Sin as a Jargon word (kinda the opposite of ‘sin’)
Not a word most of us would use every day, but it reflects a certain reality…
Very far back in the documentary record of Chinuk Wawa, there’s a word for ‘saint’, of all things.
So this is a trade language, huh??
Father Demers’s 1871 dictionary / religious instruction manual, based on 1830s Fort Vancouver-area speech, has < saï >.
That, of course, is from French saint, having been run through the Jargon rendering process that squeezed out all the oily nasal vowels. If you’ll allow me a strained Northwest Coast metaphor.
(Other examples of that — lamətay ‘mountain’ from la montaigne, lima ‘hand’ from la main / les mains, liblo ‘sorrel colored, brown’ from le blond, and the common Kamloops-area men’s name < Silista > from Celestin.)
Of added interest, saint seems to have gotten re-borrowed into Jargon a half-century later, up in Canada.
Around Kamloops, we find the spellings < sin > and < sa > in the Chinuk pipa writing.
And this ‘saint’ word is not just another literary loan used in Bible teaching — which makes it a different animal from Kamloops < Shakob > ‘Jacob’, < Pos Pilat > ‘Pontius Pilate’, and so forth.
The evidence that folks actually used < sin > and < sa > in daily life comes from some frequently seen personal names, such as:
- < Poria / Polia > is an often mentioned local man baptized with the French saint’s name Symphorien, from a longer version written < Saforia >, evidently understood by local Chinuk Wawa-speaking Indigenous people as < Sin Poria > ‘Saint “Phorien” ‘. (This took me 20 years to figure out…)
- Everyone in the First Nations communities called Father Le Jeune of Kamloops Wawa fame < Parisa >, which was their version of the French père saint ‘sainted/holy father’. (< Pir > (père) was the usual BC Chinook Jargon title for a priest.)
So you see why Chinook sin is the opposite of ‘sin’!
Kata maika tomtom?
What do you think?