The extremely compelling “Nootka Jargon” word list from Jewitt 1815

In a very early (1815) edition of his memoir of Vancouver Island captivity (1803-1805), John Rodgers Jewitt added a nice one-page vocabulary of Nuuchahnulth……It’s clearly not a copy from anyone else’s, making it a highly valuable document of a time when there was no known clear boundary line between “Nootka Jargon” and Chinuk Wawa.

[I’ve taken to putting “Nootka Jargon” into scare quotes, due to my research indicating that this lingo was a rather nebulous critter, a moving target, a chimera. Stay tuned.]

Jewitt’s list on page [4] has a number of indications of pidginization, I’d say.

E.g. the terms for ‘son’ and ‘daughter’ are parallel in structure to Chinuk Wawa’s (each having a literal meaning of ‘little man’ and ‘little woman’).

And ‘to go to fish’ is ma-mook-su-mah (literally ‘make fish’, just as CW expresses the harvesting of any natural resource with mamuk-NOUN), so maybe that metaphor too traces back earlier than CW.

For fun, I’ve put in red the phrases below that look syntactically interesting as potential models for early Chinuk Wawa.

Southern Wakashanist friends, I ask you to carefully look through this little lexicon and comment in detail on it…

jewitt 1815

A list of Words in the Nootkian Language,
the most in use.

Check-up, Man.          Toop-helth, Cloth.

Klootz-mah, Woman.          Cham-mass, Fruit.

Noowexa, Father.         Cham-mas- (Sweet or pleasant
                                                 -sish (to the taste

Hooma-hexa, Mother.

Tanassis, Child.          Moot-sus, Powder.

Katlahtik, Brother.         Chee-pokes, Copper.

Kloot-chem-up, Sister.         Hah-welks, Hungry.

Tanassis check-up, Son.         Nee-sim-mer-hise, Enough.

Tanassis kloots-mah, Daughter.         Chit-ta-Yek, Knife or dagger.

Tau-hat-se-tee, Head.         Klick-er-yek*, Rings.

Kassee, Eyes.         Quish-ar, Smoke.

Hap-se-up, Hair.         Mar-met-ta, Goose or duck.

Neetsa, Nose.         Pook-shit-tle, To blow.

Parpee, Ears.         Een-a-qui-shit-tle, ( To kindle
                                                            ( a fire.

Chee-chee, Teeth.

Choop, Tongue.         Ar-teese, To bathe.

Kook-a-nik-sa, Hands.         Ma-mook-su-mah, To go to fish.

Klish-klin, Feet.         Ar-smootish-  (
                                   –check-up,      ( A warrior.

Oophelth, Sun or Moon.

Tar-toose, Stars.          Cha-alt-see-klat-tur- ( Go off or
                                   –wah,                          (go away.

Sie-yah, Sky.

Toop-elth, Sea.          Ma-kook, To sell.

                                                                           ( Give me
Cha-hak, Fresh water.         Kah-ah-pah-chilt, ( something.

Meetla, Rain.

Queece, Snow.         Oo-nah, How many.

Noot-chee, Mountain or hill.         I-yah-ish, Much.

Klat-tur-miss, Earth.         Kom-me-tak, I understand.

Een-nuk-see, Fire or fuel.         I-yee-ma-hak, ( I do not under-
                                                                         ( stand.

Mook-see, Rock.

Muk-ka-tee, House.          Em-ma-chap, To play.

Wik, No.         Kle-whar, To laugh.

He-ho, Yes.         Mac-kam- ) Do you want to buy.
                           -mah-sish )

Kak-koelth, Slave.

Mah-hack, Whale.          Kah-ah-coh, Bring it.

Klack-e-miss, Oil.         Sah-wauk, One.

Quart-lak, Sea-otter.         Att-la, Two.

Coo-coo-ho-sa, Seal.         Kat-sa, Three.

Moo-watch Bear [sic, for ‘Deer’].          Mooh, Four.

So-har, Salmon.         Soo-chah, Five.

Toosch-qua, Cod.         Noo-poo, Six.

Pow-ee, Halibut.         At-tle-poo, Seven.

Kloos-a-mit, Herring.         At-lah-quelth, Eight.

Chap-atz, Canoe.         Saw-wauk-quelth, Nine.

Oo-wha-pa, Paddle.         Hy-o, Ten.

Chee-me-na, A fish-hook.         Sak-aitz, Twenty.

Chee-men, Fish-hooks.         Soo-jewk, One hundred.

Sick-a-minny, Iron.         Hy-e-oak, One thousand.

What do you think?