Chinook fire, an idiom

chinuk paia

This was a pretty cool idiom in Kamloops-area Chinuk Wawa:Chinuk paia ‘Chinook fire’ for a kind of fireworks. Kind of fun, considering the number of tribal fireworks stands out there!

Read on…I’ve highlighted the distinctively Kamloops-y words with parentheses…

Wiht hloima kandl mitlait, pi klaska mamuk
wə́x̣t x̣lúyma (kandl) míłayt, pi łáska mámuk 
Also other candle exist, and they make
‘Also there were other candles, and they make’ 

drit aias skukum lait, nsaika mamuk nim ukuk lait
drét (h)áyás(h) skúkum (láyt), nsáyka mamuk-ním úkuk (láyt) 
really big strong light, we make-name these light
‘a really big strong laight, we call these lights’ 

Chinuk paia, tkop man mamuk nim iaka Bingal paia.
chinúk páya, tk’úp-mán mamuk-ním yáka (béngal) páya.
chinook fire, white-man make-name it Bengal fire.
‘Chinook fire, the white people call it Bengal fire.’

— from Kamloops Wawa #132 of September 1895, page 133

“Bengal fire” is a synonym (new to me) for what I grew up calling “sparklers” — this firework:

bengal fire

Bengal fire (image credit: Wikimedia)

What do you think?

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