Another Indigenous metaphor: ‘Afternoon’ in CW is from Chinookan
Chinuk Wawa’s southern dialect, as documented in the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation community, says láx̣w-sán (literally ~ ‘leaning-sun’) for ‘afternoon’.
(Image source: atoptics)
Why? Because Chinookan languages already did.
We find the same expression in those languages, using their native word for ‘sun’.
Here’s one example from the several in Natítanui (Shoalwater-Clatsop Lower Chinookan) :
We can also take note of that ‘thus the sun’ at the end of line 18. In the neighboring Lower Chinookan language’s “Kathlamet Texts”, narrator Q’lti sometimes just says “the sun was there” (as if he were pointing during the storytelling) and it’s translated as ‘in the afternoon’. But there’s also a parallel phrase to what we’ve seen above:
So far we’ve seen researcher Franz Boas translating this láx̣(w) as ‘afternoon’, catching the meaning of the whole phrase but not seeing that this little word means ’tilted’ etc.
Turning to Clackamas Upper Chinookan, we see that this language too has its cognate of the above expression, and researcher Melville Jacobs explains it as ‘the sun was to one side’:
The fourth language in this family, Kiksht (Wishram, Wasco, etc.) Upper Chinookan, also has a narrator gesturing to the west and saying ‘when the sun was over there‘ to indicate late afternoon or evening. Was there a verbal taboo against referring to the land of the dead by name? Would this explain why e.g. inland Indigenous people sometimes got worried by White treaty negotiators saying that they’d have nice reservations ‘in the west’? Other than that, the expressions I find for ‘afternoon’ do not resemble the above ‘sun on one side’ phrasing.
Summing up, there’s a consistent picture in the Chinookan languages of folks referring to the later daylight hours indirectly, by gesturing or saying words to the effect that the sun is in the west. And this is the source of Chinuk Wawa’s metaphor of the afternoon’s ’tilting sun’.
What do you think?
Further translations of lax in the “Chinook Texts”: ‘miss’, ‘unable’.
Hi, this isn’t about the current discussion; but I was reading through your different postings that were important, funny or close to my heart. This is what I wrote to a friend in the north where we grew up:
“I’ve been thinking about playing kick-the-can together in the alley on 5th ave. in Prince Rupert in the 1950s. I was re-reading some notes on the trade language, Chinook–as follows: “The development of Coastal Chinook, usually referred to as “pidgin” or “jargon” is a grammatically simplified form of communication … [it began] with ‘Nootka’ [Nuu-chah-nulth] and/or Haida pidgin(s) that were formed in relation to trading ships …”.
Check out the different was of saying .
“‘South Sea or Chinese pidgin in the 1890s. e.g.. “chinese allee samee and allasame or Hawaiian pidgin (Creole) English “all same”; Kamloops area olsim.
And what does this have to do with kick-the-can in the 1950s/60s?
Do you remember that once someone kicked the can, that person would yell out to everyone still hiding, ” Allee, allee olsim free” – i.e., All Free, and so everyone was free to come back to the alley and start the game again .
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Hi great readiing your blog
hayu masi, Beau! Your presence here is valued. ɬax̣ayam,