1792: Crowdsourcing challenge — Galiano’s Hul’q’umi’num (and Nootka Jargon?) vocabulary
I’m taking the approach of asking my readers for language help with Spanish and Coast Salish today…
[Editing to add a mention of an excellent linguistics paper on the 1792 Spanish-Sliammon vocabulary from the voyage of the Sutil & the Mexicana.]
Nayka munk-sax̣ali nayka siyapuɬ kʰapa uk (I tip my hat to) Prof. Peter Bakker of Aarhus, Denmark for this find. Peter found that many old Spanish naval documents are digitized and available online, including some that contain the earliest information on Spanish contact with Pacific Northwest coastal nations.
In one handwritten journal from the 1792 Galiano expedition, more information appears than we’d seen in published versions. Peter told me that there’s a small vocabulary from the modern Nanaimo, BC area of Vancouver Island. Here it is:
I think Peter and I both initially supposed this would be a Nuučaan’uɬ and/or “Nootka Jargon” word list.
But given the location, and the writer’s comments (already published on my site) that the local language is “entirely different from that of Nootka”, I realized that these words should be in Hul’q’umi’num Salish, sometimes called Cowichan.
Indeed, I recognize the very first one as meeting that expectation, knowing that the initial s- on many Salish words is optional:
Perro (‘dog’) komai (B) = (modern Hul’q’umi’num) sqwumeý (‘dog’
(“B” indicates a word that the visiting Spaniard considered he understood for sure, so it may be an abbreviation for the 1792 spelling “berificada” = ‘verified, confirmed’. Words felt to be more uncertain are marked “d”, perhaps for “dudosa” = ‘doubtful’.)
But, as we transcribe the rest of this tiny lexicon, questions come up. I’ve looked in dictionaries of Hul’q’umi’num as well as of closely related Saanich, Squamish, Samish, Halq’emeylem, and Sechelt, and still haven’t figured out a number of these Native words.
This is why I’m asking you, my readers, for help in understanding and interpreting the Spanish and Salish in this document. I’ll credit you publicly, both here and in any publication of this document that I may write up.
In the following, my Hul’q’umi’num information comes from two dictionaries by Donna Gerdts, online here and here.
SPANISH (‘with English translation’) NATIVE Modern Hul’q’umi’num (‘with English translation’)
( ?=? possible match, = match, ≠ non-match)
Pescado (‘fish (after it’s caught)’) chojosà ≠ stseelhtun (‘fish; salmon’)
lejos (‘far’) limas (d) ≠ tsakw (‘far, distant’)
mano (‘hand’) jel (d) = tselush (‘hand’)
cara (‘face’) jaijosà (d) ?=? s’athus (‘face’)
pierna (‘leg’) tine (d) ?=? sxun’u (‘leg’)
pelo (‘hair’) sklichità (d) ?=? she’itun (‘hair’)
arena (‘sand’) aquatà (d) = pqwitsun/pqwetsun (‘sand’)
bueno (‘good’) clushtasò (d) = tɬuɬ [in Nuučaan’uɬ/Nootka Jargon] + ~(t)thu’ uswe’ [Hulq’. form extrapolated from Sto:lō dialect ta’ aswá] (‘that one that belongs to you (in sight)’) (all together meaning ‘yours is a good one’ using Hulq’. grammar)
bè allà (‘go there!’) tajejumè (d) ?=? taant (‘to go away’) + ~-m (‘Middle voice’) + -ɬe (‘command [i.e. urgent] imperative’) [Hulq’. suffixes extrapolated from Sto:lō dialect]
sarra(,) mora (?'(____)(,) ‘blackberry’) siame (ĕ quasi muda) B sth’umum (‘berries’ in Nanaimo dialect)
cambiar (‘exchange, trade’) (tina B ≠ ‘uya’qtul (‘to trade, swap’)
mira (‘look!) nè (d) = nu (‘I beg your pardon’, “used when you can’t hear a person and you want them to repeat”), also compare Nuučaan’uɬ/Nootka Jargon nee (‘say! (sg.)’) /nii (‘see, look!’) etc. (Very similar-sounding and -meaning words are known in Wakashan & Salish languages from Washington’s Klallam to at least BC’s Nuxalk.)
I’ve been working on a Spanish-Homalco wordlist from the Sutil and Mexicana expedition for the past few months and just stumbled upon your post here! Really Interesting find!
If you haven’t done so, it might be useful to take a look at Roehrig (1870)’s Comparative Vocabularies. I just had a brief look at them, and it seems to me that this is not necessarily Hul’q’umi’num. It might also be Nooksack, Lummi, or Lushootseed.
‘face’ (listed by Roehrig as ‘head’, II series, page 7, item 59)
‘dog’ (Roehrig II series, page 39, item 171)
I’m fairly busy right now with ICSNL preparations, but if things quiet down a bit, I’ll have a look at the logbook and see where exactly they were when they recorded the list.
Thanks, Daniel, for reading this and for putting some thought into these little questions! Much appreciated. Please post any findings here, as comments.
Cheers — Dave R.