1888: A sermon by Myron Eells (part 3)

The third page (page 34) of this sermon, published in Horatio Hale’s “An International Idiom“.


An imaginary number? (Image credit: Adrian Faulkner)

This is good material; you’ll learn pretty good Jargon by reading it and thinking. 

The word-by-word gloss is provided by Eells himself. Pronunciations that I’m inferring, because we don’t have detailed phonetic transcriptions of them from previous researchers, are followed by an asterisk*. Any comments that I have about this passage will follow it. 

…klaska chaco Christian. Elip kopa konoway okoke
ɬaska chaku-krístyan*. [1] íləp kʰupa [2] kánawi úkuk 
…they became Christians. Before that all those

Eells: ‘…became Christians. Before all those’  

leplet mimaloose ahnkuttie, kwinnum tukamonuk thou-
liplét míməlus ánqati, qwínəm ták’umunaq táwsən [3]
missionaries died anciently, five hundred thou-

Eells: ‘early missionaries were dead, five hundred thousand’ 

sand tillikums chaco Christian.
        tílikam-s chaku-krístyan*. 
sand persons became Christians.

Eells: ‘people had become Christians.’ 

     Alta Jesus tikegh nesika mamook kahkwa. Yaka tikegh
     álta djísəs* tíki [4] nsayka mámuk kákwa. yaka tíki [4]

     Now Jesus wishes us to do likewise. He wishes
    Eells: ‘Now Jesus wishes us to do likewise. He wants’ 

nesika help huloima tillikums chaco Christian. Klonas
nsayka hélp x̣lúyma tílikam-s [4] chaku-krístyan. t’ɬúnas 

us to help other people become Christians. Perhaps
Eells: ‘us to help other people to become Christians. Perhaps’ 

yaka tikegh nesika klatawa kopa siyah illahee, pe mamook
yaka tíki [4] nsayka ɬátwa kʰupa sáyá-ílihi, pi mamuk-

he wishes us to go to far countries, and make
Eells: ‘He may wish us to go to a distant land, and’ 

kumtux siyah tillikums kopa Jesus yaka wawa. Klonas
kə́mtəks sáyá-tílikam-s kʰupa [5] djísəs yaka wáwa. t’ɬúnas 

know far nations about Jesus his words. Perhaps
Eells: ‘tell the far-off people about Jesus’ word. Perhaps’ 

halo. Klonas Jesus yaka tikegh nesika wawa kopa tillikums
hílu. t’ɬúnas djísəs* yaka tíki [4] nsayka wáwa kʰupa tílikam-s 

not. Perhaps Jesus he wishes us speak to people
Eells: ‘not. Perhaps He may want us to speak to the people’ 

wake siyah. Klonas yaka tikegh nesika potlatch tenas
wík sáyá. t’ɬúnas yaka tíki [4] nsayka pátɬach tənas 

not far-off. Perhaps he wishes us to give a little
Eells: ‘who are near at hand. Perhaps He wishes us to give some’ 

dolla, kahkwa nesika mamook help leplet kopa siyah
dála, kákwa nsayka mamuk-hélp liplét kʰupa sáyá- 
money, so we make help missionaries in far

Eells: ‘money to help the missionaries in those far-off’ 

illahee. Kopa siyah illahee, kopa China illahee, kopa
ílihi. kʰupa sáyá ílihi, kʰupa cháyna [6] ílihi, kʰupa 

countries. In far countries, in China country, in
Eells: ‘lands. In distant lands — in China, in’ 

nigga yaka illahee, hiyu mesachie man mitlite. Klaska
níga* yaka ílihi [7], háyú masáchi mán míɬayt. ɬaska 

negro his country, many bad men live. They
Eells: ‘Africa — there are many heathens. They’ 

halo tikegh leplet kopa klaska illahee; kahkwa
hílu tíki liplét [8] kʰupa ɬaska ílihi; kákwa 

do not want missionaries in their countries; so
Eells: ‘do not want missionaries in their countries; so’ 

