1906: California Hobucket mamook iskum dhuoyuatz

A photo of an apparent Chinuk Wawa speaker, tucked away in a multi-volume work on West Coast ornithology, is rare evidence of an uncommon, useful Jargon phrase…

Here we see “California” (Kalipódiya) Hobucket, a Quileute tribal member employed by a scientific expedition, digging birds called petrels out of their nests in the side of an offshore sea stack.

In the Quileute tribal newsletter, anthropologist Jay Powell observes that the reason for this man’s nickname isn’t (now) known. I’d suggest we have new evidence — it could be from his working for a visiting well-funded California scientist.

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The title of the photo is < CALIFORNIA MAMOOK ISKUM DHUOYUATZ: In other words, the Indian (“California” Hobucket), is digging out Beal Petrels >.

That word < DHUOYUATZ > must be the local Quileute language’s word for the birds. I’m unable to locate it in the Quileute dictionary yet, and the unorthodox spelling isn’t speeding the process of searching. (I’m starting with the idea that < DH > represents Quileute /d/ or /t’/, or even /t’ł/.) And there’s no entry for the fairly obscure English word ‘petrel’ in that dictionary, nor a corresponding word glossed as generic ‘bird’, nor — since petrels supplied this kind of food — anything under ‘egg’. There seems to be a root shaped like t’oy meaning ‘to pick up’, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten yet.

Chinuk Wawa < mamook > of course means literally ‘make; do’; it can be put before a main verb to form a sort of causative expression. < Iskum > is ‘get; take’.

It’s somewhat rare to find the two together, especially outside of the Grand Ronde, Oregon, community, whose dictionary gives the local (I broadly call it the ‘southern’ dialect) pronunciation munk-ískam ‘gather it up, accumulate (something)’, for example berries or money.

That’s just what California is doing in the image. And so we have a nice example, complete with photographic illustration, of this phrase being used in  the ‘northern’ dialect of Jargon.

Today’s nice little Jargon lesson is found on page 2016 (!) of “The Birds of California” (!) by William Leon Dawson (1873-1928) “of Santa Barbara” (San Diego, CA: South Moulton Company, 1923).

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(Image credit: “William Leon Dawson: A Biography“)

A biography of Iowa-born Dawson published during his lifetime says he lived as a youth in Washington state (Ahtanum in Yakima County from age 12; Seattle from age 14), so he may have been a good speaker of Jargon before he engaged California Hobucket.

By virtue of growing up Quileute in the late 19th century, California was already extremely likely to speak good Jargon.

So I see today’s little phrase as fairly reliable information.

What have you learned?