1911: “A pioneer judge’s memory” has poignant Jargon coda


Alki Point, Seattle (image credit: Wikipedia)

A Pioneer Judge’s Memory includes a poignant coda in okay CJ:“In commenting upon the death of Judge J.R. Lewis a Seattle pioneer Editor [and ultra-reactionary] Edward Clayson of the Patriarch of Seattle, who is likewise a Puget Sound pioneer pays the following historic tribute to Judge Lewis’ memory:” and a few paragraphs of English ensue. Then:


The judge is dead, the prosecuting attorney is dead, the three sheriffs are dead, fourteen of the sixteen grand jurymen are dead. The only two still in existence are Edward Clayson, Sr., of Seattle, and E.C. Furgeson of Snohomish. Sick tum tum charco kopa nika. Konaway kopet tenas Alki.

— from the Seattle (WA) Republican of April 7, 1911, page 3, column 1

I myself am sad to say that this is rusty Chinuk Wawa from Clayson.

Due to what we linguists call “the animacy hierarchy”, it would be weird to make sick tum tum (a ‘sick heart’) the subject of a sentence; instead you’d make it the object, e.g. saying *nika tlap sick tum tum (‘I’ve gotten a sick heart’).

It also seems a bit of a reach to use Alki as a noun while speaking Jargon. This adverb (‘eventually’) was of course taken into Settlers’ English as the original name of Seattle, Washington. That’s why Clayson here says ‘Little Alki is all gone’. But for Chinook, and for a patriarch, that’s awful flowery.

What do you think?