klaska halo pay dolla kopa leplet kopa klaska
ɬaska hílu [9] pʰéy dála kʰupa liplét kʰupa ɬaska 

they do not pay money to missionaries in their
Eells: ‘they will give no money to missionaries in their’ 

illahee. Kah okoke leplet iskum muckamuck pe
ílihi. qʰá úkuk liplét ískam mə́kʰmək pi 

countries. Where those missionaries get food and
Eells: ‘countries. Where shall the missionaries get food and’ 

huloima iktas? Kloshe nesika potlatch tenas dolla, pe
x̣lúyma íktas? ɬush nsayka pátɬach tənas dála, pi 

other things? Good we give little money, and
Eells: ‘other things? It is good for us to give some money, and’ 

nesika mash okoke dolla kopa siyah leplet, pe
nsayka másh úkuk dála kʰupa sáyá liplét, pi  

we send that money to distant missionaries, and
Eells: ‘to send the money to the far-off missionaries, and’ 

mamook help klaska lolo Jesus yaka wawa kopa siyah…
mamuk-hélp ɬaska [4] lúlu djísəs yaka wáwa kʰupa sáyá…

make help them carry Jesus his words to distant…
Eells: ‘help them to carry the words of Jesus to the distant…’ 


krístyan* [1] is a new word to us in Jargon, in the sense that it’s perhaps not in any of the old dictionaries — proof of my steady assertion that words already familiar to the English-speaking readers of most old-time “Chinook” dictionaries were simply left out, despite being actively used in CW. We know other expressions for ‘Christians’, such as the 1890s Kamloops Wawa‘s < styuil tilikom > ‘praying people’. 

íləp kʰupa [2] kánawi úkuk liplét míməlus…: Saying ‘before X happened, Y happened’ in CW is not this straightforwardly similar to English. Eells’s wording here, with the generic preposition kʰupasays ‘before all these missionary-deaths’ (A resumptive pronoun ɬaska ‘they’ would help, a little, to steer us away from that noun-ish reading!) You can use íləp in the sense ‘before X happened’, but you ought to use the subjunctive (irrealis) clause-introducer pus, which then has you saying something like ‘before any/all of those missionaries might have died’.  (Take note: I”ve just implicitly told you that íləp is an adverb ‘before; earlier; previously’, not a preposition ‘before’.) Hmmm. This is a good time to point out that the best documentation of CW speech that we have indicates a different strategy as being more usual: simply conjoining clauses with pi ‘and; but’, or, as the awesome 2012 Grand Ronde Tribes dictionary shows us, with (pi) chxí… ‘(and) just then start to…’ Here’s an example from a GR elder speaker: áɬqi-tumála chxí ya gitə́p ‘It will be tomorrow before she gets up’. And this raises the important detail that, unlike Eells’s word order, you first say the earlier occurrence (what happened before), and then you say the later one. 

qwínəm ták’umunaq táwsən [3] is technically the proper, grammatical way to say ‘500,000’ in Chinuk Wawa. But I’m taking up a moment of your time to suggest that nobody would have had any reason to say ‘500,000’ in CW during its heyday. Nobody was trading 500,000 furs, nobody was ordering 500,000 boards for a building, nobody had 500,000 dollars or British pounds to throw around. Even ‘100’ was rare in daily speech, as we can infer from the fact that numbers larger than ‘5’ tended to drop out of CW (and be replaced with English counterparts as needed) everywhere except in the Grand Ronde community, where you spoke CW at home every day of your life. In the northern dialect area, where Eells was preaching to Skokomish Indians and their neighbours in the 1880s, my money says ták’umunaq would’ve been a bookish foreign word that his listeners didn’t understand.  

