1912: Chinook address to HRH the Duke of Connaught

Thanks to Alex Code for pointing out this fun piece.
[FYI: this article took me an entire day to write.]

Ginnett, Louis, 1875-1946; HRH Arthur (1850-1943), Duke of Connaught, President of the Royal Academy of Music (1901-1942)

The most human-looking photo I could find of the honoree (image credit: ArtUK)

I’ll let you read the words of the colorful local character Edward “The Patriarch” Clayson Sr. to one of Queen Victoria’s kids (the Governor General of Canada), in the familiar mode of “oldtimer being humorous in Chinook”.

Then I can do some commenting about his Chinook Jargon.

royal duke

Welcoming Royal Duke in Chinook

Russian War Veteran’s Verses

Mr. Edward Clayson at present residing in the Irving hotel has prepared the following address to be presented to H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught [and Strathearn] on the occasion of his visit to Vancouver. Mr. Clayson, who is one of the few surviving veterans of the Russian war of 1854-55, is a candidate for the office of Secretary of State [of Washington state] on the [Theodore] Roosevelt ticket. By the way it is interesting to note that there are only three veterans alive who took part in that memorable campaign in the Crimea.

The address has the caption “Reception to H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught” and, as will readily be seen, is written in the Chinook language with which Mr. Clayson is thoroughly familiar. The translation is appended.

Tyee Findlay Delate Klosh Wa Wa.  

Nah! Tillikums! Kopa Konnaway Kah!

Mika nantish o’coke delate Hyas Skookum Tyee (His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught); yaka chaco kopa enati, pe King George I’l-a-he; delate hyas siash: yaka delate klosh tum tum pe Konnaway tillikums koa Konnaway kah. Cumtux?

Alta nika klosh he-he wa-wa kopa Mesika.

Translation of the Above:

Chief [i.e. Mayor James] Findlay true good talk.

Oh! Friends from everywhere!

You see this truly great Strong Chief: His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught.

He came from the other side of English home (or land), truly long way he true good heart for all friends everywhere. Understand?

Now I good laugh talk for you.

Klosh Mika Nantish.

Klahowya Tillikums! Nesika Klosh tum tum.

Kopa Konoway. Kumtux?

Delate kla-how-ya tillikums, kah mika I’l-a-he?
Mika cumtux konnaway, spose mika halo chee,
Tyees skookum wa-wa, kopa o’coke sun,
Clootchman mamok tin-tin, pee charco klosh tum-tum.

CHORUS.

Vancouver hi-hu cumtux kopa konnaway sun,
Quanesome hi-hu mamok wake kil-a-pie tum tum.

Mika charco mitlite kopa “piah chick-chick.”
Yaka hyack cooley kopa tenas stick.
O’coke halo kah-kwa, kopa ahanktie,
Copet “Canim” pee lolo o-coke Il’l-a-he.

Hi-yu moos-moos mitlite, delate klosh muck-a-muck,
Pee cultus Tyee’s wa wa, “halo skookum chuck,”
Yaka hyas pelton, halo cumtux klosh,
Spose halo tickey, “skookum chuck,” hyack memaloose.

Spose mika “iscum pottle,” a-coke delate wake klosh,
Sol-leks tum-tum charco, klatawa skookum house,
Klosh nantish tyee wa-wa, tomah-la, tenas sun,
Mika potlatch chickaman pe keel-a-pie tum tum.

TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE VERSES.

Good You Look.

Salute Friend! We Good Heart for All. Understand?

These verses are full of meaning. They are descriptive and somewhat satirical. They are descriptive of an event, a gathering of friends.

The first verse describes “The Hyas Tyee” of Vancouver addressing the throng as they approach his threshold, and he asks them where their home is. He says they know everyone, if they are not newcomers, and says further that the chiefs will strong talk today; women make music to cheer the heart.

CHORUS.

Vancouver understands much, all the time;
Always much work; does not alter her mind.

The second verse says: “You come here in a fire wagon that came quickly, into the woods a little way. This was not the way of the same in old days. You had the canoe only to bring you to this place or this land.”

