there, on'||
|į-||instrumental prefix, 'with'||
|u-||'within a given area'||
Dative, reciprocal, and reflexive markersEdit
The dative marker ki- (kiy- before vowels) is used after thematic prefixes.
- kiyetu 'they said to him'
- kidǫhi ye daha 'he showed it to them'
It is peculiar in that it may be used if someone else's body parts are the direct object (the "dative of possession").
- kiduxtą 'they pulled his [tail]'
- kidǫhi '[they] saw his [shadow]'
- kidǫhi 'she looked at her [head]'
It appears as kik- before ǫ 'do, make' and gives it a benefactive gloss (kikǫ daha 'he made for them'). (It should not be mistaken for kiki-.)
The reduplicated kiki- marks reciprocity. The plural marker -tu is then optional.
- kikiyohǫ 'they were calling to one another'
- kikidǫhi 'they were looking at one another'
įxki- (or ixki-, perhaps because of the denasalizing morphopohnemic rule above) marks reflexives. It normally comes immediately after person markers, but in some third-person cases, ki- may come before it:
- įxkiyadu ye ande 'he was wrapping it around himself'
- kixkidicatu 'they wash themselves'
Instrumentals serve to mark how the event was carried out and immediately precede the root.
|da-||'with the mouth or teeth'||
|du-||'with the hand(s), claws, etc.'||
|duk(u)-||'by hitting or punching'||
|na-||'with the foot'||
|pu2||'pushing or punching'||
|di2||'by rubbing or pressing between the hands'||
- Einaudi speculates that V1V2 is not removed because of possible ambiguity.
- Only traces of the prefixes remain.
Adverbs may be derived from connectives, pronouns, and verbs and particles via a number of affixes:
|e-||'and (?), the aforesaid (?)'||
There are various instances of derived connectives:
- e- 'and (?), the aforesaid (?)'
- ehą ||e + hą|| 'and then'
- eką ||e + ką|| 'and then'
- eke ||e + ke||(?) 'and so'
- eke 'so' (probably derived itself, see above)
- ekedi ||eke + di|| 'that is why'
- ekehą ||eke + hą|| 'and then'
- ekeką ||eke + ką|| 'and then'
- ekeko ||eke + ko|| 'well'
- ekeǫnidi ||eke + ǫni + di|| 'therefore'
Derived numbers contain predictable vowel syncope (see above).
- may be derived from ||nǫpa + ahudi|| 'two + bones' and ||dani + ahudi|| 'three + bones'
11-19 are derived via the formula 'X sitting on Y' ('Y Xaxehe').
|ohi sǫsaxehe||'eleven' (='one sitting on ten')|
|ohi nąpahu axehe||'seventeen'|
|ohi dąxu axehe||'eighteen'|
20-99 are derived via the formula 'X sitting on Y Zs' ('Z Y Xaxehe')
|ohi nǫpa||'twenty' (='two tens')|
|ohi nǫpa sǫsaxehe||'21' (='one sitting on two tens')|
|ohi dani sǫsaxehe||'31', etc.|
|tsipa sǫsaxehe||'101' (='one sitting on 100'), etc.|
|tsipa ohi sǫsaxehe||'111', etc.|
|tsipįciyą||'1000' ('old man hundred')|
- shows up twice as kįkįke
Ordinal numerals (1st, 2nd, 3rd) are not attested. To express 'once', 'twice', 'three times', etc.', use the verb de 'to go' before cardinal numbers:
- de sǫsa 'once'
- de nǫpa 'twice'
- de dani 'three times'
- de topa 'four times'
- de ksani 'five times'
To form multiplicatives, use akipta 'to double' before cardinal numbers:
- akipta nǫpa 'twofold'
- akipta dani 'threefold'
- akipta topa 'fourfold'
- akipta ohi 'tenfold'
- akipta tsipa 'one hundredfold'
The three types of phrases are:
- interjectory phrases: I with pauses before and after it
- tenaxi 'Oh friend!'
- postpositional phrase: pp N (yą)/(de) (see below)
- doxpe itka 'inside a coat'
- noun phrase: any S or O (see below)
- ayek ita 'your corn'
Interjections may be:
- aci 'o no!'
- he he 'hello!'
- nu: 'help!'
- ux 'pshaw!'
- a: a: 'caw'
- pes pes 'cry of the tiny frog'
- taǫ 'cry of the squealer duck'
- tį 'cry of the sapsucker'
Vocatives are almost always unmarked:
- kǫkǫ 'O grandmother!'
- kǫni 'O mother!'
- cidikuna 'Oh Cidikuna!'
There are only three exceptions:
- tata 'Oh father!' (suppletive – the regular stem meaning 'father' is adi)
- nyąxohi 'Oh wife!' (literally 'my old lady')
- nyąįcya 'Oh husband!' (literally 'my old man')
Adverbials most often appear directly before the verb, but they may also act as subjects and object. They may not follow verbs or precede connectives in sentence-initial position.
