“Another Tomorrow”

In one of his more English-influenced spellings, Chinook Jargon expert George Gibbs reports (1863:26) a word “tomolla”.


(Image credit: IMDB)

Here’s that entry in his famous dictionary:

ikt tomolla

The detail that I want to get into now is the expressions for ‘the day after (tomorrow)’.

Copet tomolla (in modern spelling kʰəpít tumála) is quite obvious, literally saying ‘after tomorrow; when tomorrow’s finished’. It bears mentioning to you that it’s an old-fashioned way of saying this in the southern dialect that Gibbs was documenting. Folks at Grand Ronde now say kimt’á (literally ‘behind’) for ‘after’. But in the northern dialect up in BC, people continued saying kopit (that’s the Kamloops Wawa spelling) for ‘after’. The word can be analyzed as a preposition in this usage, so a common northern phrase like kopit sitkom son = ‘afternoon’.

The particularly interesting variant here is Gibbs’s ikt tomolla. When this expression has come up in conversation, I’ve noticed that folks tend to take it as ‘one tomorrow’, which doesn’t sound very enlightening. Let me say, though, that this little phrase is a really nice example of my observation that Chinook Jargon íxt ‘one’ holds onto Indigenous semantics, being used also to mean ‘another; a different one’. You see? Ikt tomolla = ‘another tomorrow’.

Somehow that sounds like the title of a Jargon soap opera to me…

Or the 1951 film noir, “Tomorrow is Another Day”!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?