An embarrassing question to crowdsource!

mermaid tail

(Image credit: The Mermaid Academy)

File this one under “I dreamed it, but it didn’t come true” 🙂 

Like the time I woke up thinking, “Winning the lottery sure feels good.”

And that time I was all “Yay, how nice to figure out the etymology of lakamín!” (A kind of stew.) Augh.

Today’s big idea will be less disappointing, if only because it’s naughtier.

My copy of Dale Kinkade’s dictionary of Upper Chehalis Salish, the close relative of that Lower Chehalis that I often tell you played a big role in forming Chinuk Wawa, contains these variations on a theme:

  • qát-ip ‘be unfaithful to, commit adultery’ (compare Chinuk Wawa q’át ‘to love’)
  • qin-ayp ‘desire intercourse’ (qin ‘to want’)
  • s-x̣ʷqʷ-áyp ‘sex-hungry, hungry for love’

Simplifying slightly, these basically mean ‘want tail’.

Noticing this set of words, I instantly thought “Of course I recognize the parallel with tíki-úpʰuch in Chinuk Wawa.” (Literally ‘want-tail’ as well.)

As a colloquial language, the Jargon has no lack of expressions for ‘horny’. I went to the Grand Ronde dictionary for reference. You bet, there’s tíki-músum (literally want-sleep) which means not just ‘sleepy’ but randy. And there’s ɬíx ‘sexually aroused’.

Uh…I’m not finding *tíki-úpʰuch. Not even in the older dictionaries, which is less of a surprise. This now takes an asterisk, to show that it ain’t necessarily real.

But I could testify, sober as a judge, that I’ve heard someone at probably a Chinuk-Wawa Lu’lu a few years back, saying *tíki-úpʰuch. And everyone understanding the expression without difficulty.

So today’s question…Have you, as a member of the Chinuk Wawa revitalization community, heard or used the expression *tíki-úpʰuch? Or maybe my sleeping brain was just entertaining itself…