Musical instrument, another Secwepemctsin loan into Jargon

Here is a fun loan from Secwepemctsin (Shuswap Salish) into Kamloops Chinuk Wawa: huhulitin ‘musical instrument’.

The earliest example I find is this one:


aias komtaks pli myusik kopa iht huhulitin iaka nim gitar, kakwa
was very talented at playing music on an instrument called the guitar, so 

Sol iaka tilikom wawa kopa klaska taii pus iaka iskom Divid kopa
Saul’s people asked their chief to fetch David to 

iaka haws pus alki iaka pli myusik kopa iaka.
his house so that he would play music for him. 

(KW #130, July 1895, page 103)

Then there’s this ad for a swell cornet:

Supplement to Sugarcane Tintin KW 133 October 1895 page 160 (3)

<LYON AND HEALY. Chicago, Ill.>

Aias makuk huhulitin
An expensive instrument

(Supplement to the Sugar Cane Tintin, KW #133, October 1895, page 160)

Needless to say, this is a word that you won’t find in the Chinook Jargon of other regions.  But the musical groups at the ‘industrial’ (residential) schools were a big deal in the 1890s; dig this from the same page:

Pus msaika tiki kolan aias tlus
If you folks want to hear some great 

myusik, tlus msaika klatwa kopa Wiams Lik
music, you should go to Williams Lake 

kopa liplit iaka haws: iawa msaika kolan
to the priest’s place; there you can hear 

ayu myusik: ilo piii, pi pus msaika
plenty of music: it’s free, and when you 

kolan ukuk myusik, msaika chako mash
hear this music, you’ll wind up 

tomtom msaika makmak pi kakwa wik msaika
forgetting about your food and that way you’re 

lost ikta.
not out a bit.  

Kakwa iaka tomtom
So thinks 

Shimi Haskrit*
Jimmy Haskrit(?)

kopa Knim Lik
from Canim Lake


The Secwepemctsin word being borrowed here is the one that Aert Kuipers mentions in his 1974 grammar/dictionary/text collection volume as xʷúxʷlətn (if you write it sort of Grand Ronde style): ‘flute, mouth organ’.  There, it seems to be related to the word for ‘meadowlark’ bird, xʷúxʷleʔ.  Did flutes just sound like that?  Were they made from meadowlark bones too?  I don’t know.

From what we’ve seen here, we can suspect that in Secwepemctsin as well as in regional Jargon, the word referred to musical instruments in general.  Maybe even to drums (rock ‘n’ roll band joke) (but seriously, look at this from the same issue of KW🙂

Supplement to Sugarcane Tintin KW 133 October 1895 page 160 (2)

Shugir Kin kitl, wik kopa mamuk sup
Sugarcane [village]’s kettle, not for making soup in

Edit: the following day, I found another great illustration of how this uniquely BC word huhulitin was used:

lyon and healy (2)

Kopa Chikago mitlait iht aias haws patl kopa
In Chicago there is a big building filled with 

myusik pi kopa huhulitin. Kanawi ikta
(sheet) music and with instruments.  Every kind of 

huhulitin mitlait kopa ukuk haws. <31> sno
instruments is in that building.  For 31 years 

alta ukuk haws sil huhulitin kopa kanawi
now this building has sold instruments to every 

kah ilihi. Klaska mamuk iht buk kah iaka cim
country everywhere.  They publish a book where there are shown 

kanawi klaska huhulitin. Pus maika tiki tlap
all of their instruments.  If you want to get 

ukuk buk, tlus maika mamuk cim kopa klaska pi
that book, you should write to them and 

klaska aiak mash ukuk buk kopa maika. Kaltash
they will send that book to you right away.  For free, 

klaska mash [NULL] Ilo ikta chikmin klaska tiki Klaska
they send it.  They don’t want any kind of money.  They 

mamuk ilip ayu kopa <100 000> huhulitin
make more than 100,000 instruments 

kopa iht sno. Klaska nim kakwa kopa tkop man cim:
in a year.  Their name is like this in white man writing: 



(KW #134, November 1895, page 164)