Til mamuk: a Kamloops idiom

Til mamuk: literally “heavy work”: an expressive idiom for violent mayhem.

til mamuk (3)

You’re only going to discover this one if you take the trouble to dig into Kamloops Chinook Jargon, shorthand alphabet and all.

First of two examples: from a report on the election of a new chief at Quaaout Reserve, BC:

KW #89 (30 July 1893), page 123:

Ilo mitlait mokst tomtom kopa klaska. Kanawi
man wawa pus Fraswa iaka taii, pi nawitka drit
kakwa. Kanawi Kwawt tilikom kakwa pus iht klaska
tomtom kanamokst klaska taii, pus kanawi kah
ilihi kakwa. Wik kansih nsaika nanish til mamuk
kopa tilikom.

“There were no differences of opinion among them. Every
man voted for Francois [Shilpahan] to be his chief, and the fact is it was just
so. All of the Quaaout people were in effect united in their
wishes with their chief, that everywhere
the villages should be this way. We [ = Father Le Jeune] never saw any violence
among the people.”

Second example, found in the Aboriginal letters that my dissertation examines. Here is the relevant subentry from my forthcoming dictionary of Kamloops Chinuk Wawa with a quotation of actual usage:

til mamuk

—-noun idiom. ‘heavy going’, ‘rough stuff’, mayhem. Literally ‘heavy work’.

pus palam mokst tala, pus til mamuk kwinam tala [text location 068.009] “…if [they’re] drunk [they should pay] two dollars, [and] if there’s mayhem five dollars.”

A uniquely KCW expression.

Through the years of our online Chinook revival, some have maintained that it was the vehicle of a freewheeling, no-holds-barred frontier culture. Learning this idiom, do you incline to agree?

Advertisements