Songs of LBDB: Part 5 (Ben Bolt)

Bigbenboltpanel071250

Boxing: the reason Ben doesn’t remember? “Big Ben Bolt” comic strip panel, 1950 (image credit:Wikipedia)

Mrs. Bartlett, do you remember how they spoke Chinook on the frontier?

Here you go, another popular song by Stephen Foster getting Chinooked with unsatisfactory results… (Hear the original here.)

ben bolt 01

ben bolt 02

asfd

BEN BOLT.

Ict.
íxt.
one.
DDR: ‘First [verse].’
LBDB: ‘1’

Nah! wake kopet kum-tux t’see Alice, Ben Bolt,
ná! wík kʰəpít-kə́mtəks t’sí Ális*, Bén Bólt, [1]
hey! not finish-know sweet Alice
DDR: ‘Hey! Don’t forget sweet Alice, Ben Bolt,’
LBDB: ‘O! don’t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt,’
T’see Alice, klaksta yet-so tenas klale,
t’sí Ális, ɬáksta yáqsuʔ tənəs-ɬíʔil, [2]
sweet Alice, who? hair little-dark,
DDR: ‘Sweet Alice, whoever’s hair is brown,’
LBDB: ‘Sweet Alice, with hair so brown.’
Yah-ka cly, kah-kwa hee-hee, spose mika se-owist klosh.
yaka kʰláy, kákwa híhi, spus* mayka siyáxust ɬúsh. [3]
she cry, like laugh, if your face good.
DDR: ‘She cried like laughing, if your face was good.’
LBDB: ‘She wept with delight when you gave her a smile,’
Pee hul-hul, kah-kwa kwass mika sullux;
pi x̣ə́ləl-x̣ələl, kákwa k’wás mayka sáliks; [4]
and shake, like afraid you angry;
DDR: ‘And shook like afraid of your anger*;’
LBDB: ‘And trembled with fear at your frown.’
Mitlite ole chuch illahee, kee-kwilla, Ben Bolt,
míłayt úl chách*-ílihi, kíkwile, Ben Bolt,
there’s old church-place, below, Ben Bolt,
DDR: ‘There’s the old churchyard, down there, Ben Bolt,’
LBDB: ‘In the old church yard, in the valley, Ben Bolt,’
Tenas yah-wa halo nanich copet ict,
tənəs*(-)yawá hílu nánich kʰəpit-íxt, [5]
little-there not see only-one,
DDR: ‘A bit over there* not seeing alone,’
LBDB: ‘In a corner obscure and alone,’
Yah-ka marsh le-plash, mamook stone le-glay.
yaka másh laplásh, mámuk stún legléy. [6]
she/he throw board, make rock grey.
DDR: ‘She threw a board, made a rock grey.’
LBDB: ‘They have fitted a slab of granite so grey,’
T’see Alice, kee-kwilla kopa stone,
t’sí Ális, kíkwəle* kʰupa stún, 
sweet Alice, below from rock,
DDR: ‘Sweet Alice, under a rock,’
LBDB: ‘And sweet Alice lies under the stone,’
Yah-ka marsh le-plash, mamook stone le-glay,
yaka másh laplásh, mámuk stún legléy, 
yaka másh laplásh, mámuk stún legléy. 
DDR: ‘She threw a board, made a rock grey.’
LBDB: ‘They have fitted a slab of granite so grey,’
T’see Alice, kee-kwilla kopa stone.
t’sí Ális, kíkwəle* kʰupa stún. 
sweet Alice, below from rock.
DDR: ‘Sweet Alice, under a rock.’
LBDB: ‘And sweet Alice lies under the stone.’

Mox.
mákwst.
two.
DDR: ‘Second [verse].’
LBDB: ‘2’

