1888: A sermon by Myron Eells (part 2)

The second page (page 33) of this sermon, published in Horatio Hale’s popular book about Chinuk Wawa titled “An International Idiom” (1890).

international idioms

(Image credit: tes.com)

This is in the northern dialect.

A reminder that the first line here is Eells’s spelling of his CW message, the second line is my modernized spelling, the third and fourth lines are Eells’s own explanation of what each word means and his translation into English. Anything else is my commentary. *Asterisked* CW words are my inferred pronunciations of words not found in the established dictionaries — but we actually do know, from audio recordings of songs written by Eells, that ‘Jesus’ was indeed said djísəs.

Our previous installment ended with the start of the first sentence below: ‘He said to them: “It is good that you…” ‘

…mesika klatawa kopa konoway illahee, konoway kah, pe
…msayka ɬátwa kʰupa kánawi ílihi, kánawi-qʰá, pi 

E- you go to every country, every where, and
E- ‘ “…should go to every country in all the world, and’

lolo Bible wawa kopa konoway tillikums. Kahkwa Jesus
lúlu *báybəl*-wáwa [1] kʰupa kánawi tílixam-s. kákwa *djísəs*

E- carry Bible words to all nations.” So Jesus
E- ‘carry the Gospel to all nations.” Thus’

yaka wawa kopa klaska.
yaka wáwa kʰupa ɬaska.

E- he spoke to them.
E- ‘spoke Jesus to them.’

Jesus yaka kumtux konoway tillikums, konoway kah,
*djísəs* yaka kə́mtəks kánawi tílikam-s, kánawi-qʰá, 

E- Jesus he knew all nations, every where,
E- ‘Jesus was aware that all the nations of the world’

halo kumtux kopa kloshe home kopa Saghalie. Klaska
hílu kə́mtəks kʰupa [2] ɬúsh hóm [3] kʰupa sáx̣ali [4]. ɬaska 

E- did not know about good home in Heaven. They
E- ‘had no knowledge of the Gospel. They knew nothing of the happy home in heaven. They’ 

halo kumtux kopa Lejaub yaka home kopa hias piah.
hílu kə́mtəks kʰupa lidjób yaka hóm kʰupa háyás(h) páya [5]

E- did not know about the Devil his home in great fire.
E- ‘knew nothing of the Devil’s home in the great fire.’

Jesus yaka kumtux ikt man yaka tumtum delate hias
*djísəs* yaka kə́mtəks íxt mán yaka tə́mtəm dlét hayas-/háyás 

E- Jesus he knew a man his soul truly (of) great
E- ‘Jesus knew that the soul of a man is truly’

mahkook; yaka elip hias mahkook kopa konoway dolla pe
mákuk [6]; yaka íləp-hayas-mákuk kʰupa kánawi [7] dála pi 

E – price; it more precious than all money and
E – ‘precious; that it is more precious than all the money and’

konoway iktas kopa konoway illahee. Kahkwa yaka
kánawi íkta-s kʰupa kánawi ílihi. kákwa yaka 

E- all things in every country. So he
E- ‘everything else in the world. So He’

tikegh yaka tillikums, yaka leplet, klatawa konoway
tíki [8] yaka tílixam-s, yaka liplét [9], ɬátwa kánawi- 

E – wished those people, those missionaries, go every
E – ‘wished His people, His missionaries, to go every[-]’

kah, pe help konoway tillikums mash Lejaub yaka
qʰá pi hélp [10] kánawi tílixam-s [11] másh lidjób yaka 

E – where, and help all nations reject Satan his
E – ‘where, and to help all people to leave the Devil’s’ 

owakut, pe klap Jesus yaka owakut.
úyxat, pi t’ɬáp *djísəs* yaka úyxat. 

E – way, and take Jesus his way.
E – ‘way, and to find the way of Jesus.’

Klaska iskum Jesus yaka wawa. Ikt man klatawa kopa
ɬaska ískam *djísəs* yaka wáwa. íxt mán ɬátwa kʰupa 

E – They received Jesus his words. One man went to
E – ‘They accepted the teaching of Jesus. One man went to’ 

ikt illahee; huloima man klatawa kopa huloima illahee;
íxt ílihi; x̣lúyma mán ɬátwa kʰupa x̣lúyma ílihi; 

E – one country; another man went to another country;
E – ‘one country; another man went to another country;’  

huloima man klatawa kopa huloima illahee; kahkwa kopa
x̣lúyma mán ɬátwa kʰupa x̣lúyma ílihi; kákwa kʰupa 
E – another man went to another country; so with

E – ‘and others went to other lands. Thus it was with’

konoway okoke leplet ahnkuttie. Jesus chaco hias
kánawi úkuk liplét ánqati. *djísəs* chaku-hayas-

E – all those missionaries formerly. Jesus became very
E – ‘all these missionaries in ancient times. Jesus was’

kloshe tumtum kopa klaska, kopa klaska mamook. Jesus
ɬúsh-tə́mtəm kʰupa ɬaska, kʰupa ɬaska mámuk. *djísəs* 

