The French accent in “hlwima”

In the Chinuk Pipa alphabet of BC, they write < hlwima > for ‘strange; other’.


Émile Duployé, the originator of the shorthand that became Chinuk Pipa (image credit: Wikipedia)

That’s the word you know as x̣lúyma if you’re the average Jargon learner of today — it’s the spelling in the highly useful Grand Ronde Tribes alphabet.

The Chinuk Pipa was created by French-speakers.

So, while Chinook Jargon as documented by English speakers pretty much always shows you a stressed “uy” or “oi” diphthong in this word — with spellings like < hulloima > in many popular guidebooks —

Standard, literary French doesn’t have such syllables.

So, instead, the French priest who introduced the popular Chinuk Pipa alphabet and the newspaper Kamloops Wawa wrote the word with a “wi” syllable.

It’s not at all hard to write a spelling like < hloima > using that same alphabet, so what we have here is just a “fossil” of the French intellectual heritage behind this distinctively BC writing system!

kata maika tumtum?
What do you think?