Howay [Haswell, Boit, Hoskins] “Voyages of the Columbia” (Part 1C of 5)

Continuing our research on the earliest Native contacts with Newcomers on the Pacific Northwest coast is BC judge F.W. Howay’s “Voyages of the “Columbia” to the Northwest coast, 1787-1790 and 1790-1793” (Portland, OR : Oregon Historical Society Press, 1990).

[Part 1A here.]

[Part 1B here.]

So far we’ve been reading reports of interactions with Native people from the Oregon coast up to the modern Alaska-Canada sea border.

Now, more from Haswell’s narrative of the first voyage of the Columbia to these shores, 1788-1789:


Robert Haswell (image credit: Massachusetts Historical Society)

Part 1C:

Pages 102-107 are a quite good-sized “Vocabulary of Nootka Sound” that I haven’t found examined by anyone in depth before. Have a look and see which words remind you of Chinook Jargon, because quite a few of these did become part the Jargon as we know it…

Page 102:


Tsawaak     One
Utlah     Two
Cutsah     Three
Moo     Four
Sucha     Five
Noopoo     Six
Attlepoo     Seven
Attle a coalthz     Eight
Tsaw a coalthz     Nine
Haioo     Ten

NOTE. When they count up to Ten, they begin again at one and count as follows:

Tsawcates     Twenty
Cutsaak     Thirty
Mooyaak     Forty
Suchaak     Fifty
Noopoak     Sixty
Attlepoak     Seventy
Attle a coathy auch     Eighty
Tsawa coalthy auch     Ninety
Haioo yauch     One hundred

NOTE. They cannot count any higher than an Hundred.

Upitsaska     the Head
Upsee oop     Forehead
Casee     Eyes

Ahie chee     Eyebrows
Hatsamixamee     Eyelash
Neetsah     Nose
Ahah mas     Cheek
Etluthsool     Mouth
Choop     Tongue
Chee chee chee     Teeth
Tsewaap     Chin
Apaxamah     Beard
Cutsack     a Garment
Tsecomits     Neck
Ah upetso     Arms
Cook anexo     Hands
Papee     Ears
Up ah tsoot     Palm of the hand
Enah pulthz     Back of the hand
Ehhah comitz     Thumb
Coopayack     First finger
Tiyee     Middle finger
Oatso     Ring Finger
Catt’ecah     Finger nail
Klaptshomah     Breast
Kla sa pee     Shoulder
Tachah     Belly
Kopatz     Back
Ah up tsux     Thigh
Klish tlinna     Leg
Kahtlah to me     Feet
Che che sugh to me     Toes
Hysah     Blood
Anne catsemah     A mask resembling a Quadrupeds head
Nooclootsamah     A mask resembling a Human face
Topulsheetle     to Sneeze
Wasucsheetle     to Cough
Ahsecho     Cedar bark worn round the Head for ornament
Chamass     Victuals
Nucksheetle     to Drink
Ahoah     to Eat
Chauch     Fresh water
Tupulthz     Salt water
Shucksheetle     to Strike
Hoxup     to Overset
Tahatsanoolthz     a Knife
Chaha pah     a Red fish
Tenass     a Child or small

Page 103:


