Influence going the other way: Salish lexical suffixes FROM Chinuk Wawa


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I think at least one lexical suffix each in Lower & Upper Chehalis comes from Chinuk Wawa.

That’s new news, because we thought lexical suffixes had to be pretty ancient.

(There’s a body of research literature on these grammatical peculiarities of Northwest languages, which infers that they morphed over the centuries from nouns into mere affixes.)

Here’s an excerpt from some comments I’m sandboxing for a Lower Chehalis dictionary entry of a suffix -nəšt, found only in the word t̓áq̓nəšt ‘underskirt’ (a “slip”, I suppose):

We know the root t̓áq̓ ‘under’; the may be one of the connector segments that we often see…

In that case, possibly the /št/ (which is an otherwise-unknown suffix) reflects Chinuk Wawa shát ‘shirt’.


  • Chinuk Wawa kikwile-shat ‘under-clothes’ (known only from St. Onge 1892 ms., from nearby in the lower Columbia region; kikwile ‘under’, shat ‘shirt’)
  • Neighboring Salish languages, Upper Chehalis and Cowlitz kíkʷulikʷut ‘skirt, “under-dress” ‘, from Chinuk Wawa kíkwəli ‘under’ (CTGR 2012) + kōt ‘coat’ (St. Onge 1892 ms.)

For a parallel example of a possible mixed Salish-Chinuk Wawa word, compare Upper Chehalis ʔac-√ʔéʔx̣-nnč ‘a given point’, where the “unclear ending” -nnč (Kinkade 1991:377) may be from Chinuk Wawa nánich ‘to see’ (a redundancy, because this is the meaning of the Salish ʔac-√ʔéʔx̣ as well).

What do you think? Further evidence of an intimate connection between Salish and Chinuk Wawa in southwest Washington?