The third verse: Lots of beef here, truly good to eat, but the useless Chiefs say “no strong drink.” [This may be a reference to the impending enactment of Prohibition of alcoholic drinks in BC.] They are big fools, no understand good. If they want no “strong drink,” soon die.

The fourth verse: “If you get drunk, this truly no good, bad heart come, go to jail; look out, Chief, strong talk tomorrow morning, you give money to alter your mind.

Dedicated to His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught, in commemoration of his memorable visit, and reception, at Vancouver, B.C., on the 19th day of September 1912. This being the most unique literary production on the American Continent. “Chinook” has not yet developed sufficiently, to claim a place in the polite refined paths of learning, but as the writers of verse always precede the writers of prose, I justly claim to have taken the initiative by writing the above “verses,” showing the possibilities of Chinook.

I am,
Your Royal Highness,
Your Highness’
Most Obedient and
Most Humble Servant,
EDWARD CLAYSON, SR.
A Veteran of the Russian War of 1854-1855.

— from The Vancouver (BC) Sun, September 17, 1912, page 4

Now, examining Clayson’s Chinuk Wawa…

“DDR” indicates my own translation of what he’s saying, since the provided translation is awful pidgin English-like. As usual, in any doubtful cases I will follow the guideline of assuming what’s being said *could* be grammatical. But still, it doesn’t always make sense. (Alarm bells ring…) There’s an astonishing number of things needing to be pointed out here (and they’re not all positive; more alarm bells ring), and Clayson often repeats the same problematic usage. (We have a 3-alarm fire here!)

Tyee Findlay Delate Klosh Wa Wa.  
táyí Fíndli* dléyt ɬúsh wáwa.
boss Findlay really well talk. 

DDR: ‘The Chief Findlay spoke really well.’
‘Chief Findlay true good talk.’

Nah! Tillikums! Kopa Konnaway Kah!
ná! tílixam-s kʰupa kʰánawi-qʰá! 
hey! friend-s from every-where! 
DDR: ‘Hey, friends from everywhere!’
Oh! Friends from everywhere!’

Mika nantish o’coke delate Hyas Skookum Tyee (His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught);
mayka nánich úkuk dléyt hayas-skúkum táyí (His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught);
you see this really very-strong boss (His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught);
DDR: ‘You [singular!] see this really mighty chief (His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught);’
‘You see this truly great Strong Chief: His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught.’

yaka chaco kopa enati, pe King George I’l-a-he; delate hyas siah:
yaka cháku kʰupa [1] ínatay, pi kinchóch-ílihi, dléyt hayas-sáyá, 
he come from across, and English-country, really very-far, 

DDR: ‘he came from the other side, and England is really very far away,’
‘He came from the other side of English home (or land), truly long way’

yaka delate klosh tum tum pe Konnaway tillikums kopa Konnaway kah. Cumtux?
yaka dléyt ɬúsh tə́mtəm pi kʰánawi tílixam-s [2] kʰupa kʰánawi-qʰá. kə́mtəks?
he really good-heart and all friend-s from every-where. understand? 
DDR: ‘he is really kind and everyone is friends from everywhere. Understand?’
he true good heart for all friends everywhere. Understand?’

Alta nika klosh he-he wa-wa kopa Mesika.
álta nayka ɬúsh híhi-wáwa kʰupa msayka. 
now I well fun-talk to you.folks. 
DDR: ‘Now I’ll do some good funny talking for you folks.’
‘Now I good laugh talk for you.’

Klosh Mika Nantish.
ɬúsh mayka nánich. [3]
good you look.
DDR: ‘You should look.’
Good You Look.’

Klahowya Tillikums! Nesika Klosh tum tum.
ɬax̣á(w)ya tílixam-s! nsayka ɬúsh-tə́mtəm[…]
hello friend-s! we good-heart…
DDR: ‘Hello friends! We have good will…’
Salute Friend! We Good Heart’

Kopa Konoway. Kumtux?
[…]kʰupa kʰánawi. [4] kə́mtəks?
…to all. understand?
DDR: ‘…towards all. Understand?’
‘for All. Understand?’

