Le meunier, son fils, et l’ane

A number of the stories that are preserved in Chinuk Wawa have French roots…

As with vocabulary items in the Jargon, this happened for two separate broad reasons. Some of the material came in through the intense participation in Chinook Jargon’s speech community by French Canadians. Other material can be traced to French-speaking missionaries’ usually more literary influence.

Today’s early Kamloops Wawa text is an example of the latter. Just a few months into that newspaper’s lifespan, Father Le Jeune (a native of Brittany in France) took a couple of pages to share this nice example of expressive Jargon. As a likely source for Le Jeune’s knowing it, it’s one of La Fontaine’s tales, and a worthy read, even with a couple of illegible gaps.

My English translation below tries to give you the colloquial flavor that the Chinook Jargon rendering has. (Notice that it makes the French donkey into a more familiar BC mule!)

(Bracketed stuff seemed somewhat legible to me; asterisks indicate less confidence in my reading of it; “Menier” is a misspelling of “Meunier”.)

<Le Menier, son fils, et l’âne.>
The Miller, His Son, and the Donkey

     Iht man iaka mitlait mula: iaka tiki sillim ukuk mula; kakwa iaka mamuk 
     One man he have mule: he want sell that mule; so he make 
A certain man had a mule: he wanted to sell this mule; so he

wash ukuk mula pi iaka mamuk kaw iaka lipii pi iaka iskom aias lon stik pi iaka
wash that mule and he make tie his foot and he take very long wood and he
cleaned up the mule and tied up its feet, and he took a long pole and

lolo ukuk mula kanamokst iaka tanas kakwa Shaina man klaska lolo kosho 
carry that mule together his child like Chinese men they carry pig 
carried the mule together with his son, like Chinese people carry pigs

kopa tawn.
to town
to town. 

Tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Halo, nanitsh ukuk mokst man 
People see them and they say: “Hello, look that two man 
People saw them and said: “Hey, look at those two fellas

klaska pak klaska mula: aias taii ukuk mula pi kakwa mula ukuk 
they pack their mule: big chief that mule and like mule that 
packing their mule around: that mule is the big boss and those

mokst man.”
two man.”
two men are like the mules.”

     [Ol man chako shim pi iaka wawa] [ILLEGIBLE] [tiki]*. Pi klaska mash 
     Old man become shame and he say [ILLEGIBLE] want. And they throw 
The old man was ashamed and he said, “[ILLEGIBLE] wants.” And they took the

rop kopa iaka lipii pi klaska raid mokst kanamokst kopa ukuk mula.
rope from his foot and they ride two together on that mule.
rope off its feet and they rode, both together, on the mule.

Hlwima tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Nanitsh ukuk tilikom klaska 
Other people see them and they say: “Look that people they  
Some other people saw them and said: “Look at those guys, they’re

tiki mamuk mimlus klaska mula. Aias klahawiam ukuk mula.”
want make die their mule. Very poor that mule.”
trying to kill their mule. That poor mule!”

Ol man wiht iaka chako shim pi iaka wawa kopa iaka tanas: “Tlus maika 
     Old man again he become shame and he say to his child: “Good you 
The old man was ashamed again, and he told his son: “You

klatwa kopa ilihi pi kopit ixt naika raid.”
go on ground and only one I ride.”
walk on the ground, I’ll ride alone.”

Hlwima tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Nanitsh ukuk ol man
     Other people see them and they say: “Look that old man 
Some more people saw them and said: “Look at that old man.

Kakwa aias taii iaka sit dawn kopa mula, pi ukuk tanas man kakwa 
Like big chief he sit down on mule, and that little man like 
He’s like some big boss sitting on the mule, and that boy is like

tanas musmus iaka kuli kopa lipii.”
little cow he run on foot.”
a calf running after on foot.”

Ol man wixt chako shim pi iaka wawa kopa iaka tanas: “Tlus alta maika raid
     Old man again become shame and he say to his child: “Good now you ride 
The old man was embarrassed again and he told his son: “How about you ride

pi naika klatwa kopa lipii.”
and I go on foot.”
now and I walk.”

Wixt xlwima tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Nanitsh ukuk
     Again other people see them and they say: “See that 
Still more people saw them and said: “Look at that

aias papus iaka sit dawn kopa kyutan pi iaka ol man aias klahawiam iaka kuli 
big baby he sit down on horse and his old man very poor he run 
big baby sitting on the horsey and his elder pitiful and

kopa ilihi.” Iawa ol man iaka wawa: “Tlus klatwa msaika wixat tilikom: 
on ground.” There old man he say: “Good go you-folks path people:  
walking.” Then the old man said: “Be on your way, people:

alta naika nanitsh wik kata* naika* mamuk kanawi [ILLEGIBLE] tiki mamuk 
now I see not how I make all [ILLEGIBLE] want do      
now I see there’s no way I can do every [ILLEGIBLE] want to do.

Kopit iht naika tomtom pi wixt ST ( = Sahali Taii) iaka tomtom.
Only one my heart and also God his heart.
I only have one mind and it’s God’s mind too.”

Klahawiam tilikom!
Goodbye friend!
Goodbye friends!

Kamloops Wawa #12b (21 February 1892), pages 14-15