E – good (in) heart to them, to their work. Jesus
E – ‘gracious to them and to their work. Jesus’ 

yaka help klaska; pe hiyu tillikums kopa hiyu illahee…
yaka hélp ɬaska; pi háyú tílixam-s kʰupa háyú ílihi… 

E – he helped them; and many people in many countries
E – ‘helped them; and many people in many lands…’


*báybəl*-wáwa [1] ‘Bible-words’ for ‘the Gospel’ is a phrase that’s new to me. It makes sense. What’s most interesting about it, in a linguistic view, is that it’s excellent CW grammar for ‘the Bible’s words’. That is, the Bible is an inanimate possessor, and it’s therefore more proper in this language to use a noun compound, as we have here, rather than using the typical Possessive construction to say * *báybəl* yaka wáwa* (‘the Bible its words’). CW yaka ‘(s)he’ holds onto its connotation of animacy even in possessive phrases! The reality is that there is a pretty fair amount of variation in speakers’ use or non-use of yaka with inanimate possessors, but my sense is that when those are full nouns (not some pronouny thing like demonstrative úkuk), the yaka-less version is preferred.

kə́mtəks kʰupa [2], literally ‘know about’, strikes me as just very slightly odd in CW. The all-purpose preposition kʰupa (Grand Ronde kʰapa) corresponds to a great many senses and to numerous English words — but ‘about’ is not one of those that reliably match up with it. ‘To know about’ something is, in my experience, simply kə́mtəks, and this makes sense to my mind in light of that verb’s essential meaning ‘to have awareness’, which as you should know, includes ‘to hear’ and so on. Rephrasing my point from another angle, kʰupa is like the other preposition-equivalents in CW, in that it retains a fundamentally spatial meaning, such that its most-abstract frequent sense is ‘with’ (i.e. ‘using’, ‘by means of’, etc.).

hóm [3] — It’s quite beautiful to me to find confirmation that this English loanword has been in CW for a very long time. We otherwise know it from one Grand Ronde (southern-dialect) elder, Ila Dowd, but it hadn’t been included in the older CW dictionaries due to a longstanding prejudice that I’ve pointed out: the lexicographers typically left out most Jargon words that the figured would be instantly identifiable to their White literate audiences. Finding it in the northern dialect here suggests this word for ‘home’ was widespread and well-known, would you agree?

kʰupa sáx̣ali [4] is an established way of saying ‘in heaven’; it’s literally ‘in the sky; up above’.

háyás(h) páya [5] too, is an established CW expression, meaning ‘hell’; it’s literally ‘the big fire’. A common synonym is kíkwəli-páya, the ‘below-fire’. Which has nothing, other than grammatical parallels, in common with sáx̣ali-smúk ‘clouds’!

hayas-/háyás(h) mákuk [6]: I have previously written on this site about the inderminate nature of this old established CW phrase for ‘expensive; valuable’. It might be hayas- ‘very’ and mákuk in an otherwise unknown adjectival usage ‘costly’. Or it might be háyás(h) ‘big’ and mákuk in an otherwise unknown noun usage ‘price’!

íləp-hayas-mákuk kʰupa kánawi [7] dála: this illustrates Chinuk Wawa’s superlative-degree adjective formation. The form íləp-hayas-mákuk (literally ‘before’-expensive) = the comparative degree, ‘more expensive’. Adding kʰupa kánawi ‘than all’ after it turns it into the superlative.

yaka tíki [8] yaka tílixam-s … ɬátwa: Here is one of the relatively few spots in Eells’s CW where he sounds very Settler. The first reason is that he fails to use the Irrealis (subjunctive/hypothetical) marker pus (‘for; so that’) to introduce the subordinate clause that has a different subject (‘his people’) from the main clause (‘he’). That omission is probably due to the influence of his first language, English, where we do normally say ‘he wanted his people to go’ rather than ‘he wanted for his people to go’. The second Settlerism here is Eells’s addition of the English noun-plural suffix -s onto the already semantically plural noun tílixam ‘people’.

liplét [9] — It’s kind of amusing to see a Protestant preacher such as Eells using this word for ‘missionaries’, since it’s the Canadian French-sourced word for Catholic priests!

hélp [10] is another lovely confirmation of something I’ve been reporting for quite some time on this site. This word for ‘help’ is rampant in BC’s variety of northern-dialect CW, but like so many English-sourced Jargon words, was left out of published dictionaries, which tended to report only the older, southern-dialect yéʔlan. Here we have it being used quite a bit in Washington Territory.

hélp kánawi tílixam-s [11] másh is another example of what we saw in footnote [8], a non-subjunctive-marked subordinate clause having a different subject from the main clause.

All in all, Eells’s CW is plenty fluent and is very expressive, reflecting the fact that he not only preached in it but had grown up around it, and used it daily in communicating with Indigenous people of the Skokomish Reservation in Washington.

What do you think?