[1st verse]

Delate kla-how-ya tillikums, kah mika I’l-a-he?
dléyt ɬax̣á(w)ya(,) tílixam-s, qʰá mayka
[sic] ílihi? [5]
really hello(,) friend-s, where your place?
DDR: ‘Truly hello, friends, where are you from?’
‘[The first verse describes “The Hyas Tyee” of Vancouver addressing the throng as they approach his threshold, and he asks them where their home is.]

Mika cumtux konnaway, spose mika halo chee,
mayka kə́mtəks kʰánawi, spus mayka hílu chxí, [6]
you know all, if you not new, 
DDR: ‘You [singular!] know all, if you aren’t new,’
‘[He says they know everyone, if they are not newcomers,]

Tyees skookum wa-wa, kopa o’coke sun,
táyí-s skúkum wáwa, [7] kʰupa úkuk sán, 
boss-es powerfully talk, on this day, 
DDR: ‘the chiefs will speak forcefully on this day,’
‘[and says further that the chiefs will strong talk today;]’

Clootchman mamok tin-tin, pee charco klosh tum-tum.
ɬúchmən mamuk-tíntin, pi chaku-ɬúsh-tə́mtəm. [8]
woman make-music, and become-good-heart. 
DDR: ‘the women will make music, and become happy.’
‘[
women make music to cheer the heart.]’

CHORUS.

Vancouver hi-hu cumtux kopa konnaway sun,
Vancouver háyú kə́mtəks kʰupa [9] kʰánawi-sán, 
Vancouver much know on every-day, 
DDR: ‘Vancouver knows a lot on every day,…’
Vancouver understands much, all the time;’

Quanesome hi-hu mamok wake kil-a-pie tum tum.
kwánsəm háyú mámuk(,) [10] wík k’ílapay tə́mtəm. [11]
always much work(,) not (re)turn heart. 
DDR: ‘…always lots of work, not returning the heart.’
‘Always much work; does not alter her mind.’

[2nd verse]

Mika charco mitlite kopa “piah chick-chick.”
mayka cháku míɬayt [12] kʰupa páya-ch’íkch’ik, [13]
you come sit(ting) in fire-wagon, 
DDR: ‘You came here sitting in a train,’
‘[The second verse says: “You come here in a fire wagon…]’ 

Yaka hyack cooley kopa tenas stick.
yaka (h)áyáq kúli kʰupa tənəs-stík. [14]
he quickly travel to little-tree. 
DDR: ‘which runs in the bushes.’
‘[…that came quickly, into the woods a little way.]’ 

O’coke halo kah-kwa, kopa ahanktie,
úkuk [15] hílu kákwa kʰupa [16] ánqati, 
this not like.that in previously, 
DDR: ‘This was not so, in old times,’
‘[This was not the way of the same [game?] in old days.]’


Copet “Canim” pee lolo o-coke Il’l-a-he.
kʰəpít kʰəním pi lúlu [17] Ø úkuk ílihi. 
only canoe and carry to this land. 
DDR: ‘there was only a canoe and carry to this place.’
‘[You had the canoe only to bring you to this place or this land.”]’

[3rd verse]

Hi-yu moos-moos mitlite, delate klosh muck-a-muck,
háyú músmus [18] míɬayt, dléyt ɬúsh mə́kʰmək,
many cattle be.here, really good food, 

DDR: ‘There are lots of cattle here, really good food,’
‘[
The third verse: Lots of beef here, truly good to eat,…]’ 

Pee cultus Tyee’s wa wa, “halo skookum chuck,”
pi kʰə́ltəs táyí-s wáwa, “hílu [19] skúkum chə́qw,” [20]
but useless boss-es say, “no strong water,” 
DDR: ‘but the no-good chiefs say, “(there’s) no strong water,” ‘
‘[…but the useless Chiefs say “no strong drink.”]’

Yaka hyas pelton, halo cumtux klosh,
yaka háyás* [21] píltən, hílu kə́mtəks ɬúsh, [22…]
he big idiot, not know well, 
DDR: ‘he’s a big idiot, doesn’t know very well,’
‘[They are big fools, no understand good.]’ 

