mamuk-hayu- in BC CW, and the history of Reduplication

There are real grammar differences between the newer/northern and older/southern dialects, as I call them, of Chinuk Wawa…

Here’s one of them.


(Image credit: India Today)

Let’s start, though, with a couple of parallels between the two dialects.

(They’re exemplified by BC’s Father JMR Le Jeune in his Chinook Book of Devotions, and Oregon’s Grand Ronde creole in its 2012 dictionary.)

  1. Both have a Causative prefix mamuk- (usually pronounced munk- in Grand Ronde).
  2. Both have a Continuous action prefix hayu-.

But only one dialect can combine these prefixes into a single verb form; in the Chinook Book of Devotions I find; the object of each verb, expressed in the original text, is shown in parentheses: 

  • < mamuk-ayu-kakshit >     (page 84)
    ‘beat and beat (someone); beat (someone) to death’     
  • < mamuk-ayu-klatwa >     (page 124)
    ‘be nodding (one’s head)’

ín Grand Ronde speech, this combination of prefixes is absent (in the expected form munk-hayu-). This fact implies that early creolized CW of the Fort Vancouver era lacked such a pairing as well̄.

(I haven’t found it in Demers-Blanchet-St Onge 1871, or in Hale 1846. The single potential counterexample I know is written as < mamuk-aiu-k^ow > ‘entangle’ in St Onge’s 1892 manuscript dictionary of that dialect. But it is better explained as mámuk háyú k’áw ‘make many knots’, using neither of the prefixes we’re discussing, with a full-verb reading of mamuk as ‘to make, create’ and a noun reading of the root k^ow, which St O only rarely glosses as a stative verb ʹbound, tiedʹ.

Among the consequences of this finding, we can partly discount the otherwise apt explanation that earlier priests influenced later ones such as Le Jeune.)

Why the dialect difference here?

One way to consider this question is to ask, how would you say the equivalent of Causative-Continuous- in the older/southern dialect?

To my understanding, the equivalent is older/southern munk-Verb-Reduplication, because newer/northern hayu- is often equivalent to the productive RDUP. (Which is not a feature of the northern dialect’s grammar.)

RDUP conveys, not Continuous action (because older/southern dialect already has hayu- for that), but Distributed action. 

Quite interestingly, thereʹs no < mamuk- > Verb-RDUP in Demers-Blanchet-St Onge 1871, based on 1840s data! And there are scant indications of RDUP whatsoever there; only < tliHtliH > ‘scratch’ is apparent to me. From this observation I infer that productive reduplication in CW was

  • Not apparent to Blanchet and Demers, 
  • Rare or nonexistent still in CW, 
  • Or both of the above.

(By the same token, though, there’s not much sign of mamuk-hayu- in DBS 1871, which leaves us stuck with the question of how their CW expressed sentiments equivalent to ’cause to be continually doing’!)

It looks like we have the unusual luck of being able to approximately date a change in the Jargon’s grammar:

St Onge’s own manuscript of 1892 (1870s data) shows, by contrast, that RDUP was abundant in southern CW by then. Here are the Causativized examples of it that I found: 

  • < mamuk-k^ow-k^ow > ʹtangle, to’ (Causative-tied-RDUP)
  • < mamuk-kwan-kwan > ‘gladden’ (Causative-happy-RDUP)
  • < mamuk-loh^oloh^ > ‘slip, to’ (Causative-leaning-RDUP)
  • < mamuk-tlak-tlak > ‘tear, toʹ (Causative-torn-RDUP)
  • < mamuk-tlemin-tlemin > ‘smashʹ (Causative-soft-RDUP)
  • < mamuk-tlkop-tlkop > ‘mince; mangle’ (Causative-sliced-RDUP)

For what it’s worth, all of the above roots derive from originally Chinookan particles, and most or all of them could already be reduplicated in Chinookan, that is, before becoming part of Chinuk Wawa. All are Stative verbs, too — we’ll come back to that below.

