"Chinook moon", "Chinook saw"; "katchem" (fwd)

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Wed Mar 10 05:37:51 UTC 1999

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 05:56:38 -0500
From: Sally Thomason <thomason at umich.edu>
To: David Robertson <drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG>
Cc: CHINOOK at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG, thomason at umich.edu
Subject: Re: "Chinook moon", "Chinook saw"; "katchem"

   Katchem `catch' would be from American Indian Pidgin English.
The -em (from `him') functions as a transitive suffix in Tok
Pisin (a.k.a. Melanesian Pidgin English, spoken in New Guinea),
and I *think* also in AIPE (I'm not positive about its status
in AIPE).  Remnants of AIPE are, or were when I was a kid, used
in children's games of Cowboys and Indians -- as in "Me givum
you beaver, you givum me guns".  Those games may be long gone
now (they were of course racist, though we were hardly aware of
that all those years ago, in middle-class White America); but
it's interesting that the last stronghold of perfectly good
grammatical AIPE was in a children's game.

  It's not surprising that bits of AIPE got into Chinook Jargon;
they'd have to be introduced by Whites, but of course there are
quite a few words in CJ that were introduced by Whites, some
from other Native languages.  AIPE was widespread, at least in
the East, for some time.

  I should add: a transitive marker indicates that the verb it's
added to is transitive, that it has an object.  But the suffix is
not itself an object -- it is derived etymologically from "him",
but it doesn't mean "him".

  -- Sally Thomason
     thomason at umich.edu

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