Spose halo tickey, “skookum chuck,” hyack memaloose.
spus hílu tíki “skúkum chə́qw,” (h)áyáq míməlus.  
if not want “strong water,” quickly die. 
DDR: ‘if not wanting “strong water,” dies quick.’
‘[If they want no “strong drink,” soon die.]’

[4th verse]

Spose mika “iscum pottle,” a-coke delate wake klosh,
spus mayka “ískam pátəl*,” [23] úkuk dléyt wík-ɬúsh, 
if you “pick.up bottle,” this really not-good, 

DDR: ‘If you “pick up a bottle,” that’s really bad,’
‘[The fourth verse: “If you get drunk, this truly no good,…]’

Sol-leks tum-tum charco, klatawa skookum house,
sáliks-tə́mtəm cháku, [24] ɬátwa Ø skúkum-háws, 
fight-heart come, go to strong-house, 
DDR: ‘a belligerent mood comes, go to jail,’
‘[…bad heart come, go to jail;]’

Klosh nantish tyee wa-wa, tomah-la, tenas sun,
ɬúsh-nánich(,) táyí wáwa, [25] tumála tənəs-sán
well-watch(,) boss say, tomorrow little-day  
DDR: ‘watch out, the chief says, tomorrow morning’
‘[…look out, Chief, strong talk tomorrow morning,]

Mika potlatch chickaman pe keel-a-pie tum tum.
mayka pá(t)lach chíkʰəmin [26] pi k’ílapay tə́mtəm.
you give money and (re)turn heart. 
DDR: ‘you’ll pay and the heart will return.’
‘[…you give money to alter your mind.]’

The commentary:

cháku kʰupa [1] ínatay: Using a preposition (kʰupa) is redundant here, to my ear. The adverb ínatay all by itself expresses ‘across; on/from/to the other side’. 

yaka dléyt ɬúsh tə́mtəm pi kʰánawi tílixam-s [2] is literally ‘he’s really good-hearted and all people’. In the charitable spirit, I take this as meaning ‘he’s really good-hearted and all are friends’. This involves the kinda shaky use of kʰánawi to express ‘everyone’. But it salvages this sentence from being marked as ungrammatical!
Additional point: The “Patriarch” Clayson, who in our day would be deeply irritating to talk with, was fond of exclaiming “Cumtux?” at the end of utterances. (See his 1908 book “The Muck Rake — Cumtux?“😄) This mannerism is common among early Settler speakers of Chinuk Wawa.

ɬúsh mayka nánich. [3] In my comprehension of Chinuk Wawa, this has to be ‘IMPERATIVE you look’, i.e. ‘you better look; you should look’ etc. I strongly suspect Clayson meant it as ‘pay attention!’, which is virtually always just ɬúsh-nánich! 

ɬúsh-tə́mtəm kʰupa kʰánawi [4] — here’s another of the several instances where Clayson uses the word for ‘all’ to express ‘everyone’. Does this work for you, my reader? 

qʰá mayka [sic] ílihi? [5] This is excellent. You should know this historically important Chinuk Wawa expression. ‘Where is your place?’ was very frequent as the way to ask ‘Where are you from?’ / ‘Where do you come from?’ (Consequently, the more literaly qʰá mayka cháku? sounds a bit more like ‘Where are you coming from (right now)?’) 

spus mayka hílu chxí… [6] sounds weird and clunky to me. ‘If you’re not new…’ Hm. What’s meant here by ‘new’ is chxí-cháku, ‘newly arrived; a newcomer; a cheechako’. To call someone ‘new’ in Chinuk Wawa sounds to me like calling them a teenager, that is, a chxí-ɬúchmən or chxí-mán

skúkum wáwa [7] is usually ‘shouting’ in Jargon! Clayson intends something more like ‘speak manfully’, I believe. You have to know a heck of a lot about colonizer culture to catch that obscure detail, though 😉