Wake kopet kum-tux okoke stick, Ben Bolt,
wík kʰəpít-kə́mtəks úkuk stík, Bén Bólt,
not finish-know that tree, Ben Bolt,
DDR: ‘Don’t forget that tree, Ben Bolt,’
LBDB: ‘Don’t you remember the wood, Ben Bolt,’
Tenas si-yah te’wagh whem lemoti,
tənəs-sayá t’wáx̣ xwə́m* lamətáy, [7]
little-far bright fallen* mountain,
DDR: ‘A little ways away it’s a bright fallen mountain,’
LBDB: ‘Near the green sunny slope of the hill.’
Konsi, nesika shunta, kee-kwilla hy-as stick.
qʰántsi(,) nsayka shánte*, kíkwəle* háyás stík. 
when* we sing, below big tree.
DDR: ‘When we sing under a big tree.”
LBDB: ‘Where oft we have sung neath its wide-spreading shade,’
Pee ko-ko kah-kwa wau-wau okoke moo-lah;
pi q’wə́ɬ-q’wəɬ* kákwa wáwa úkuk mulá*; [8]
and hit-Reduplication like* talk that mill,
DDR: ‘And knock like that mill talks;’
LBDB: ‘And kept time to the klick of the mill.’
Alta okoke moo-lah chaco halo Ben Bolt,
álta úkuk mulá chaku-hílu Ben Bolt,
now that mill become-nothing Ben Bolt,
DDR: ‘Now that mill is gone, Ben Bolt,’
LBDB: ‘The mill has gone to decay, Ben Bolt,’
Wake la’tlah, konaway kah,
wík letlá, kʰánawi-qʰá(x̣), 
not noise, all-where,
DDR: ‘It’s not a noise, everywhere,’
LBDB: ‘And a quiet now reigns all around;’
Nanich ole stick pee house, kah-kwa tupso t’see
nánich úl stík pi háws, kákwa tə́psu* t’sí [9]
see old tree and house, like plant sweet
DDR: ‘See the old tree and house, like a plant it’s* sweet”
LBDB: ‘See the old rustic porch, with its roses so sweet.’
Mamook konaway, kah kee-kwilla illahee,
mámuk kʰánawi-qʰá(x̣)(,) kíkwəle ílihi, [10]
make every-where below ground,
DDR: ‘Make everywhere under the ground,’
LBDB: ‘Lies scattered and fallen to the ground.’
Nanich ole stick pee house, kah-wka tupso t’see
nánich úl stík pi háws, kákwa tə́psu* t’sí 
see old tree and house, like plant sweet
DDR: ‘See the old tree and house, like a plant it’s* sweet”
LBDB: ‘See the old rustic porch, with its roses so sweet.’
Mamook konaway kah kee-kwilla illahee.
mámuk kʰánawi-qʰá(x̣)(,) kíkwəle ílihi, 
make every-where below ground,
DDR: ‘Make everywhere under the ground,’
LBDB: ‘Lies scattered and fallen to the ground.’

Klone.
ɬún.
three.
DDR: ‘Third [verse].’
LBDB: ‘3’

Wake kopet kum-tux, okoke kum-tux house Ben Bolt,
wík kʰəpít-kə́mtəks(,) úkuk kə́mtəks-háws Ben Bolt, [11]
not finish-know(,) that know-house Ben Bolt,
DDR: ‘Don’t forget that school Ben Bolt,’
LBDB: ‘Oh! don’t you remember the school, Ben Bolt,’
Mamook kum-tux man, delate hy-as klosh,
mamuk-kə́mtəks-mán, dlét hayas-ɬúsh, [12]
Cause-know-man, really very-good,
DDR: ‘The teacher, really excellent,’
LBDB: ‘And the master, so kind and so true,’
Klosh tenas illahee, wake siyah cooley chuck,
ɬúsh tənəs-ílihi, wík-sayá kúli-chə́qw, [13]
good little-place, not-far run-water,
DDR: ‘The nice island*, near the stream,’
LBDB: ‘And the little nook, by the clear running brook.’
Kah nesika iskum tupso, chaco hy-as.
qʰá(x̣) nsayka ískam tə́psu(,) chaku-háyas. 
where we get plan become-big.
DDR: ‘Where we gathered plants that were growing.’
LBDB: ‘Where we gathered the flowers as they grew?’
Kopa kum-tux man, mamoloos house, hy-iu tupso,
kʰupa kə́mtəks-mán méməlus-háws, Ø háyú tə́psu, [14]
at know-man dead-house, exist much plant,
DDR: ‘At the teacher(‘s) grave there are lots of plants,’
LBDB: ‘On master’s grave grows the grass, Ben Bolt,’
Pee tenas cooley chuck chaco dly,
pi tə́nəs-kúli-chə́qw chaku-dláy. 
and little-run-water become-dry.
DDR: ‘And the little stream has dried up.’
LBDB: ‘And the running little brook is now dry,’
Konaway nesika tellicum mitlite kum-tux house,
kʰánawi nsayka tílikam míɬayt Ø kə́mtəks-háws, 
all our friend be.located at know-house,
DDR: ‘All our friends who were at school,’
LBDB: ‘And of all the friends who were school mates then.’
Yah-kwa mitlite Ben, kopet kona-mox
yakwá míɬayt(,) Ben, kʰəpít kʰanumákwst [15]
here there’s, Ben, only together
DDR: ‘Here there’s Ben, only together’
LBDB: ‘There remains, Ben, but you and I,’
Konaway nesika tellicum, mitlite kum-tux house,
kʰánawi nsayka tílikam míɬayt Ø kə́mtəks-háws, 
all our friend be.located at know-house,
DDR: ‘All our friends who were at school,’
LBDB: ‘And of all the friends who were school mates then.’
Yah-kwa mitlite Ben, kopet kona-mox.
yakwá míɬayt(,) Ben, kʰəpít kʰanumákwst
here there’s, Ben, only together.
DDR: ‘Here there’s Ben, only together’
LBDB: ‘There remains, Ben, but you and I.’

