Lower Chehalis ‘beads’ & Chinuk Wawa?

trade beads fort vancouver

Trade beads, Fort Vancouver (image credit: Syracuse University)

Stringing together a couple of speculations here…

The Chinuk Wawa for ‘beads’ is kamúsaq, historically documented at least as early as the Lewis and Clark expedition’s (1805-1806) Jargon < cammoshuck >.

It’s known as a Lower Chinookan noun stem, which may be the source of the CW form.

But, maybe by coincidence, local Salish has a remarkably similar word.

Lower Chehalis and Quinault have t’əmə́x̣ʷqs for ‘beads’, documented at least since James G. Swan’s (1857; data from earlier in the 1850s) < tar-moʹhoks > ‘beads’.

(This is different from the ‘bead’ words documented in the other two SW WA Salish languages, Upper Chehalis and Lower Cowlitz.)

I can’t claim there’s a plausible Salish etymology for the Jargon word.

I don’t even have an analysis of the Salish word yet!

It resembles a Salish stem meaning ‘gooseberry’, a root meaning ‘cut’, and a suffix meaning ‘point, end, nose’, as well as to the root for ‘tie (a knot)’ in the modern languages.

Nor do I have a morphological breakdown of the Lower Chinookan word at this time, but it’s a long enough stem that I feel it’s worth thinking about that issue.

So I guess I’m only starting to develop this thread…

What do you think?