Tatoosh Island, Washington ... Algonquian words

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Mon Mar 29 03:50:53 UTC 1999

[Alan Hartley wrote:]
The Ojibway word for 'breast' is -to:to:s^-, and the Plains Cree

[Dave here:]
I don't entirely doubt that there could have occurred, if not *loaning*
from Algonquian sources in this case, at least then a *strengthening* of
the words /tutush ~ tEtush ~ ta"tush/ in the meaning "breast" in CJ, due
to the presence of forms <te'ton, te'tin> in the French of the Canadians
serving the Hudsons Bay Company.  At the risk of being tedious to non-
linguists, let's remind ourselves that these Canadians were almost
universally (a) Francophones and (b) Me'tis, i.e. largely acquainted with
Cree or Ojibwe varieties, or both.  (/tutush/ is Wakashan, specifically
Nuu-chah-nulth, in origin--"Nootkan".)

The mechanism I'm proposing would be like one we've discussed here before:
Accidental resemblances between two or more of the lexifier languages of
ChInuk Wawa perhaps contributed to the entrenchment of certain lexical
forms in this language.  Consider the case of Chinookan (and I guess
Nuu-chah-nulth) ~ /siapulh/ : French <chapeau>; and the words relating to
water in both Nuu-chah-nulth and Chinookan having the root shape /malh/,
for example.

I believe that Barbara Harris in her paper "Handsaw or Harlot?  Some
Problem Etymologies in the Lexicon of Chinook Jargon" (_CJL_ 28:3 [1983],
pages 25-32) treats similar problems of indeterminate etymology.  In at
least part of the cases she discusses, she seems to arrive at a pro
tempore analysis of the forms as having perhaps *dual* etymologies.

Thank you for indulging me in one of my pet puzzles of CJ!


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