Parallel evidence that íxt means ‘one (other)’

In a separate article here about the concept of ‘crazy’, I write about a passage from the old Chinuk Pipa newspaper…

one another

(Image credit: EveryNation.org)

…And today I want to look at that same passage from a different angle.

I’m directing your attention to the underined stuff that follows:

Adam iaka tanas, hlwima klaska tlus,
Adam yaka tənás, x̣lúyma łaska łúsh,
Adam his child, other they good, 
‘Of Adam’s children, some were good,’

pi hlwima klaska piltin.
pi x̣lúyma łaska píltən.
and other they sinful.

‘and others were sinful.’

— from Kamloops Wawa #12[a] (February 7, 1892), page 47

Those occurrences of < hlwima > up above are super interesting.

Almost always, in all dialects and eras, this word is:

  1. either an attributive adjective meaning ‘other, another; different; strange’
  2. or a predicative adjective (stative verb) ‘to be different; to be strange’.

But here, this word is being used to set up a contrasting pair, ‘some…others’! It’s a rare way to use these words, but it’s one that I suspect is at least inspired by highly fluent Chinuk Wawa. (Even if it’s not strictly fluent in itself.)

Because all good CW uses the word < iht > (íxt in Grand Ronde spelling) not just in its fundamental sense ‘one’, but also as ‘another’.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that usage got strengthened early on, by the lower Columbia River creole CW  structure of “productive reduplication”. That structure, still found in Grand Ronde CW, places an unstressed copy of a predicative (not noun) root after that root, as in nánich-nanich ‘to be looking all around’. That example shows how the result is an expression of distributed occurrence.

Likewise, from early times CW has had an expression íxt-ixt ‘one to one, one with another; sometimes, once in a while, now and then’, as the 2012 Grand Ronde dictionary defines it. In other words, this is predicative íxt ‘to be (a single) one’ + a reduplication that adds the sense of ‘in different places / occurrences’. In sort of plainer English — ‘one and another’.

Now,  íxt-ixt has long been a very common expression in Chinuk Wawa. We find it in old sources, plus there’s the fact that it’s one of just two productive reduplications that survived transplantation to the northern climate of British Columbia. (The other is kahkah > (qʰáx̣-qʰax̣, literally ‘(some)where-(some)where) ‘here and there; in various places’.)

Which is just to argue that the reduplication íxt-ixt quite likely exerted an influence on the tendency for simplex íxt to mean ‘another’ as well as ‘1’.

However, as I’ve already observed in previous articles here, CW íxt all by its lonesome probably already carried a sense of ‘another one’. This is due to CW’s quite strong Salish heritage; all the way back to Proto-Salish times, which we can ballpark at easily 2000 years before the present era, the Salish root shaped more or less like *nk’wu meant ‘one; another; together’.

(In an scholarly paper I’ve written but not yet published, I argue that that root shows up in, of all places, the word Chinook!)

The general volley of this discussion today is that I see the CW pattern of using a single word meaning both ‘one’ and ‘another’ as ineradicably established in this pidgin-creole’s grammar from an early time.

So it’s a mere tiny unexpected step beyond that to finding at least some speakers using the word that fundamentally means ‘another / others’ as … ‘one / some’!

More or less as a postscript, let me specify that the BC Chinuk Wawa quotation above shows < hlwima > in use in a third function, as an indefinite pronoun. This too parallels what we already find established in CW with íxt. For instance, in the Grand Ronde dictionary’s entry for íxt, we find an example sentence íxt ya mítxwit tənəs-sáya ‘…one stands a little ways off’.

What do you think?