A Wakashan+Tsamosan co-etymology?
Very possibly a chance coincidence — but sometimes we find the most amazing resemblances among Chinuk Wawa’s input languages…
I’ll keep this brief.
I noticed an intriguing similarity of sound & meaning between these 2 languages, separated by an imposing stretch of rough seacoast.
(Or by many days’ overland travel through several nations’ traditional territories.)
- Nuučaan’uł Wakashan of Vancouver Island, BC — and therefore possibly also in the “Nootka Jargon” pidgin — mayink meaning ‘(dancer) join in completing a circuit (around the fire)’.
- £əw’ál’məš Lower Chehalis Salish, the co-home language of the Lower Chinookans — məyín’ət/ɬ ‘sing’.
The latter word is reported by John Kaye Gill’s 1909 dictionary edition as an obscure lower Columbia River Chinuk Wawa verb < my-ee-na >, also misprinted as < ny-ee-na >, meaning ‘sing’.
It’s not known from other CW source documents, so it wouldn’t seem to have been widely used.
I lack information on the morphological structure of the Nuučaan’uł word. Maybe it’s related to a set of root-forms m’a, m’aa, m’ee having to do with ‘biting’ and the ‘Wolf Ritual’, and a seeming suffix -ink(ʷ) ‘together’. (Can any of my readers help there?)
(Likely a stray observation, but maybe that’s what I’m trafficking in today — that -ink(ʷ) ‘together’ has a pleasing resemblance to the Proto-Salish root that means ‘one; together’ among other things, and which I’ve proposed is part of the etymology of the word “Chinook”.)
The CW word’s limited occurrence in “the literature” tends to rule out any idea of its having come north via CW.
Could the resemblance be pure chance?
Or, could it be a loan in the reverse direction, southward to £əw’ál’məš?
Might the slippage between the meanings be explainable as a byproduct of long-distance transmission through many intermediaries?
Just tossing this out there to see some reactions.