Comments:

ná! wík kʰəpít-kə́mtəks t’sí Ális*, Bén Bólt [1] — The first verb, being subjectless, is a command ‘don’t forget’; the intended sense of asking whether Ben remembers would be restored by the addition of mayka ‘you’. The use of t’sí ‘sweet’ to describe a human is a metaphor I don’t encounter in documents of spontaneous Jargon speech, perhaps because it’s flowery talk, which I’ve previously shown this language shies away from.

t’sí Ális, ɬáksta yáqsuʔ tənəs-ɬíʔil [2] — The ɬáksta here is normally a question-word ‘who?’, and in some Jargon dialects it can also modify a noun, with a meaning ‘which (one)?’ This word isn’t documented in LBDB’s relative-clause marker use, though, so I find it clunky to understand and translate. (Compare Verse 3, Line 4 for the usual Jargon way to form a relative clause, i.e. without any special word for ‘that’/’which’/’who’.)

yaka kʰláy, kákwa híhi, spus* mayka siyáxust ɬúsh. [3] Here LBDB appears to be using spus to convey the relative time, ‘when’. That usage is more typical of the northern dialect, whereas the Lower Columbia dialect prefers qʰántsi (compare Verse 2, Line 3).

pi x̣ə́ləl-x̣ələl, kákwa k’wás mayka sáliks [4] — The kakwa here is a challenge. In her songs LBDB uses this word quite a lot in ways that are idiosyncratic to her. She may have intended it here to mean ‘as’, that is as a synonym for ‘while; when’.  

tənəs*(-)yawá hílu nánich kʰəpit-íxt [5] — The start of this line might be 2 words tənəs* yawá ‘a little bit thataway’, or it could be a Diminutive tənəs*-yawá, which would be a usage unknown in well-documented Chinuk Wawa. The other day I noted a usage of hers that’s similar to the latter option. 

yaka másh laplásh, mámuk stún legléy. [6] Here LBDB plausibly intended yaka (fundamentally ‘she/he’) to mean ‘they’, which is a usage extremely solidly documented in northern dialects. The last 3 words of the line are just not a great translation; there isn’t any way to understand them besides ‘made/making a rock (be) grey’.

tənəs-sayá t’wáx̣ xwə́m* lamətáy [7] is also very hard to interpret. LBDB would be closer to the original English line’s ‘near [to]’ if she added the all-purpose preposition kʰapa after tənəs-sayá. But the very rare word xwə́m* ‘fallen’ is no help…

pi q’wə́ɬ-q’wəɬ* kákwa wáwa úkuk mulá* [8] is a more or less understandable metaphor, and I’d say it successfully manages a different but similar form of expression to the English line.

nánich úl stík pi háws, kákwa tə́psu* t’sí [9] is grammatical but again it relies on a metaphorical use of ‘sweet’ that’s not typical of Jargon.

mámuk kʰánawi-qʰá(x̣)(,) kíkwəle ílihi [10] — I’ve modified the punctuation to get a little more sense out of the Jargon line. It still doesn’t make much sense. 

wík kʰəpít-kə́mtəks(,) úkuk kə́mtəks-háws Ben Bolt, [11] — Here I’m delighted to find LBDB using an expression that my research has shown to be a genuine old Lower Columbia CW expression for ‘school’.

mamuk-kə́mtəks-mán, dlét hayas-ɬúsh [12] And here LBDB uses a related old expression for ‘teacher’.

ɬúsh tənəs-ílihi, wík-sayá kúli-chə́qw [13] — As you may realize, tənəs-ílihi is the normal way to say ‘island’ (not ‘nook’, whatever you imagine that’d be in CW); so it’s a little odd to read about an island not far from the stream!

kʰupa kə́mtəks-mán méməlus-háws, Ø háyú tə́psu [14] Here’s a variant on that old expression for ‘teacher’, and it’s the grammatical possessor of ‘grave’ — using a distinctive lower Columbia possessive form that omits the usual yaka ‘his’. (What I’m saying is it’d be more normal to say kə́mtəks-mán yaka méməlus-háws.) Another delightful old genuine CW term here is méməlus-háws for ‘grave’, which I’ve written about on this site previously.

yakwá míɬayt(,) Ben, kʰəpít kʰanumákwst [15] — The syntax here is tortured. Even in English, we don’t really often throw a term of address into the middle of a simple declarative sentence. And this CW line is even tougher to understand because of LBDB’s reliance on a common pioneer assumption that kʰanumákwst ‘together; (to) each other’ is literally kʰánawi mákwst ‘all two, i.e. both’. I leave it to you to work out why LBDB’s meaning, if it were valid (it’s not), would work perfectly okay. So we can understand why she wrote what she wrote in this line, but we can’t endorse it.

ben bolt 03

ben bolt 04

So once again, there’s this odd collision between Mrs. Bartlett’s 100% real, fluent pioneer-era Chinuk Wawa, and the deformations it underwent when she tried to make it be like English poetry!

What do you think?