Adverbials may be:
- tohanak 'yesterday'
- emą 'right there'
- eyą 'there'
- kiya 'again'
- yąxa 'almost'
(Also, see "adverbs", above.)
- skakanadi ewitexti eyąhį yuhi 'the Ancient of Opossums thought he would reach there very early in the morning'
- ekeką kiya dedi 'and then he went again'
- ndao ku di 'come back here!' (male to female)
- tohanak wahu 'yesterday it snowed'
(For vowel elision, see above.)
|yehi~yehi ką~yehi yą||'close to'||
|ndosąhį||'on this side of'||
|tawi||'on, on top of'||
- may have a base form yaski
- less occurrences than kuya~okaya
- eu here, an unexpected diphthong, is shortened ewa 'there'
Almost all of the above allow following de or yą. de has the expected meaning 'here' or 'this', while yą may be glossed 'the' or 'yonder'.
Prepositions are sometimes used without modifying a noun, becoming adverbial:
- sąhį yą kiya nkǫ 'I do it again on the other side'
- itka yą ustki 'to stand a tall object on something'
- kuya kedi 'to dig under, undermine'
- de nǫpa 'twice'
- de dani 'three times'
- de topa 'four times'
- derived from cina
- cak and caką appear to be in free variation
- occurs indicatively a few times, e.g. anahįk cinani kiduwe 'he untied some hair for her'
Subjects and ObjectsEdit
Subjects and objects are formed almost identically, save for the fact that the nominal particle ką may only be used after objects.
A subject or object must include a simple noun (N), and may optionally also include a verb (V), nominal particle (np), and/or demonstrative pronoun (dp), in that order.
If the noun is a personal pronoun, it may only (optionally) be followed by either a demonstrative pronoun or a nominal particle, but not both. For other pronouns (e.g. de 'this'), they may not be followed by anythihng.
- ąya xohi 'the old woman'
- ąya di 'the person'
- ąya de 'these people'
N V np
- ąya xohi yą 'the old woman'
N V dp
- ąya nǫpa amąkide 'these two men'
N np dp
- ǫti yą he 'the bear, too'
N V np dp
- ąya sahi yą he 'the Indian, too'
Possession in S's and O's is expressed by the possessor followed by the possessed, followed by np's.
- ąya anahį ką 'people's hair' (obj.)
- ąya tik 'the man's house'
Two subjects may be juxtaposed with reciprocal verbs:
- cetkana ǫti kitenaxtu xa 'the rabbit and the bear were friends to one another'
Additives may be expressed by juxtaposition followed by the np yą, but this is not used often due to ambiguity (it might be interpreted as a possessive phrase):
- tohoxk wak yą ndǫhǫ 'I saw a horse and a cow'
- ąyato ąxti yą hamaki 'a man and a woman were coming'
Alternatives are expressed with juxtaposition followed by the particle ha (not otherwise an np):
- sįto sąki ha hanǫ 'is that a boy or a girl?'
- tohoxk waka ha hanǫ 'is that a horse or a cow?'
Nominal particles (np)Edit
Biloxi has many nominal particles, and for the most part their function is unclear.
A non-exhaustive list:
For the most part it's unclear what conditions the use of a particular np (or ∅), but the following can be said:
- ką, -k, yąk, yąką are only used with objects
- yandi almost always is used with human nouns (with exception)
- ko is used when the noun is a pronoun, when the main verb is stative, or when there is an interrogative present
Simple verbs (not causatives or expanded verbs, see below) must contain a person marker, root, and number marker, and optionally the following:
- thematic prefixes
- reciprocals, dative markers, reflexives
- instrumental markers
- mode markers
- object markers
Biloxi contains a defective auxiliary verb (h)andE/yukE (ande is used in singular, yuke for plural). By itself it may mean 'to be' or 'to stay', but with another verb it lends durativity. The plural marker -tu is not used with yuke since the defective form itself already serves to mark number.
When the auxiliary construction is used, both the main verb and the auxiliary are inflected.
- de ande 'he was departing'
- iduti yayuke 'you (pl.) are eating'
Generally to express the negative the stem is negated, rather than the auxiliary:
- kox ni yuke di 'they were unwilling'
- kukuhi ni yuke 'they could not raise (it)'
Biloxi contains five classificatory verbs, which indicate duration and position of the subject: (See above for morphophonemic explanation of ||mąki|| > /max/.)
- nąki 'sitting'
- kak ayǫk yąhi inąki wo 'what have you suffered that causes you to sit and cry?'
- pa kidǫhi nąki 'she sat looking at her head'
- mąki 'reclining', 'in a horizontal position'
- įdahi ye daha max 'he continually sent for them'
- naxe ąki 'he listened (reclining)'
- plural form: mąxtu~amąki
- dǫhi amąx ką 'while they were looking at him'
- akikahį mąktu 'they were telling news to one another'
- ne 'upright'
- ta duxke ne ką 'he stood slaying the deer'
- kawak iye inedi wo 'what were you saying as you stood?'
