Don’t write Bisi, write B.C.
One of Father Le Jeune’s tidy little charts that can be so fun:
Pus msaika tiki mamuk
If you folks want to
tanas iht iht nim, tlus msaika tlus nanich ukuk:
shorten this or that name [in Chinook shorthand], you should pay attention to this:
<1o> mun klaska nim:
1. names of months:
<1o> Shanwari = Sha. <7o> Shulai = Shi.*
1. January = Sha. 7. July = Shi(?)
<2o> Fibrwari = Fi. <8o> Ogyust = Og.
2. February = Fi. 8. August = Og.
< 3o> Marsh = Ma. <9o> Siptimbir = Sip.
3. March = Ma. 9. September = Sip.
<4o> Ipril = Ip. <10o> Oktobir = Okt.
4. April = Ip. 10. October = Okt.
<5o> Mi = Mi <11o> Novimbir = No.
5. May = Mi 11. November = No.
<6o> Shun = Shun <12o> Disimbir = Di.
6. June = Shun 12. December = Di.
Kamlups = Mk. Shugir Kin = Sh.K.
Kamloops = Mk. Sugarcane = Sh.K.
Chokchokwah* = SShB Alkalai Lik = Alk.*
Chu Chua = SShB Alkali Lake = Alk.(?)
Skishistin = Sk. Knim Lik = Kl.
Skeetchestn = Sk. Canim Lake = Kl.
Shhkaltkmah = Shkh. Kanu Krik = KK*
Sahhaltkum = Shkh. Canoe Creek = KK(?)
Duglas Lik = Dl. Soda Krik = Sok.*
Douglas Lake = Dl. Soda Creek = Sok.(?)
Kwilshana = <Q> Hai Bar = Hb.
Quilchena = Q High Bar = Hb.
Kol Watir = Klwa. Bonapart = Tl.
Coldwater = Klwa. Bonaparte = Tl.
Nort Bind = NB
North Bend = NB
Spisom = Sp.
Spuzzum = Sp.
Ilo mamuk cim Bisi; mamuk cim <B.C.>
Don’t write “Bisi”; write B.C. [in English letters].
I won’t go into it now, but the above abbreviations are formed in two or three different ways. That’s why I represent them variously in transcription, with some all in capitals, some with initial capitalization and periods, etc.
And you’ll notice that some of the abbreviations actually stand for the (Chinuk Wawa) name of the village, but others diverge a lot. In the second case, what’s usually abbreviated is then the Indigenous name of the place, such as “Tlohtaws” for “Bonaparte”.
“Bisi” really was used. I have found it in the shorthand letters written by Indigenous people. Here, Le Jeune is advising his readers that shorthand “Bisi” won’t work when you address an envelope!
The abbreviation for “shulai” is “shai”, as in “Jy.”, which is now rather old-fashioned in English.
Hi David, thank you very much for reading, commenting and making me take another look at this!
I actually think I misread at first — it’s almost certainly intended as “Shyu.”, the first syllable of “July”, using the same approach as with the other month abbreviations.
“Shai” seems improbable to me, as I doubt anyone pronounced the English “Jy.” that way, just as nobody pronounced “Jno.” any other way than “John”.
(It doesn’t help that the image is blurry just where the abbreviation for July appears!)
The image as it appears in this post is blurry, but at https://open.library.ubc.ca/viewer/kwawa/1.0347397#p8z0r0 it is much clearer, where it really looks like “shai”. “Shyu” wouldn’t make as much sense because the full word is “shulai”, not “shyulai”.
Fair point! And “Shyu” wouldn’t be much different from the full word “Shyun” (June)!
The abbreviation of “Kamlups” looks like “Ml”, not “Mk”. Other attestations are at https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.8_04645_112/14 and the following page. Those pages also include the abbreviation “Rm” for “Saman Arm”, showing that abbreviations can skip letters from the beginning of the full name, which makes “Ml” for “Kamlups” plausible.
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Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments, David C. Looks like you’re right, the abbreviation in Chinuk Pipa shorthand for “Kamlups” is ML. I’ll have to doublecheck other occurrences to see if I just mis-read ’em all as “MK” due to some preconceived expectation. Ouch. I could swear, though, that I’d seen this abbreviation as “K” and “M” crossing over each other, in the way that some of those abbreviations do. Again, probably a figment of my imagination.
I’m so grateful there are now more readers of Chinuk Pipa than myself! It was a big job being the only person to go through those hundreds of pages…
In my dissertation and/or a 2012 conference paper, I point out that words beginning with a vowel are normally abbreviated beginning with their first consonant. Thus “RM” for “Saman Arm”. (But for whatever reason, not “SR”!)
You know…the official name of the Oblate station in Kamloops was Mission St-Louis. Maybe that explains our “ML” abbreviation?