Another etymology or 2 for qʰéẋchi?

As we so often find, a Chinookan-language “particle” is said to be the historical source of Chinuk Wawa’s éẋchi ‘although, even though’.

in vain i tried

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This was an early-creolized CW word, reported by Demers-Blanchet-St Onge 1871 (i.e. circa 1840 data).


The Chinookan particle pointed out as an etymology for the CW word by the 2012 Grand Ronde Tribes dictionary is < qē’xtcē > ‘without reaching the desired end, endeavoring’, as recorded by Franz Boas from Q’lti (Charles Cultee), a Shoalwater-Clatsop Lower Chinookan speaker.


That English rendering of the old word’s meaning, as if it were ‘try but fail’, raises a really interesting side note. I recently wrote here about ways to express ‘try to do’ in CW. One of those ways Jargon has put the concept of ‘try’ has been tiki (mamuk) ‘want (to do)’. And if I squint, it’s just imaginable that éẋchi might have developed, at least in part, out of Chinookan and/or early-creolized Jargon ~ tq’iẋ/tiki + chxi (mamuk) ‘want + to.begin (to do)’! Indeed, several old sources do record a form for ‘although’ that matches this idea: < tickaerchy > in the Columbian newspaper (1853), < tick-air-chy > from James G. Swan (1857), and < tickackey > from Alexander Caulfield Anderson (1858). 


Make of that what you will, but another, semantically less clear, but a morphologically and phonologically stronger suggestion for an etymology comes courtesy of Boas himself. In his 1910 “Illustrative Sketch” of Lower Chinookan grammar based on Q’lti’s speech, he reports 2 particles that typically occur together: < tcx⋅ī > ‘a little while passed, then’, “…often following the conjunction < qiā’x > IF”. Thus, we’re told it was common in Chinookan to have a sequence < qiā’x tcx⋅ī >, although I’m having a hard time grasping its meaning or finding it in the “Chinook Texts“.


The Grand Ronde dictionary points out still another connection, noting that it’s possible CW k’áẋchi ‘uselessly, in vain’ comes from the same Chinookan source as éẋchi

What do you think?