1894: A bilingual CJ-French shorthand text

A nice Rosetta Stone for deciphering Chinuk Pipa and shorthand French…

…a bilingual Genesis 1.

Many languages appear in shorthand in the newspaper Kamloops Wawa (launched 1891).

Ironically the hardest for me to read, because it’s in the most unique version of the Duployan alphabet, is the material in French.

That irony comes from the fact that this shorthand alphabet was originally invented in order to write French.

Me, I’m far better at reading Chinuk Wawa, 8 Salish languages, English, and Latin in the shorthand. All of those are in simpler versions of Duployan, using for example far smaller selections of vowel symbols.

So, as I’ve gone through every findable issue of Kamloops Wawa (around 250 of them so far!), transcribing them so they can go into a searchable database as well as help me create the biggest CW dictionary ever…

…it helps a lot whenever editor JMR Le Jeune happens to present a shorthand French text along with some kind of “key”, whether it’s French written in normal Roman letters (which I can handle), or the sort of bilingual text we see below.

Quite nicely, this Rosetta Stone arrangement also gives us a fair idea of how a native French speaker thought about the meanings of Jargon words and phrases.

Have a look at a sample of what I”m talking about.

Here as usual, I bold the Jargon material.

The shorthand French is in what I take as the average Kamloops Wawa reader’s view of it, if they were to take the time to figure out the special nasal vowel symbols and such that Le Jeune sometimes printed charts of.

Let’s be clear, a native speaker of French, educated in Duployan shorthand — which was tremendously popular at the time — would have no difficulties reading this stuff. (Although I think we catch Le Jeune in a couple of minor slips, as you may notice below.)

These squiggles are murder on a foreign, mediocre French student like me, and I bet they’d be tough for many a present-day French person as well.

You should see how my brow furrows when I run into pages & pages of Le Jeune’s, and other BC priests’, shorthand French without any clues provided as to what it says!!

Maybe by posting this, I’ll wind up recruiting some fluent francophones to figure out the funny figures filling a fair fraction of Kamloops Wawa!

version chinook

[first column:]

Ankati (Otrfwa) Autrefois
ST (Diyu) Dieu
mamuk (fi) fit
sahali (li o) les eaux
ilihi (la tir) la terre
pi (i pyui) et puis
ukuk (sit) cette
ilihi. (tir). terre.
Kopa (O) Au
ilip, (prmii,) premier,  
kopit (riĩ k) rien que
chok (d lo) de l’eau
pi (i pyui) et puis
pulakli (la nyui) la nuit
mitlait (iti) était
kopa (syur) sur
ukuk (sit) cette…

[second column:]

< Traduction. > Otrfwa Diyu fi l siil i
                             Autrefois Dieu fit le ciel et

la tir. Tu dabor, il ni avi syur sit
la terre. Tout d’abord, il n’y avait sur cette 

tir k d lo i li tinibr, e Diyu di:
terre que de l’eau et les ténèbres, et Dieu dit:  

K la lyumiir swa fet. A lĩstã [SIC?] la lyumiir fyu
Que la lumière soit faite. A l’instant la lumière fut  

fet syur la tir. Diyu fi sla l prmii
faite sur la terre. Dieu fit cela le premier 

shur. L skõ shur, Diyu fi s firmamã k
jour. Le second jour, Dieu fit ce firmament que 

nu vwaiõ ã o. L trwasiim shur, il rasãbla
nous voyons en haut. Le troisième jour, il rassembla 

li o okil il don [SIC?] l nõ d o sali,
les eaux auxquels il donne [?] le nom d’eau salé, 

mer. Apri sla il di pur k la tir s
mer. Après cela il dit pour que la terre se 

disicha [SIC]. Syur sit tir sesh il fi
dessécha [?]. Sur cette terre sèche il fit 

pusi tut ispis dirb, darbr e d
pousser [?] toute espèce d’herbe, d’arbre et de 

fyutr [SIC? for fryui?]. L katriim shur Diyu fi l solii
fruit [?]. Le quatrième jour Dieu fit le soleil(,) 

lalyun e li itwal dã l firmamã.
la lune et les étoiles dans le firmament. 

(A rough translation: ‘Once God made the sky and
Earth. First of all, there was on this
earth only water and darkness, and God said:
Let there be light. At that moment the light was
made on earth. God did this first
day. On the second day, God made that firmament that
we see above. On the third day he gathered
the waters by which he calls [?] the name salt water,
sea. After that he said for the earth to get dry [?]. On this dry land he made
grow [?] every kind of grass, tree and
fruit [?]. On the fourth day God made the sun(,)
the moon and the stars in the firmament.’)

<Notes.> ST: < S.T. > abrishi d
                 ST: < S.T. > abrégé de
‘ST: abbreviated from’

sahali taii, dã o l shef, l shef
sahali taiidans haut le chef, le chef
sahali taii, [literally] “up above(,) the chief”, the chief’

dã o, Diyu.
d’en haut, Dieu.
‘of up above, God.’

— from Kamloops Wawa #121, October 1894, page 170

What do you think?