Chinuk Wawa in a Stó:lō hymn book (Part 9: “Tell It to Jesus”)

tell it to jesus image

(Image credit: Youtube)


The second of three fragmentary translations, choruses only.

In our previous installment, we found that the translation may have been called off once the missionaries found they were struggling with the chorus.

Let’s see what develops with this similarly brief sample of song…

tell it to jesus

(“Are You Weary, Are You Heavy Hearted?”, Jeremiah Eames Rankin, 1878)

Klosh mika waw-waw, klosh mika waw-waw
łúsh mayka wáwa, łúsh mayka wáwa 
good you talk, good you talk
DDR: ‘You should talk, you should talk’
Original: ‘Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,’
     Kopa Jesus, mika delate tilikum;
     kʰapa djísəs, mayka dlét tílikam;
     to Jesus, your real friend; 

     DDR: ‘To Jesus, your real friend;’
     Original: ‘He is a friend that’s well-known;’
Halo huloima tilikum kawkwa Jesus,
hílu x̣lúyma tílikam kákwa djisəs, [1]
there’s.not different friend like Jesus,
DDR: ‘There’s no strange friend like Jesus,’

Original: ‘You’ve no other such a friend or brother,’
     Klosh mika waw-waw kopa yaka.
     łúsh mayka wáwa kʰupa yáka.
     good you talk to him.
     DDR: ‘You should talk to him.’
     Original: ‘Tell it to Jesus alone.’

Comments (well, just one) on #2:

hílu x̣lúyma tílikam kákwa djisəs [1] ‘There’s no strange friend like Jesus’ — It’s sometimes tricky for folks who come from a European-language background (such as English) to manage how they say ‘different’ in Chinuk Wawa. The word used here, x̣lúyma, contains an overtone of ‘strangeness’, which I feel sure is not what the three-man Methodist missionary translating team would ever want to convey. If anything, the hymns they tried converting into Jargon emphasize the notion of Jesus as your familiar ol’ pal. In my evaluation, we see here once again the common failure of White frontier learners to grasp that Jargon íxt means not just ‘one’ but, by constant implication, ‘another; a different one’. Had these 3 fellas realized that, I believe we’d see < ikt > here rather than the somewhat mistaken < huloima >

Summary of #2:

All in all this lyrical fragment is more of a success than much of what we’ve seen this Methodist team come up with. There’s the issue of making Jesus sound like a freak, as mentioned, and the final line doesn’t really verbalize in Chinook the English original’s “tell it to Jesus alone“. But this is pretty decent translation work.

What do you think?