Notes/questions on words in Hancock list PART ONE

Mike Cleven ironmtn at BIGFOOT.COM
Thu Mar 25 00:56:57 UTC 1999

Comments please.  Most of these I've never seen before; Hancock says he
pulled from sources all over the region, including apparently Alaska,
northern California and remote parts of BC and the Yukon, as well as living
speakers in the Georgia Strait, Puget Sound, and Columbia.  Except for
"ekon", what's below is the "S" and "T" sections of his list, which I
decided to post here once I saw the reference for the name of the Columbia
River (Sketsotwa).  I wish Hancock had documented his sources/referendces
for each word a little better...I'm going to post this list on my site, and
if possible I'd like to include the source languages for the unusual words.
 All input welcome.

ekon - good spirit.  Too much like the Russian "ikon" (holy image) to go

sapak - strong, powerful

stulis - rain

sukwelul - gun (pistol?)  I've seen "sokwelal" in another list, but I'm not
sure what language this was from or where it was in use.

shu - old

silokmul - window

sitcum - swim.  I think I've seen sitshum in another lexicon, but I'm not sure

Sketsotwa - name given for the Columbia River.  Anyone recognize which
language it's from?  I'm wondering if this name was only local or if it
became the accepted name, at least when speaking Jargon, for the great
river.  I think Sto:lo/Staulo as the name for the Fraser was like this; in
use among Secwepemc, Nlakapamux, and Halqemeylem speakers (and St'at'imcets
too, I think).

stlu - wind

smenus, shmenus - hill.  Appears on the BC map as the town-name Chemainus;
doesn't surprise me that it was considered Jargon by whichever source gave
the word to Hancock; AFAIK it's not Hulqiminum (the language area that
Chemainus is in).

solimi - cranberry

spowa - faded, grey, buff

shelipo - ice, frozen  NB French gelee

shwulpe, shulpi - tree

ta - a certain supernatural being

talapus - Hancock gives another meaning - "sneaky person".  Perhaps just

tanino - ravine, gorge, vulva (Aren't there a couple of "Tenino" placenames
around here?)

teluhksutc - finger

tuksunk, teksen - to pursue

tishkoko - fox

toluk - call

towun - store, put up, put away

tsaypa, saypa - straight, upright

tselil - lake.  This struck me as I was writing it out right now as a
possible equivalent to "chil" which occurs in BC placenames quite a bit
(not repeated, as in tsil-tsil).  Why this occurred to me is I was puzzling
over the name Chilliwack while driving through there on the way back from
the Interior.  I'd seen one archaic map - on the Sumas Lake website
linked-to by a URL that was posted in this NG a couple of weeks back -
showing "Chelliwhyak"; I'd been puzzling over what the "Chili-" might have
been.  AFAIK "Chilliwack" is NOT Halqemeylem, although I stand ready to be
corrected.  If it is of Jargon coinage as a name, Chilliwack (tselil-hyak)
would make sense - "flowing lake", more or less (hyak=fast, poss. flowing)
- if the pre-dyking geography of the area is taken into account.  A
convergence of broad, fast-flowing streams (the Fraser, the Chilliwack, the
Vedder) as well as a backwater of the same convergence in the form of Sumas
Lake (now drained for farmland).  There's also a "Chilhil Lake" in the BC

tsla.di - woman

tsolput - pouch

Mike Cleven
ironmtn at

The thunderbolt steers all things.
                           - Herakleitos

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