How many commandments is this, total? :) (10 Commandments, Part 4)

10cc kamloops title

So now we’ve looked at “10 Commandments” translations from a pioneer girl, 3 British preachers, and an American crank…

…How could things get any weirder?

I have the answer to that question, and it’s a surprisig source — the normally sedate religious newspaper out of Kamloops!

We’ve previously seen the Ten Commandments as a 1903 Jargon hymn from the Kamloops Wawa newspaper.

(See “Crowdsourcing: What’s the Tune to This Chinook Hymn?“)

I’m going to present that anew here, to go into greater analysis and to show you why the non-musical version below is such a huge surprise!

Okay — here’s the 10CC hymn:


Mamuk haha S[ahali] T[aii],
mamuk-x̣aʔx̣aʔ sáx̣ali-táyí, 
make-holy above-chief,
‘Worship God,’

kwansim aias tiki iaka;
kwánsəm hayas-tíki yaka; 
always him;
‘always love him;’ 

tlus ilo kansih mamuk nim
(t)łúsh (h)ílu-qántsix̣ mamuk-ním 
good not-any.time make-name
‘never say the name of’

ST kopa kaltash.
sáx̣ali-táyí kʰupa kʰə́ltəsh. 
above-chief in no-purpose.
‘God for no good reason.’


Ilo mamuk kopa Sondi
(h)ílu mámuk kʰupa sánti
not work on Sunday
‘Don’t work on Sundays’

pi tlus nanich maika styuil;
pi (t)łúsh nánich mayka st’íwiʔəł; 
and good-watch your prayer;
‘and pay attention to your prayers;’

hilp maika papa pi mama,
hélp maika pápá pi mámá, 
help your father and mother,
‘help your father and mother,’

kakwa maika lili mitlait.
kákwa mayka líli míłayt. 
that.way you long.time live.
‘so you’ll live long.’


Wik mamuk mimlus klaksta man
wík mamuk-míməlus łáksta-mán(,) 
not make-dead anyone-person(,)
‘Don’t kill any person,’

wik tiki pus klaksta mimlus;
wík tíki pus łáksta míməlus; 
not want in.order.that anyone die;
‘don’t wish anyone dead;’

wik mamuk shim maika itluil
wík mamuk-shím mayka íłwəl(i) 
not make-shame your flesh
‘don’t bring shame to your body’

pi wik tomtom kopa kakwa.
pi wík tə́mtəm kʰupa kákwa. 
and not think about being.that.way.
‘and don’t think of doing so.’


Wik kansih maika kapshwala
wík-qántsix̣ mayka kapshwála
not-any.time you steal
‘Never steal’

hloima man iaka iktas;
x̣lúyma mán yaka íkta-s; 
other person his thing-s;
‘another person’s property;’

ilo wiht maika tliminhwit
(h)ílu wə́x̣t mayka t’łəmínxwət 
not also you tell.lies
‘don’t lie either’

pi wik lolo kaltash siisim.
pi wík lúlu kʰə́ltəsh syə́tsəm. 
and not carry worthless news.
‘and don’t spread gossip.’


Wik tomtom kopa masachi
wík tə́mtəm kʰupa masáchi(,) 
not think about evil.thing(,)
‘Don’t think of evil things,’

aiak kilapai maika tomtom;
áyáq k’ílapay mayka tə́mtəm; 
quickly turn your heart;
‘be quick to turn your mind away;’

wik wiht maika ayu tiki
wík wə́x̣t mayka (h)ayu-tíki 
not also you much-want
‘neither should you long to’

tlap klaksta man iaka iktas.
t’łáp łáksta mán yaka ikta-s. 
get anyone person his thing-s.
‘get any person’s property.’

— from Kamloops Wawa #207 (December 1903), page 116

I have no great commentary to offer about this hymn, as it appears to be in excellent BC Chinuk Wawa and, typically for the Catholic missionaries there, is very good at expressing what it means. I do notice that it differs from the first 3 translations in our mini-series, in that it’s not focused on sexual morality (‘doing nasty things with women’).

Anyhow, now to the prose version of the Commandments, in the form of an excerpt from the Chinuk Pipa (‘Chinook Writing’ — i.e. shorthand alphabet) book “Chinook Bible History“:

10cc kamloops 01

10cc kamloops 02

<1.> Kopit iht naika ST: wik maika iskom ikta pus mamuk ST iaka [SIC].
<2.> Wik maika mamuk kaltash iaka nim ST.
<3.> Tlus nanish sabat son, “Sondi”.
<4.> Tlus nanich maika papa pi maika mama.
<5.> Wik maika mamuk mimlus klaksta.
<6.> Wik maika mamuk masachi kanamokst kluchmin.
<7.> Wik maika kapshwala ikta.
<8.> Wik maika tliminuit.
<9.> Wik maika mamuk tomtom pus mamuk masashi kanamokst kluchmin.
<10.> Wik maika mamuk tomtom pus maika kapshwala hloima tilikom
klaska iktas.

— from Kamloops Wawa #118[a] (July 1894), page 16

My readers may be noticing that I’m passing up the chance to comment on the details of that passage. Very un-me! 🙂 The reason?


This is the same vicious problem that plagued dictionary after Chinook dictionary (see the fine 1978 dissertation by Samuel V. Johnson) has crept into the religious sphere!

Here Father Le Jeune has silently stolen the 10 Commandments from the 1898 “Indian Methodist Hymn-Book”. INSERT LINK.

That’s amazing! In 1903, it was far from kosher for Catholics & Protestants to acknowledge each other’s work as legitimate.

It’s less stunning that Le Jeune refrained from crediting C.M. Tate et al. for their original work translating these rules into Jargon. Just think if he had publicly said he was getting good use out of their heretical ideas!

I think what struck me the most forcefully as I read this in Kamloops Wawa #118[a] was a feeling of strangeness. The grammar in these 10 Commandments is far less fluent & the level of expressiveness far less clear than the thousands of words of Chinook Jargon surrounding it in the same newspaper.

(Which reinforces my claim, in my article about the original 1898 Indian Methodist translation, that that’s mediocre piece of work indeed.)

All in all, this mini-series about all the known Chinuk Wawa versions of the “10CC” has demonstrated how greatly people’s translations can vary.

And contrary to some previous scholars’ prejudice against even looking at religious materials in North American Indigenous languages, I hope I’ve shown you that there is a great deal of useful information there, regarding this language’s history, grammar, and usage.

Kata maika tumtum?
What do you think?