HMCS Nootka

hmcs nootka

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In the Canadian uniformed services, you sometimes find mottos in Chinuk Wawa…

…Here’s yet another for our collection.

Quoting from Wikipedia:

HMCS Nootka was a Tribal-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) from 1946 to 1964. Constructed too late to take part in the Second World War, the ship saw service in the Korean War. She received the unit name Nootka while still under construction in Halifax, Nova Scotia after the RCN renamed the Fundy-class minesweeper Nootka (J35) to Nanoose (J35) in 1943. Nootka was the second Canadian Tribal to be constructed in Canada and the second Canadian warship to circumnavigate the world. The ship was sold for scrap and broken up at Faslane, Scotland in 1965.

And, later in the article:

Motto: Tikegh mamook solleks (Ready to fight)

In Grand Ronde-style pronunciation, that’s tíki mamuk-sáliks (literally ‘want make-fight/angry’).

The word sáliks by itself means ‘to fight’ or ‘be angry’. ,I’ve encountered the expression < Klaska saliks kanamokst >, ‘They fight with each other.’ Literally, that’s ‘they fight together’. < Kanamokst > functions as a reciprocal pronoun in the Jargon, you see, as well as meaning literally ‘together’.

The more-or-less Causative form < mamook solleks > above means at modern Grand Ronde — remember, the language became people’s home speech there — ‘to scold’ someone!

(Insert joke about Canadian politeness.)

sorry eh

(Image credit:, eh)

(Okay, I passed up the Canadian whack-a-mole cartoon, eh. And the Canadian stealth bomber meme. And now I’m feeling like I should say sorry, because/although I have lots of Canadian ancestry.)

But spelled as < mamook silux > or < mamook salix >, it’s Harry Guillod’s expression for ‘to fight’ in his circa-1900 BC manuscript.

The same expression, < mam-ook sol-lux >, shows up earlier in FN Blanchet’s 1873 dictionary.

Coming from that source, it would seem the expression goes back to circa 1840, when Blanchet learned his Jargon in the early-creolized environment of the Fort Vancouver area.

So it’s grammatically solid.

FYI: for the Chinook Jargon motto, the article cites Arbuckle, J. Graeme (1987). Badges of the Canadian Navy. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Nimbus Publishing.

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