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

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Wed Mar 10 15:13:25 UTC 1999

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 22:31:56 -0800
From: Mike Cleven <ironmtn at bigfoot.com>
Subject: Re: "Chinook moon", "Chinook saw"; "katchem" (fwd)

> 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.

This would explain the "washem" reference in the Mrs. Annie York quote
from Spuzzum recently, which I think I mistook for a peculiarity of
Jargon spoken in the Canyon rather than a different pidgin altogether,
which fits the local history quite well in fact.  It makes sense that
the hordes of American miners who thronged the lower Canyon (Spuzzum is
just above Yale) would have brought with them your AIPE, which must have
been current in California and the wagon routes west through "Indian
country", as it used to appear on the maps; it no doubt influenced
Jargon of that era and district (as the settlers of OR and WA would have
also, of course, in their regions).

Perhaps we might consider AIPE a "parent language" of the Jargon?
Hwah!  Kinda makes sense, don'it?  In a way this also helps explain, or
contributed to rather, the "pidgin syntax" that was apparently common
outside the richer Jargon of the Lower Columbia/Grand Ronde, as noted.
Again, I liked Jon's pidgin translation; truer to the mark than we might
suspect, given Sally's observation.......
>   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".

The Jargon (and pidgins in general, I guess) do that a lot, don't they?
Adopting sounds as heard but interpreting the context differently.
French loans in the Jargon are rich with this - lolo (from la' la'), huy
huy (from ouai-ouai), mahsh etc.; I think this is the essence of that
milimah/milalam if those _are_ French loans.

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