1912: Crazy co-inky-dink Indian schwa ad!

By a bizarre coincidence, this racist advertisement that (I’m guessing) puts Chinuk Wawa into the mouth of a wooden Indian also has the earliest “schwa” symbol I’ve ever seen!

This was decades before the “ə” symbol was in accepted use by linguists, or anyone else.

Here’s the most unique old representation of a stereotypical Indian “grunt” that I’ve ever found:

doe wash jack


Grim Chief of the Round Oak says: əqirt

“Hiyu close iktas kopa mesika tepee[;] 
close — charpo nanitch.”

(Lots of good things at our house — good — come and see)

— from the Farmers Hardware Co. advertisement in the Ellensburg (WA) Dawn of November 7, 1912, page 2, columns 1-2

That’s pretty decent post-frontier Jargon, bringing in the generic US English word te(e)pee (which comes from Lakota Siouan):

< Hiyu close iktas kopa mesika tepee[;] close — charpo nanitch. >
háyú łush íkta-s kʰupa msayka tʰípi*; łúsh cháku nánich.
many good thing-s for you.folks’ teepee; good come see.
‘(There are) lots of good things for you folks’ teepees; come see.’

(Click for another, schwa-less instance of the same ad.)

What do you think?