djísəs* tíki [4] nsayka mámuk (etc. etc.) — Where you see that [4], there ought to be that subjunctive clause-introducer pus that I mention above. Where the main clause, which here is ‘Jesus wants’, is followed by a subordinate clause having a different subject, here ‘us to do’, you gotta have pus. Now, scan through the rest of today’s text, and notice how incredibly often Eells makes this English-speaking Settler grammatical mistake! We can understand why he spoke this way; he’s just building his more-complex Jargon sentences the way English does. But the fact is that grammatical CW works more like languages such as French in this respect — compare Jésu veut que nous fassions…, with its que clause-introducer & its subjunctive verb: ‘…that we do’. Do I think this pus construction is a trace of Canadian/Métis French influence on CW? (And/or of English ‘want for someone to do X’, since pus also corresponds to ‘for’?) Well, on the one hand, in an Indigenous source-language of CW such as Natítanui (Shoalwater-Clatsop Lower Chinookan), it’s pretty clear that ‘want someone to do X’, ‘tell someone to do X’, and such are expressed as ‘say to someone “do X” ‘. And while we don’t have tons of sentence examples for SW Washington Salish languages, I find that they too have root words that mean both ‘say to someone’ (historically their original sense) and ‘want someone to…’ (They have “desiderative clitics”, too, that might introduce subordinate clauses of desired action, as CW pus does, but I’m not sure these are much used or of really comparable function.) So, yes, it’s simplest to infer that European languages are the model on which the Jargon’s ‘want someone to do X’ is formed.  

mamuk-kə́mtəks sáyá-tílikam-s kʰupa [5] djísəs yaka wáwa: Here is another way that Eells sometimes speaks Chinuk Wawa ‘in an English way’. He’s literally saying ‘teach distant folks about Jesus’s words’ — but in my experience of CW, the generic preposition kʰupa hardly every means ‘about, on the subject of, in relation to’. You’ll find, if you open up the 2012 Grand Ronde Tribes dictionary, there’s no entry for ‘about’ in the English-to-CW section. The closest equivalent to it springs right to my mind, though. In the northern dialect, for example, you constantly encounter qʰáta ‘how’ being used this way, so we’d say mamuk-kə́mtəks sáyá-tílikam-s qʰáta djísəs yaka wáwa, ‘teach distant folks how Jesus’s words are / what they’re like‘ (or ‘how Jesus spoke / what he said’). An alternative that sticks closer to Eells’s own wording would involve reordering his sentence: you might say mamuk-kə́mtəks djísəs yaka wáwa kʰupa sáyá-tílikam-s … However, in keeping with the generalization that CW words tend to hold onto a tinge of their original function, wáwa is just not strongly nounlike, so the more clearly verbal qʰáta formation is the common way to express such an idea as ‘teach folks about Jesus’s words / what he says’. 

cháyna [6] ílihi: This is northern CW. The same expression is common in BC Chinuk Wawa. The Grand Ronde dictionary has cháyní for ‘Chinese’. 

níga* yaka ílihi [7] is pretty obviously invented by Eells. It wouldn’t have been real common to have conversations about Africa in Jargon, and this wording (literally ‘the Negro’s country’) is a direct translation from the educated English-speaker’s “ethnographic singular”. In BC CW (in the Kamloops Wawa newspaper), we find Afrika mentioned in geography lessons. 

ɬaska hílu tíki liplét [8] kʰupa ɬaska ílihi: ‘They do not want missionaries in their countries’, as Eells translates this. First note: he places the negator hílu after the subject ɬaska ‘they’, English-speaker-style, rather than following fluent CW’s negator-first preference. Second: Eells’s English ‘want’ is synonymous here with ‘to like; to be happy about’, and the idea as I understand it is that those folks are unhappy about missionaries being in their country. This is to say that here, too, I’d feel more comfortable using pus. It would sound less English-influenced, and more fluent, to me to say hílu ɬaska tíki pus liplét míɬayt kʰupa ɬaska ílihi, ‘They don’t like for missionaries to be (present) in their country.’

ɬaska hílu [9] pʰéy dála is just another instance of Eells negating a sentence English-style rather than CW-style. 

As we have consistently been finding in this mini-series, Eells was an excellent and evocative speaker of Jargon, as befits his lifelong exposure to it. Nonetheless, the fact that he spent more time thinking in and speaking English shows through in numerous ways. 

What do you think?