Notes/questions on words in Hancock list PART ONE

Sally Thomason sally at THOMASON.ORG
Sat Mar 27 14:17:48 UTC 1999


   Here are some comments on a few of the words.  The orthography
I'm using is basically Terry Kaufman's; for symbols that I can't
type in here, I'll use substitutes: @ for schwa (upside-down "e"),
S for "sh", etc.

sitcum - swim. This is CJ s at tS@m, or maybe S at tS@m (there's variation
in the CJ sources, but actually most sources have S).  Shaw 1909 says
it's from Salish.  I have attestations from 9 CJ sources; the earliest
is Palmer 1847, and he has Seck-um, but all the other sources have
something like the forms I give above.

spowa - faded, grey, buff.  This is CJ spu'@x.  Gibbs 1863 says it's
from Chinook; Kathlamet Chinook has a word spiq `grey (color of stones
found in sea lions' bellies from Quinault)'.  Shaw 1909 says the word
is `not strictly CJ, or only local'; but I have it attested in 8
sources (including Shaw), both American and French -- Harrington,
Parker, Horatio Hale, Demers et al., Pinart, LeJeune, Stuart.  So it's
not all that restricted.

talapus - sneaky person.  This is CJ t'alap'as.  It's apparently Chinook
in origin: Kathlamet Chinook has i-t'alapas (Hymes 1955:98).  Shaw also
says it's from Chinook.  It also occurs in Yakima, though; and in Nez
Perce; it could of course be originally a loanword in those two
languages -- or vice versa, from there to Chinookan.  (There's a lot
of borrowing of animal names in that part of the world.)  The meanings
of this word vary a lot in the CJ sources: Harrington, Hale 1846,
Jacobs (from a Kalapuya speaker), Shaw, and Phillips give `coyote' as
at least one meaning.  Others give `fox': Demers et al., Le Jeune,
Lionnet, Durieu, Stuart.  Or `wolf': Winthrop, Palmer, Allen.  Then
there's Stuart's mam-mook tal-la-pos `to deceive'; and hayas oputs
talapas, which Demers et al. gloss as `fox, prairie wolf [i.e. coyote]'
and Shaw glosses as `fox' -- with the remark that some reverse the
two meanings, giving the phrase as `coyote' and the short form talapas
as `fox'.  Anyway, the word means some sort of non-dog canine, and it
has the derived meaning of sneak; and it comes from Chinook.

towun - store, put up, put away: This word isn't awfully well attested
in CJ, but I've found it in five sources, three of them (at least)
from Grand Ronde.  The CJ form is t'u'an, and it means `to put up,
put away', and also `to carry, wear, give birth to'.  Demers et al.
give it in the meaning `to put away'.  Boas heard it from Chinook
speakers, ca. 1890 (see Boas 1933:210); he said that it is extinct
in the northern dialects, and that it doesn't occur in the older Hale
and Gibbs vocabularies.  It occurs in Mrs. Howard's CJ texts, once
meaning `had a child' and once meaning `laid (somebody) down'.  Jacobs,
in his Kalapuya speaker's CJ text(s), has it in the meaning `wore'.
And another Grand Ronde citation has it meaning `have'.

tsolput - pouch.  This is CJ tsulpat `shot-pouch' (an alternate for
the phrase kalaytan lisak, which may be more common).  Shaw says it's
from Klickitat; Gibbs 1863 also says it's Sahaptian in origin.  But
Bruce Rigsby (1968, personal communication to Terry Kaufman) says
it's not Sahaptian.  So I guess the etymology still needs a question
mark.  (Nobody, as far as I've found, gives a suggested source word
for this.)  The word is not well attested in CJ at all: I've found it
only in Shaw 1909 (he says it's `not strictly Jargon -- or of only local
use') and in Le Jeune 1924 (he says it's used in other districts,
i.e. not where he was!).  So it's almost as if the word is a rumor.

   Those are the words I've found (so far, at least) in my CJ
files.  David has already identified several words of Salishan
origin.  Some of the others also look familiar to me, probably from
Salishan rather than from CJ, but I haven't yet been able to
remember where I've seen them.

   -- Sally

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