tq’iẋ = q’at?

Here’s a new etymological thought…

i want love

(Image credit: Rungitom)

Might Lower Chinookan tq’iẋ ‘like, want’ and q’at ‘love’ be historically related?

Here are reasons why Salish comes to my mind in this connection: 

For the shape of Chinuk Wawa’s tq’i, which is the earlier form of current CW tiki ‘want, like’, perhaps we can compare Proto-Salish *təq ‘to pin down, touch; obstruct’. The ancient P-S form is reflected in a modern southwest Washington (i.e. “Tsamosan”) Salish language, Upper Chehalis, as təq- ‘close, be stuck, shut’. The closely related Lower Cowlitz has the same root, as well as a possibly related təq’- ‘middle, close together, next to’. Could ‘touch’ or ‘be next to’, for instance, have become an Indigenous metaphor for ‘to like’? We’ve seen plenty of Native metaphors in the articles I’ve posted on this site. 

For the shape and meaning of CW q’at ‘love’, we know that this word has solid etymologies in both Lower Chinookan and SW WA Salish, e.g. in the latter we see Lower Cowlitz qat- ‘pet; like’ and Upper Chehalis qat- ‘like’. The 2012 Grand Ronde Tribes CW dictionary notes a Shoalwater-Clatsop Lower Chinookan q’at ‘to love’; I’ll add that an identical form shows up in Kathlamet [Lower Chinookan] Texts 1901:166.

(For ‘love’ in Upper Chinookan, I find only a Clackamas tGi shape that’s related to tq’iẋ, and in Kiksht/Wasco/Wishram I’m not finding a word for it. This distribution is suggestive, as we have seen in my articles on this site that there’s a strong pattern of only the Lower Chinookan languages having words that match Salish. By the way, the tq’iform is found in all Chinookan languages, with the meaning ‘want’.)  

Regarding the difference between the Salish q and Chinookan q’ seen above, it’s interesting that Chinookan languages allow you to mutate a “plain” consonant such as into an ejective q’ to show a Diminutive (and emotionally charged) meaning. Salish languages, although historically they have some minor variations in ejectivity, do not freely do this. This shows that the 2 roots we’re discussing here could’ve come from Salish to Lower Chinookan, but less likely vice versa.

The metathesis that I’m suggesting might have rearranged the consonants in one root to give us the other one is historically typical of the entire Salish language family. It’s a type of change that’s essentially unknown in Chinookan. Since the qat- root shape only has the ‘love’ meaning, it’s unlikely to have been the original from which the təq- ‘close, be stuck’ shape could have been created. Plus, the təq- shape is found across the Salish family, even outside of SW Washington, which supports the idea of its being relatively ancient.

So we can reconstruct a fairly likely chain of historical linguistic events, starting with Salish təq-, leading to Salish qat-and then 2 loans to Lower Chinookan, tq’i and q’at. The tq’i form is perhaps explainable as təq(‘) plus the Chinookan suffix (or verb root?) –ẋ ‘become; make’.

Alternatively, the two sets of languages “just happen” to have closely resemblant forms for two semantically similar concepts!

In either case, I imagine the known cognate tq’i‘stingy with, possessive of’ in the unrelated Sahaptin language must be a loan from Chinookan, given its form and its divergent meaning. 

What do you think?