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The Name Sepockatee

Q: I am not a Native American of any sort but have developed an affinity for the various cultures as I've gotten older. My mother tells me that when I was little, I had two "imaginary friends" called "West Wind" and (I'm spelling this phonetically) Sepockatee. These sound like fairly complicated word structures for a little kid to come up with, and I've started to wonder if this might have been an effect of some little kids being more in touch with the spirit world than adults are. The structure of "Sepockatee" sounds a little like the phonemes of some Native languages I've been looking at, and I know the various winds figure into some Native cultures. Anyway, I thought I'd just take a shot and ask if these names sound like anything, even a legendary or folk figure, you've ever heard of? Thanks a lot -- I know this is an odd question!

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A: I'm sorry, but it doesn't look familiar to any of us here. Personally speaking, I think it would be a bit odd for spirits to speak to a child in a language she didn't understand--there were hundreds of different Native American languages, for example, and there aren't any stories of the spirits speaking to Crow people in Cherokee or vice versa. But the world is large, so who knows?

Certainly from a linguistic perspective, though, there's no reason a child wouldn't say "sepockatee." All those sounds exist in English and the consonants (s, p, k, and t) are some of the earliest ones learned by children in almost every language. It's not as if a non-Salish-speaking child came up with the word "Nłaka'pmxcin." Now that would truly be unusual and I'd have to think something out of the ordinary was going on there.

Either way, thanks for sharing your childhood memory, and have a good day!

Native Languages of the Americas

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 Native American Indian words
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