ɬúchmən mamuk-tíntin, pi chaku-ɬúsh-tə́mtəm. [8] Literally, ‘The women will make music, and become-good-hearted.’ Clayson tells us he meant ‘the women will make music and cheer the heart[s]’ of other people besides the women. Since that’s a causative idea, I’d express it with mamuk-ɬúsh-tə́mtəm ‘make-good-heart(ed)’.

kʰupa [9] kʰánawi-sán is another of “Patriarch” Clayson’s redundancies; time expressions usually work bettter without a preposition such as kʰupa.

háyú mámuk [10] is kind of ambiguous. This happens a lot in old documents, where they don’t distinguish visually between the full stressed quantifier háyú ‘lots of, much, many’ and the unstressed progressive-action prefix hayu-. With the latter, we’d have hayu-mamuk ‘(in the act of) working’. 

wík k’ílapay tə́mtəm [11] Does this work for you? To me it evokes ‘not returning hearts’ or ‘not turning hearts’, neither of which makes a bunch of sense to me. Clayson definitely intends these words to express ‘not changing (one’s) heart’ / ‘not having a change of heart’. Here’s the thing, he’s justified in using this expression; none other than the venerable George Gibbs has it in his 1863 dictionary of early-creolized Chinuk Wawa. Other dictionaries, though, starting around 1877, express this as huyhuy tə́mtəm ‘to exchange hearts/minds’. I guess my point is that few people in 1912 might be familiar with the idiom Clayson uses here. 
As a side note, Clayson uses the verb negator wik here, which is more southern than northern-dialect style, but in fact this is pretty typical of really early settlers in western Washington, who were more Columbia River-oriented than later generations were. (Clayson came here in 1859.)

cháku míɬayt [12] kʰupa páya-ch’íkch’ik is literally ‘come to be here in a a fire-wagon’. What Clayson tells us he meant is ‘come here in a fire wagon’, so he must’ve been thinking ‘come here sitting in a fire wagon’. A couple of other times, we’ve seen a similar expression from Settlers involving canoe travel. 

kʰupa páya-ch’íkch’ik, [13] by the way, is pretty clearly an indicator of the frontier-era vintage of Clayson’s personal knowledge of Jargon. Back then, the only ‘fire wagons’ were trains, and that’s what this Chinuk Wawa phrase means in the Indigenous languages that borrowed it long ago. But the word went on to mean ‘automobile’ when that machine became common, and in 1912 I would think that some listeners understood the speaker to mean a motorcar. 

yaka (h)áyáq kuli kʰupa tənəs-stík [14] should mean ‘…to the bushes/shrubs‘. Clayson is aiming for ‘into the woods a little way’. In his way of spelling, I reckon that would involve rearranging these words into something like tenas kopa stick ‘a little bit into the woods’. 
Let’s also point out that Clayson is using the animate/specific pronoun yaka for an inanimate subject, a railroad train. This is very typical, and very frequent, among Settler speakers of Jargon whose first language was English. 

úkuk [15] hílu kákwa is a case of Clayson overusing the demonstrative úkuk, particularly in using it as the subject of a clause, à la English ‘this’. By contrast, Chinuk Wawa doesn’t like inanimate stuff as subjects, nor does it like non-specific stuff in that function. This is the sort of situation where I’d expect the CW “silent it” pronoun instead, so I’d expect ‘This was not the way’ / ‘It wasn’t like this’ / etc. as simply hílu kákwa in the most fluent Jargon.

kʰupa [16] ánqati again shows us an unneeded preposition in a time expression, as I’ve already pointed “in before” 🙂 

kʰəpít kʰəním pi lúlu [17] Ø … Have a nice day and fried rice! This one’s a weirdie. In fluent English, you can get away with saying “there was just canoes and carrying”, I mean, you can conjoin a Noun “and” a Verb. Not so easy to carry off in Chinuk Wawa! This whole complicated discussion would never have happened if Clayson had just used a subject pronoun, e.g. ‘there were only canoes and you carried…’ 

háyú músmus [18] míɬayt would only be taken as ‘there are lots of cows/cattle here’ in fluent Jargon, even if there were groaning tables and heaping platters o’ beef spilling into your lap. Clayson does mean to express ‘beef’, which every dialect of Chinuk Wawa puts as musmus-iɬwəli ‘cow-meat’. (Mind now, ‘beef’ can be a word in English for the animal, but that’s a tangential fact here.) 