Now, St Onge tends not to make a separate dictionary entry for a reduplication unless it’s part of a larger phrase, thus his < aias-aias > ‘immense’ is actually hayas(h)- ‘very’ + háyás(h) ‘big’. (And < tanas-tanas-leklu > ‘tack’ of course is tənəs- ‘Diminutive’ + tənəs-lekʰlú ‘brad’.)

We do find: 

  • < k^ah^-k^ah^-tomtom > ʹaimlessʹ (‘where-RDUP+heart/mind’)
  • < k^al-k^al-wawa > ‘stammer’ (‘hard-RDUP+speak’)
  • < kal-kal-tsok > ‘ice’ (‘hard-RDUP+water’)

…but all of these too involve old Chinookan particles (although St Onge’s spelling in ‘ice’ may be influenced by English-derived < kol > ‘cold’), and again all are Stative verbs!  

And we find this same pattern throughout the even fewer reduplications in the earliest substantial document of CW, which is Demers-Blanchet-St Onge 1871 (based on 1840s data).

I’m dwelling on these details because I think we might get something valuable out of them.

Father Le Jeune of Kamloops was a member of what we can call the 3rd Generation of Catholic missionary priests in the Pacific Northwest. (He arrived in 1875.) The 3rd Generation were taught Chinuk Wawa by:

The 2nd Generation, which included the lower Columbia region’s St Onge as well as Paul Durieu, who spent most of his career in BC. The 2nd Generation were taught by:

The 1st Generation, the pioneering CW linguists Demers and Blanchet. (You could include Lionnet, but his influence was quite limited for various reasons.) 

You see, the pattern there is of earlier, southern-dialect speakers training later, more northerly CW speakers. Whatever grammatical usages existed at the time the southern users learned the language influenced how the northerners went on to speak. 

As a result, you find Father Le Jeune up in BC (who flourished, as we scholars say, in the 1890s) using extremely few reduplications, and instead quite naturally expressing Causative Continuous events as mamuk-hayu-.  

Now, to tie up a loose end, I’ll briefly repeat something I think I’ve already written here in a previous post.

I’ve previously inferred that Productive Reduplications were present in early-creolized Chinuk Wawa, i.e. the older, southern dialect, as I’ve shown above.

And it would seem possible they were becoming more numerous over time, as 2nd Generation documentor St Onge’s 1892 dictionary has a bigger variety of them than 1st Generation D-B-S 1871. (However, the 1892 document is vastly larger in all respects than the 1871, so let’s take this with a grain of salt.) 

And yet, both of the above display Reduplication limited to old Chinookan particles that became CW Stative verbs. So we may be looking at a “merely” inherited pattern from before CW’s known era of existence.

Reduplication only expanded beyond that limit, as far as we’re aware, in the speech of the folks born at Grand Ronde between the reservation’s found circa 1856 and the turn of the century. These kids, who grew up in environment that already relied on early-creolized Jargon, beautifully elaborated on the patterns that they found in the language, giving us what’s now the “elders’ Chinuk Wawa” so wonderfully taught by the Grand Ronde tribes.

And one of the ways those kids brought more life to the language was to expand Reduplication to many more roots, potentially to any Active or Stative verb.

So in the 2012 Grand Ronde Tribes dictionary, we see plenty of verb roots that aren’t derived from old Chinookan particles, that freely get Reduplicated:

  • kúri-kuri ‘run and run, keep running, run all around’ (run-RDUP) from a Canadian French root
  • nánich-nanich ‘look and look, keep on looking; carefully examine; stare at’ (‘see-RDUP’) from a Nootka (Nuučaan’uł) Jargon root
  • q’áyʔwa-q’ayʔwa ‘all crooked, every which way’ (crooked-RDUP) from a Salish root
  • kʰíláy-kʰilay ‘cry and cry’ (cry-RDUP) from an English root

Of course those kids didn’t know or care about the etymologies of words. They were just plain applying a sensible pattern to the vocabulary that they and their families were speaking every day. 

I gotta go shopping at Costco, so I’m going to finish up right there. I hope you’ve gotten a good illustration of the diverging dialects of Jargon through history!

What do you think?