Cleetanick     a Ditto [i.e. Child]
Iacopes     a Man

Winnapee     Stay
Weltsheatle     Go away
Clotuwah     Paddle off
Chuckguo     Come here
Tiyee     a Chief
Ahco     Here
Cap sheetle     to rob by force or steal
Patcheetle     to Give
Kaksabut     to Kill
Suck quit chee     to Bring
Enetsheetle     Coming
Wakush ha well     Terms of friendship
Cloosh     Good
Peeshack     Bad
Clyomee     Give me more
Aye or ao     Yes
Mischimmas     Lower class of people
Macook     to Barter
Nahnook     to Sing
Hanook     to be Angry
Sickeminnee     Iron
Cheepokes     Copper
Sumah     Fish in general
Suhah     Salmon
Cloosmit     Herrins
Amanolthz     Sardines
Mowich     a Deer
Cloonimina     A Moose
Wik atish     I have not
Ayemahah     I don’t understand
Quotluck     Sea Otter Skins
Siahhao     a great way off
Hannas     Nigh
Nass     Day
Peeshackisnass     Foul weather
Commatax     I understand
Mamahtlee     a Ship or Vessel
Na nah neich     Let me see
Clack a miss     Oil
Clack a mish ish     Oily
Enicksee     Wood in general
Mooxey     Rocks
Choo coo     Come here
Ushanick     Make haste
Oxamah     a Goose
Mustata     a Bow
Seihatee     an Arrow
Seitah     an Arrow case
Tappahlah     a Spear
Clehalthz     a Matt
Qotseecahauch     a Dancing apron cover’d with Deer’s houghs
Cahtler     Hand it
Mah     Take it
Mamahlee     Birds in general
Wassa     Where
Uquot     Friendly Cove
Clyoquot     Wickananish’s Harbour
Tashees     a Village so called
Tashees     a River so called
Copetee     a Village so called
Tashee     Door, Path etca.
Micklah     Rain
Quiece     Snow
Quemals     Frost

Page 104:


Siapokes     a Hat or Cap
Clootsmah     a Woman
Toque     Ornament for the Ear
Aneetle     a Dog
Cahsheetle     Dead
Cepotts     a Canoe
Tequinnee     a War Canoe
Tupsheetle     to Sink
Ocquappee     a Paddle
Macquinna    }
Callicum     Shot by order of Don Martinez July 1789}
Wickananish     }
Hannappee     }
Cloopananish     }
Oomees     }     Names of Chiefs
Tatoocheatecus     }
Clackokenah     }
Mannakin     }
Nashnachook     }
Nooche     }
Wahclassemah     }

Qaohommes     Paint
Maas     a Town or Village
Mah hah tee     a House
Ah chucklah     what’s your name
Mic took ish     Old
Homees     Cedar Wood
Wicktup     a hard red wood
Iacopes clyomaas     a Man of another Town
Toohook     Frightened
Chimmis     a Bear
Etscola     a Mouse
Ahyuck     a great many
Koo     Ice
Malthzlah     Cold
Cheetasheetle     to Shiver
Ahietso     {a small root they dig early in Spring, a leaf like clover
Kleet see oop     {a Root like Sassaparilla, tastes like a Carolina Potatoe
Cleesook     White
Tubcook     Black or Blue
Clahoke     Red
Wah kee tuck     Green or Yellow
Opahcoostahah     Sunrise
Opatutlish     Sunset
Topesheetle     tomorrow
Waaeitch     Sleep
Cleethach     a Bear skin
Queequick     a Raccoon skin
Cheetlechee     Cut
Tee tlee tee     Rub
Cloopah     Warm
Uk kuck     What’s that?
Unnah     Only
Clooak     a Beard
Winnah     Voyagers
Tumiss     Charcoal
Cleesheetle     to Write
Cheeteeuch     a Saw or file
Cheemah     a War Knife
Tacoalthz     Sit down
Clackeeshueetle     Get up
Clah     Now
Ahnah      Friend hark ye
Tsahoak     Sour
Mahak     Smarts
Matchelclat     a Town so called

Page 105:


Oona     how many
Klummah     a Wooden Image
Koalthz     a Slave
Nuche     Land
Suchass     Trees
T’sitsa anna     to Talk
Wahwatleacoalthz     to Scold
Noowahhickso     Father
Oo mah exo     Mother
Mahek’leuts     Son
Clootsutz     Daughter
Clootchmoop     Sister
Clootchah     Wife
Cathlatick     Brother
Hah hulthz     a Cover or Inlet
Opulthz Iacopes     Sun
Opulthz Clootsmah     Moon
Tahtoose     Stars
Cheetuqualish     Night
Ehulsheetle     Knock
Hoconic     a Chest
Oquilth     make
Cheeminnee     a Fish hook
Tah ah tee     Fish hooks of different kinds
Malthz     a Horn
Mowickmalthz     a Deers Horn
Ishl so gottee     a Pearl shell
Iyelth     a Feather
See e sook     a Grass fishing line
Tsemah     a Net
Clah paat     a Cedar bark bag
Mutcheetle     to Bite
Neekeeneeco     to Scratch
Cutsheetle     to Pinch
Yetscah yetscah     to Kick
Chut e chut     to Shove
Clicksheetle     to Beat
Ah wayatle     Enough
Clakeeso     a Boy’s name
Aptsheetle     to Hide
Ahack     to Cry
Cleewhoah     to Laugh
Mamook     to Work
Tahielt     Sick
Chimmetah     Well
Callichahmah     an Egg
Quo co quo     like this
Ita ita     a Falsehood
Heia     Wind
Cosha     Smoak
Yahuch     pain
Yahuck ish     painfull
Hycheenah     a Cockell
Oyelthz     to Dance
Ah wattanee     a White headed Eagle
Suwah     Your
Seeyah     me
Suquit’t     take hold
Tta sheetle     Let go
Wah sheetle     Throw away
Mooshsaap     Shut
Quosaap     Open
Chicksemah     a Mast
Nah’ah     Hark or listen
Seeyah Opoolthz     I’m deaf
Toosh koa     a Cod fish
Poa     a Halibut
Quo ah miss     Herrin spawn
Chitcoak     an Instrument to catch Herrin
Hye yeh     a Snake
Pilthz lah     too small
Clahomitza     a Cousin
Taugh a mis     Spittle
Taughsheetle     Spit
Noo ak sheetle     to Swallow
Ak ah lapso     What seek you?

Page 106:


Ahyemahahcheetz     I don’t remember
Son a pulthz     Kelp
Cliptsheetle     to Wash
Cleatsheetle     to Shoot an Arrow
Cloos’ isht     Smoak’d Herrins
Eneatle     Come in
Ena shaas     Shall I come in
Ah loop     Wild cellery
Tootootch     Thunder
Clahsheetle     Lightning
Cutsoominnee     Hail
Sheelah     a Root
Ahchispah     this side
Quispah     t’other side
Quispite     each side
Nah chook     Look
Chanee     I can’t see
Nut soo     I see
Way yuck     Who
Chee cheetle     to Pull
Chatchatah     to Divide
Anneekish     to Bend
Clacko     Thank you
Cock a mahack     a small fish or bream
Noopoot waietch     Last night
Isuks     Leeks
Ahmeetle     tomorrow
Clyother     Another
Mah’ahk     a Whale
Nootcheeuck     a Sling to throw stones
Cocoobsooiechuck     a Ring
Ameteeshee’tl     Tell or told
I’tak tish coaz     Lying fellow
Wemasish     Asham’d
Athy     Dark
Ahcoathly     Lend
Why     Then
Waugh ah nee     a Land Otter
Mookwhoah     to Boil
Ahchiscahwolthza     Move this way
Nutsocoalthz     Move that way
Tsamaha     Silence
Toohwhoahsoolth     I’m tired
Haaspeyaksheetle     to Yawn
Ah ah coak     What is that
Cloo quee tee     Broad
Anne kee tee sah     Narrow
Amm’aok     a Calm
Cowilth     to Steal
Oyea     Presently
Shewitsowan     Maquinna’s Son
Haweltpiltso     Maquinna’s Daughter
Kaashookonook     Hannapees Son
Wesuck     Glad
Susuck     to abuse with bad Language
Mah wah     Return
Quotcheetle     Break
Cap cut see     Give me to eat
Ahomah     Good to eat
Ahmee     Yesterday
Clootsmuck     a Wife taken in the Town the man lives [sic] 
Sahsintz     a humming Bird
Ya’ak     Love
Cah meetuck     a Snare to catch Geese
Hoh oh yeh     to Change
Commatacheet’l     I remember
Ish ish sha     to Chew
Sedgkas     a Comb
Ammoot     a Bone
Tsiscomiss     the lean of a Whale
Claak     Whale blubber
Teetch     alive
Waw waw      you said
Mattsquinna     a Fly
Setah     the Tail of anything
Mist sheetle     to Smell
Climmichsheetle     Daylight
Ackea lammaak     What have you been doing

Page 107:


Moochitch     Put on
Hah nah toot’l     Pull off
Wik hah micklah     Does it not rain?
Ao ayuckish     Yes, very much
Cloopahish nass     It’s a fine warm day
Commetcook     to Walk
Yetsook     to Run
Qoutheegish     Heavy
U wheesish     Light
Tak’sheetle     to Feel
Copecheetle     to Point
Mietch hy     Both alike
Apuksheetle     to Hug
Hah welt tut’l     a Youth
Ha got’l     a Young Woman
Tanas     a Boy or Girl
Mictook Iacopes     an old man
Mictook Clootsmah     an old woman
Clah o quilth     Night before last
Ah mee ahhy     Last night
Hash coal     }
Matchetlat     }
Manoish     }
Otsoosutt     } Names of the Towns which they trade with to the Southward of Nootka Sound
Kitsmahat     }
Clyoqot     }
Ut looetlet     }
Clyees uh     }
Tootooch     }
Uahtee     North wind
Toox elth     South wind
Toochee     East wind
Ashlithet     West wind
Keeshack     Crooked
Ky a a     Take care
Ah choo chee     to Stutter
Ah chukes tick     What do you call it
Poo all yal too     I’m sleepy
Tloo ah tluttle     I forget
Hemucks     Deer’s Tallow
Tsistoob     Twine or String
Tyee sum     a Large rope
Oshtock     Work
Wee ee chit’l     I am sorry
Weektock     Hazy
Shuma athat     }
Noocho tlat     }
Ahatesut     }
Che neckenet     } Names of the Towns which they visit and trade with to the Northward of Nootka Sound
Otluckchaal     }
Kyuquot     }
Chee ah clee sutt     }
Cly ish hut     }
Qushkeemoowhoat     }
Hiesekackomilth     January
Weeyackomilth     February
Hiakolmilth     March
Enuckhechetermilth     April
Quahkermilth     May
Tahahtakahmilth     June
Sahtsmilah     July
Eneecoresamilth     August
Nahalth     September
Cheecakomilth     October
Mahmee exso     November
Cathlatick     December
Moot shittle     Flood tide
Hah utle     Ebb tide

While I’m not a specialist in the Nuučaan’uɬ language, I’ve done some work with it & have some acquaintance with it. I see a number of likely incipient pidginized uses in Haswell’s list. Examples of what I mean are:

  • (page 102) the “multiples of ten” numbers from 30 on up use a Base 10 system (like English), unlike all modern dialects shown in the T’aat’aaqsapa dictionary, which use Base 20
  • Tiyee ‘middle finger’ (we’re used to this meaning ‘chief’) — compare probably (page 107) Tyee sum ‘a Large rope’ (also notable for its clues to syntax),
  • Chamass ‘victuals’ i.e. ‘food’ (usually ‘sweet’),
  • (page 103) Commatax ‘I understand’ (usually a generic ‘understand/know’),
  • the syntax in (page 105) Seeyah Opoolthz ‘I’m deaf’ (usually ‘it’s me’ + apparently ‘deaf’,
  • and in Opulthz Iacopes ‘Sun’ (literally ‘sun/moon man’) & Opulthz Clootsmah ‘Moon’ (literally ‘sun/moon woman’),
  • and (page 106) Waw waw ‘you said’ (usually a generic ‘say/speak’).

But there’s no real clear indication of a consistent, recognized, agreed-on pidgin “Nootka Jargon” grammar being used yet, in full setnences, in 1789. (Unlike say Moziño 1792 or Jewett’s 1815 word list.)

And there’s no indication of Euro-Americans being able to communicate using Nuučaan’uɬ words anywhere outside of Nuučaan’uɬ country.

Haswell’s word list, like all the others from those earliest contacts, very much needs a close study by qualified speakers and linguists to figure out what Native words it actually represents, and how they were being used. And it would be wise of us to compile an “early Nootka”/Nootka Jargon dictionary. This is a way we can figure out to what degree the various recorded words are misunderstandings, pidginizations, etc. Such a research project will shed a great deal of light on the generic PNW Coast jargon that was the ancestor of Chinook Jargon!  (This is your cue, Linguistics grad students and/or PhD’s.)

To restate my steadfast conclusion, in agreement with no less an expert on early PNW Coast documents than Howay himself, in various of his publications — there was absolutely no sign of a pidgin language existing in our region prior to the coming of Euro-American newcomers.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?