1906: A Wapato invitation

An addition to the post-frontier “Chinook invitations” file:

It’s not translated.

(The newspaper editor felt readers of the pioneer generation, who were the intended guests, would understand its rusty but good Chinuk Wawa.)

But a generation gap was emerging: this article is massively misspelled.

(The printer’s devil was too young to have a pioneer’s knowledge of the language he was typesetting from a handwritten manuscript.)

(As a result, we now have unusual trouble making out its details.)

wapato invite

A Wapato Invitation.

Tenas hyiu tetakmus tikeh Yahwa cha hea Wednesday polakly 18th, P.M. Hyiu
tənəs-háyú tílikam-s tíki yáwá cháku [1] wénzdey* púlakʰli 18th, p.m. háyú
little-many people-s want here come Wednesday evening 18th, p.m. much
‘Several folks want to come here Wednesday evening the 18th, p.m. There’ll be lots of’

tintin hyiu mamook tause kopa Dutchman hyas house, Spose mesika halo
tíntin, [2] háyú mamuk-táns, [3] kʰupa də́chmən háyás háws; [4] spos msayka hílu
music, much make-dance, at German big house; if you.folks not
‘music, lots of dancing, at the German hall; if you folks don’t’

chaheo mesika titakums kuttus tumtum.
cháku, msayka tílikam-s kʰə́ltəs-tə́mtəm. [5]
come, you.folks friend-s no.good-heart.
‘come, your friends will be disturbed.’

— from the Yakima (WA) Herald of May 2, 1906, page 6, column 2


tíki yáwá cháku [1]  — The way this is worded, it says a bunch of people want to come here, whereas what was intended was that they want you folks to come here; a pronoun was left out, either through lack of recent practice with the language, or due to that printer’s devil who I mentioned, or both. On the other hand, fluent Jargon is shown in the placing of the adverb ‘here’ before the verb ‘come’.

tíntin [2] for ‘music’ is the real McCoy. In other places, this word only means ‘bell’, but fluent Settlers understood it as ‘music’, as we’ve seen in other Chinook Jargon invitations.

mamuk-táns [3] as a noun ‘dancing’ is unusual. Just plain táns would be normal. However, the writer shows awareness of the differences between real Jargon & English, in that the former does typically express the verb ‘to dance’ with the mamuk- Causative prefix.

də́chmən háyás háws [4] — this almost certainly indicates a ‘German hall’, the headquarters of a fraternal/social organization where dances normally were held, such as we still have here in Spokane. If ‘the German (guy)’s large house’ had been meant, the writer would presumably have used yaka ‘his’ before ‘large house’.

kʰə́ltəs-tə́mtəm [5]  — ‘no.good heart’ literally — this is a novel expression to me, but it’s well-formed, and it may have been a locally common expression. (If it wasn’t another product of a pioneer’s atrophying Chinuk Wawa.)  

What do you think?