Even newer light on “moniasses”

Once you get the fraught title out of the way, “The Aryan Element in Indian Dialects” is one heck of an article.


Greenhorn, Oregon 🙂

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

In updated terminology, this is a survey of European loanwords into North American Aboriginal languages. It was published by knowledgeable Franz Boas protégé Alexander Francis Chamberlain in 1891. (Privately? the title page just says “Jno. Rutherford, Book & Job Printer, Owen Sound” [Ontario].)

There’s so much in this short essay.

From the first page (numbered 3), Chamberlain gets this close to seeing through Lescarbot’s 1612 French data to connect Basque with East Coast languages, as Peter Bakker finally did in his 1989 pidgin-spotting article “The Language of the Coast Tribes is Half Basque“.

A big reason I recommend Chamberlain’s study is that you’ll see certain words that got loaned into Chinuk Wawa…especially French ones…that turn out to have been loaned into lots of other Native languages. Sometimes with the definite articles le, la, les, sometimes without ’em; sometimes instead with partitive du, de, des. But interestingly, hardly ever with indefinite articles un, une; that looks to be a strong generalization about North American French language contact.

Some of the loanwords in this essay make me think, “That might be the ancestor of a Chinook Jargon word”, or of a loan found in another Pacific Northwest language….

In Ojibwe (Algonquian family), monia(ng) from ‘Montreal’ means ‘Canadian’ i.e. White people, in common usage referring to a greenhorn, someone who is unfamiliar with frontier and Indian life (pages 6, 7). Recall how we discovered a BC Chinook Jargon word from Cree, moniasses ‘white people’…

In Algonquin (same family of course) aganeca means ‘Englishman’, from French anglais. This sure resembles a word in an unrelated British Columbia Dene (Athabaskan) language, Dakelh/Carrier: sagonaz is how I remember it from my currently unfindable copy of “The Paper That Relates” (it’s not in my Carrier dictionary). The Dakelh word might reflect les anglais, yeah?

Also in Algonquian, the word bastoné means ‘an American’, “from French Bastonnais, (an inhabitant of Boston)” (page 6). I’ve been putting forth a theory on this website that Chinuk Wawa bástən traces, at least in part, back to that Canadianism.

And Algonquian kapoteweian is from French capote ‘coat’ and indigenous -weian ‘skin, fur’ (page 7). Compare the Jargon’s kapú ‘coat’.

In the same language, napanin ‘flour’ is from French la farine (page 7).  Compare Chinuk Wawa saplíl ‘flour, bread’?