Of Chirouses and canneries

chirouse the younger

Chirouse the Younger, portrayed in 2018 by J-P Grimaud (image credit: Fort Walla Walla Museum)

My main reason for chasing down today’s reading in Jargon is because canneries are on my mind…

…I’ve been showing my readers how Chinuk Wawa on the northern coasts had its own expression for a cannery, ‘fish house‘, that lives on in the Indigenous languages. That was probably an earlier Jargon word for it.

Today — not for the first time — I’ll show you that the English word ‘cannery‘ also got borrowed into Jargon, apparently at a later date. So, try to spot that word below and not get too distracted by the gnarly mayhem being reported…

By the way, the Father [Eugène-Casimir] Chirouse quoted here should be Le Jeune’s controversial contemporary “Chirouse the Younger“, not the illustrious uncle “Chirouse the Elder” who died in 1892, having spent decades in modern Washington State. Both were important in different ways to the history of Chinuk Wawa.

chirouse cannery

< VIII. > Wiht Pir Shirus, [Ø] iaka mitlait kopa Wisminstir
wə́xt Pér Shirús, [Ø] [1] yaka míłayt kʰupa Wesminstər* [2]
also Père Chirouse, Relative.Clause he be.located at Westminster
‘Père Chirouse too, who is at [New] Westminster [BC]’

alta, iaka mamuk tsim kopa nsaika. Iaka kwanisim tanas mamuk 
álta, yáka mamuk-t’sə́m kʰupa nsáyka. yáka kwánisəm tənəs-mámuk
now, he make-written to us. he always little-do
‘now, writes to us [Father Le Jeune]. He keeps putting some work’

pus tolo Chinuk pipa. Wiht iaka wawa: Klunas nain
pus túluʔ Chinúk pípa. wə́x̣t yáka wáwa: t’łúnas náyn
in.order.to achieve Chinook writing. also he say: maybe nine 

‘into mastering the Chinook writing. He also says: About nine’ 

klunas tin tilikom kopa kah klaska mamuk samon kopa kanri,
t’łúnas tén [3] tilikam kʰupa qʰá(x̣) łáska mamuk-sámən kʰupa kánri,
maybe ten people at where they make-salmon at cannery,   

‘or ten people at [the place] where salmon is processed at the cannery,’ 

klaska tlap wiski pi chako patlam, pi chako fait kanamokst 
łaska t’łáp wíski pi chako-páł[-]lam, pi cháko fáyt kʰanumákwst
they get whiskey and become-full[-]alcohol, and come fight together
‘they got hold of some whiskey and got drunk, and wound up fighting each other’

pi iht tanas man iaka lost. Klunas kata. Klunas klaska 
pi íxt tənəs-mán yaka lóst. t’łúnas qʰáta. t’łúnas [4] łáska
and one little-man he lost. maybe how. maybe they
‘and one boy went missing. Who knows how. Maybe they’

mamuk mimlus iaka. Klunas iaka fol dawn kopa chok pi mimlus.
mamuk-míməlus yáka. t’łúnas yáka fál-dáwn kʰupa chə́qw pi míməlus.
make-dead him. maybe he fall-down to water and die.  

‘killed him. Maybe he fell in the water and drowned.’ 

Taham [son] ilo klaska komtaks ikta kopa iaka pi Pir Shirus mamuk 
táx̣am [sán] [5] (h)ílu łáska kə́mtəks íkta kʰupa yáka pi Pér Shirús mamuk-
six [day] not they hear thing from him and Père Chirouse make-
‘For six days not a thing has been heard from him and Père Chirouse’ 

tsim kopa nsaika. = Wiski kwanisim wiski mamuk 
t’sə́m kʰupa nsáyka. = wíski kwánisəm wíski [6] mamuk-
written to us. = whiskey always whiskey make-
‘writes to us: “It’s whiskey, always whiskey, that” ‘

chako klahawiam tilikom. 
chako-łax̣áwyam tílikam.
become-pitiful people. 

‘ “degrades people.” ‘

— from Kamloops Wawa #94 (Sept. 3, 1893), page 144


Pér Shirús, [Ø] [1] yaka míłayt kʰupa…: this is my latest reminder to you that relative clauses, like this one (‘Pere Chirouse, who is at…’), aren’t signaled by any word at all corresponding to ‘who’. 

kʰupa Wesminstər* [2]— the usual name of BC’s first capital as found in Kamloops Wawa is just ‘Westminster’. Some of you will be aware of another Jargon name for a part or maybe all of that town, Kunspa, from ‘Queensborough’.

tén[3] tilikam — here the strong trend of BC Chinuk Wawa replacing the older number higher-number words with new English borrowings shows through in the words for ‘9’ and ’10’. 

t’łúnas qʰáta. t’łúnas [4] łáska mamuk-míməlus yáka — Check out the two different translations I’ve given for t’łúnas, but both occurrences of it here are functionally the same to this linguist. (I see them as a “discourse marker”, a signal of the speaker’s attitude toward the situation that’s being spoken of.)

táx̣am [sán] [5] (h)ílu łáska kə́mtəks íkta — Do you agree with me that the word sán was intended here, but left out by accident? That would be a typical tiny lapse for Kamloops Wawa‘s editor, Father Le Jeune. Try reading the sentence without sán and see if what sense you make of it.

wíski kwánisəm wíski [6] mamuk-chako-łax̣áwyam tílikam: here’s some of the “fronting” of an interesting new narrative element that I often point out in Chinuk Wawa. Here too is a mighty interesting grammatical form, the combination of the Causative mamuk- ‘make’ and the Inceptive chako- ‘become’. That combination is typical of the early creolized lower Columbia River Chinook Jargon, but in virtually all later dialects, whether Kamloops or Grand Ronde, it was replaced by the simple mamuk-. So I see Father Chirouse’s grammar as reflecting the known continuous line of descent from the earliest Catholic missionaries near Fort Vancouver through the years, gradually leading northward to BC. 

What have you learned today?
Ikta maika chako komtaks ukuk son?