“hílu [19] skúkum chə́qw”, the circumstantial evidence nudges us to understand, should be heard as an English-language-style imperative, “No booze!” Here too, English differs from the way CW expresses things. These words by themselves sound more like ‘there’s no booze (aw dang)!’ in Chinook. To achieve a true command in this language, as in countless hundreds of others around the world, you have to include a verb, so at a bare minimum you might amend Clayson’s expression to read ““hílu mə́kʰmək skúkum chə́qw” (‘don’t drink strong water’). 

But then there’s the issue of skúkum chə́qw [20]a stock phrase of the Jargon meaning ‘rapids (in a river)’. I have found the similar expression paya-wata (‘fire-water’) in CW, but not ‘strong water’, with reference to alcohol. My guess is that Clayson was thinking in English about how to “sound like an Indian” (!) in Jargon.

yaka háyás* [21] píltən is an attention-getter, in that Clayson is suddenly sounding extremely fluent by using yaka for a plural referent. (The ‘no-good chiefs’.) This is very good practice throughout the northern dialect, and of course it’s not at all like the Settler’s English. It’s a feature that traces back to how the Indigenous languages express the “3rd person”. 

hílu kə́mtəks ɬúsh [22…] feels unclear to me. It’s just barely possible to interpret it as ‘not understanding well’, with a somewhat rare placement of the manner adverb ɬúsh at the end of the clause. That feels rather forced, though. I believe Clayson meant something like ‘not understanding good things; not understanding what’s good (in life)’. This would be easily phrased in Jargon by adding the word ikta, for example saying hílu kə́mtəks ikta ɬúsh ‘not understanding what is good’. 

“ískam pátəl*” [23] uses a non-standard word for ‘bottle’, directly loaned from English. I do suspect people actually used this word in Jargon, though — at least Settlers, who probably folk-etymologized Jargon pʰá(t)ɬ[-]lam ‘drunk’ (literally ‘full of alcohol’) as ‘bottle of rum’. For instance we’ve seen Theodore Winthrop’s 1863 book “The Canoe and the Saddle” jokily depicting Chinook Jargon-speaking drinkers, also in western Washington:

“…he produced a “lumoti” and passed it. Potations pottle-deep ensued.”
(page 16)

Here his lumoti is a Klallam Coast Salish sort of pronunciation of what we now spell like laputʰáy ‘bottle’. Notably, Winthrop always spells the Jargon word for ‘drunk’ as pottlelum

sáliks-tə́mtəm cháku [24] also presents us a challenge. It’s never a good sign if you’re forced to consult someone’s provided translation in order to have any idea what they’re trying to say in Chinuk Wawa. (Or any language.) Clayson wants us to hear the mystifying pidginy expression ‘bad heart come’, but he’s just “playing Indian” again, so that’s scant help. Maybe we can just about salvage this expression by understanding it as ‘a bad mood comes’ / ‘a bad mood happens’. I feel like my hesitancy here comes from expecting the chaku to be first in the phrase. 

ɬúsh-nánich(,) táyí wáwa, [25] tumála tənəs-sán… Clayson provides us with a suggested translation, ‘Look out, Chief(!), strong talk tomorrow morning…’ This, too, is more than a bit puzzling. So I’ve made this line make some sense by taking it to say ‘watch out, the chief says, tomorrow morning you’ll pay…’ That leaves us only with the complication that I haven’t found fluent Jargon speakers to quote people’s speech in this literary English style, interrupting the quotation to tell us “–the chief said–“. Settler influence again.

Be advised that pá(t)lach chíkʰəmin [26] is perfectly normal and fluent Chinuk Wawa for ‘pay’, especially in frontier times and in the northern dialect. 

All of the above matches what we’ve found in previous articles here about Clayson’s Chinook Jargon. He really knew the language. But by the 1910’s he was kind of rusty at speaking it, as were most people.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?

What do you think?