- plural form: ne
- ade ne di 'they were moving'
- hine 'walking'
- ąya ni hine ayehǫ ni 'do you know the walking man?'
- tohoxkk ni hine ko toxka xe 'the walking horse is gray' (fem.)
- ande 'running'
- mani ande yą 'the (running) wild turkey'
- ąya tąhį yande ayehǫ ni 'do you know the running man?'
They may be used alone as verbs (kuhik mąx ką 'when it was lying high') but often reinforce synonymous roots:
- xe nąki 'she is sitting (sitting)'
- tox mąki 'he was lying (lying)'
- sįhįx ne 'it was standing (standing)'
- ąya ni hine ayehǫ ni 'do you know the walking (walking) man?'
- ąya tąhį yande ayehǫ ni 'do you know the running (running) man?'
They are used mostly with animates.
Classificatory verbs are only inflected for 2nd person (not 1st) when used as auxiliaries.
hamaki~amaki is used as the plural form for all five classificatory verbs (even optionally for mąki and ne, which have their own plural forms mąxtu~amąki and ne):
- ąksiyǫ yamaki wo 'are you all making arrows?'
- ca hanke te nkamaki na 'we wish to kill them' (masc.)
- ąya nǫpa ci hamaki nkehǫ ni 'I know the two reclining men'
- ąya nǫpa ni hamaki nkehǫ ni 'I know the two walking men'
- ąya xaxaxa hamaki ayehǫ ni 'do you know all the standing men?'
The causative verb ||YE|| comes after (uninflected) stems to form a causative construction. In first and second person ha (sometimes h if followed by a vowel, see 3.1 above) is inserted between the stem and ||YE||.
- axehe hanke nąki na 'I have stuck it in (as I sit)' (masc.)
- ca hiyetu 'you kill them all'
- te ye 'he killed her'
Serial verb constructions occur with two or three verbs in sequence. All are of the same person and number, but only the final stem has suffixes:
- nkǫ įkte xo 'I do it, I will hit you if...'
- hane dusi duxke 'he found her, took her, and skinned her'
Connectives may be co-ordinating or subordinating:
|hąca||'but, and subsequently'||
|ekedį||'that is why'|
All subordinating connectives end the clause. ką is the most common by far and may be related to the np ką.
|de hed hą||[marks previous verb as past perfect, lit. 'this finished and']||
|dixyą||'whenever, when, if'||
|kne||'just as, as soon as'|
|ko||'when, as, since'|
Clauses may end no more than one clause final connective. Subordinating connectives are used to create dependent clauses.
In clauses, the following order generally holds:
(Connective) (Subject) (Object) (Adverb) Verb (Connective)
There are occasional examples of S and/or O occurring after the verb, always with animates. O rarely precedes S, possibly for emphasis.
Direct objects always precede indirect objects: ąya xi yandi ąxti yą int ką ku 'the chief gave him the woman'.
Full sentences always end in independent clauses. Embedded sentences are not usually marked, but the horatory marker hi can be used if the embedded action has not yet occurred, and ni can be used if the action was not performed. wo (or wi) is used for mistaken ideas.
Inline citations and notesEdit
- Kaufman 2011b
- Dorsey & Swanton 1912
- "Biloxi Tribe: Louisiana, Mississippi, Native American" Access Genealogy. February 22, 2009, updated July 26, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
- Einaudi 1976, pp. 1–3.
- Dalby 2003, p. 224.
- Ameka 2006, pp. 537–540.
- Einaudi 1976, p.136
- Einaudi 1976, p.136
- Einaudi 1976, p.25
- But see Einaudi 1976, p. 154, where atamini wa kande ni 'he is not always working' and nkatamini wa nkande ni 'I am not always working' occur, perhaps to avoid ambiguity due to the rule ||ni + ni|| > /ni/
- Unknown whether this inflects the same way as other classificatory verbs in 2nd person. (Einaudi 1976, p.156)
- C.f. ani yįki nax ką eyįhį 'they reached the small (sitting) stream', ayą ade mąki 'the wood lies burning' (Einaudi 1976, p.155)
- Einaudi 1976, p. 173.
- Ameka, Felix K.; Alan Charles Dench; Nicholas Evans (2006). Catching language: the standing challenge of grammar writing. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 662. ISBN 3-11-018603-9.
- Dalby, Andrew (2003). Language in danger: the loss of linguistic diversity and the threat to our future. Columbia University Press. pp. 328. ISBN 0-231-12900-9.
- Dorsey, James; John Swanton (1912). A dictionary of the Biloxi and Ofo languages. Government Printing Office. pp. 340.
- Einaudi, Paula (1976). A Grammar of Biloxi. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. p. 184. ISBN 0-8240-1965-2.
- Haas, Mary (1968). "The Last Words of Biloxi". International Journal of American Linguistics. 34 (2): 77–84. doi:10.1086/465000. S2CID 144269688.
- Kaufman, David (2011). Tanêks-Tąyosą Kadakathi: Biloxi-English Dictionary. University of Kansas. p. 195. ISBN 978-1-936153-08-4.