Pooty good!

Just the bullets: New Chinuk Wawa word discovered: “pooty”.*.

(As usual this only means we’ve just now noticed it).

Pretty Chinook

*Rendered in a Huckleberry Finn spelling to help you guess what it means. Got it?**

“Pretty”. Adjective. Source: spoken English [prɩ́ti ~ pə́rti ~ pə́rdi ~ pʊ́ti]. Why needed: because otherwise, you’re limited to very broad description of visually attractive qualities, like “tlus”, or lengthy circumlocution like “tlus pus nanich” or “tlus iaka siahush”.

Here are the first 2 occurrences of it in Kamloops Wawa, which prompted me to write this article:

From issue #76, page [69]:

Nsaika shi tlap mokst buks drit aias puti. Iaka pil sil klaska kot pi drit gol klaska tsim. Shinuk Wawa pipa ukuk mokst buks[…]

“We’ve just received two books, they’re really very pretty. Their covers are red cloth and their lettering is real gold. Both books are Chinook Jargon [shorthand] writing [bound volumes of Kamloops Wawa]…”

From issue #77, page [73]:

Boston tilikom klaska mamuk ayu hlwima chort han pipa kakwa ukuk Shinuk pipa. Ukuk iht shako kopa Filadilfia kopa Boston ilihi iaka drit aias puti.

“The Americans do lots of various shorthands like this Chinook writing. This one comes from Philadelphia in the USA[,] it’s really very good-looking.”

Yet again, we have here a borrowing from English as spoken in real life around Kamloops.  This is one of the uniquely fascinating aspects of this Jargon dialect — we get a hefty sample of both the English and the Chinook being used by  a generation of new Aboriginal speakers,

Side note: this puti is not to be confused with Grand Ronde’s budi/puti “pouty”!

**Edited to note that Franz Boas had “haiu puty boys in text #37 of his 1888 “Chinook Songs” article. There, he seems to treat this as code-switching with English, as with other items he puts into italics. Many of those are well-attested items of Chinook Jargon proper, e.g. town, steamboat, goodbye.

Despite Boas’ scruples, and the absence of puti or any word for “pretty” from the lexical compilation in Samuel V. Johnson’s 1978 dissertation, my find of puti recurring in Kamloops Wawa is a demonstration that this is indeed another Jargon word.

** Further edited to reflect Sequoia Nystrom’s eagle-eyed confirmation (see Comments below) of all this from my previous articles about the book “From Copenhagen to Okanagan“.  There, a young Native woman in north-central Washington state is quoted asking “Pee iktah mika tumtum kopa nika?  Pee mika tumtum nika hiyu pootee?”  (What do you think of me?  Don’t you think I am very pretty?)”.

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