Lempfrit’s legendary, long-lost linguistic legacy (Part 3)

Thanks to “Chinook Jargon” group (on Facebook) member Gabriele Barra for asking a question that pointed me to this overlooked old document:

Rena V[ictoria] Grant 1946 “Alphonse Pinart and the Chinook Jargon” (California Folklore Quarterly
5(3):277-297, July.) She examines the document called “Anonymous 1849” in the Grand Ronde Tribes dictionary of Chinuk Wawa, 2012.

Grant’s unresolved question at the time publication was: whose 1849 document was Pinart copying in 1876?

We may have an answer now.

This current mini-series is presenting a dated item essentially identical with Pinart’s, down to the tiniest details — something handwritten by Catholic missionary Honoré-Timothée Lempfrit (or Lampfrit).

Here’s the direct link to Lempfrit 1849.

Per a helpful question from Dr. Henry Zenk, I can confirm that Lempfrit 1849 has the hymns and prayers that are also found in Anonymous 1849 — Yes, he has apparently the same songs, also found in Demers – Blanchet – St Onge 1871. And more stuff. Here’s a list of all of the material following the Chinuk Wawa vocabulary in his document:

The resemblances are beyond the coincidental level. Lempfrit 1849 is, I agree with RV Grant (p. 279) and Henry Zenk, copied from Bishop of Vancouver Island, Modeste Demers’s original 1838-1839 work based on that man’s early Fort Vancouver experiences, later published as Blanchet 1853 and as Demers – Blanchet – St Onge 1871.

I have to take a moment to disagree with RV Grant p. 280, on a minor point: she claims the two later versions I’ve just mentioned added “a number of terms…not really belonging to the Jargon” such as pappoose ‘an infant’ and Sant Espli ‘Holy Ghost’. Such words are actually well-established in Chinuk Wawa from at least Fort Vancouver times, by all evidence. They seem to be corrections by very knowledgeable sources.

I momentarily thought I might switch gears in this mini-series for convenience, and just present Lempfrit (“Anonymous”) 1849 from RV Grant’s published version, but nope. I prefer to stick with the original document and do original research. And anyways, Grant (with whose transcriptions of this document I often disagree) doesn’t provide English translations for the French definitions of the Chinuk Wawa words. I’ll take care of that.

More importantly yet, there’s additional material in the Lempfrit manuscript that differs greatly from the
“Anonymous 1849” Bancroft Library copy that Grant (and the Grand Ronde 2012 dictionary crew) was working with. I have underlined and italicized that material here. Its existence indicates that “Anonymous 1849” and the French archives’ Lempfrit manuscript are two different items — thus the latter is effectively a new discovery for us!

Now, picking up the thread, here’s Part 3 of our mini-series on Lempfrit 1849, the next couple of pages in the manuscript:

  • Kălăkouaté — écorce de cedre (‘cedar bark’)
  • la lassine — Racine (‘root’)
  • Win — vent, air(,) souffle, respiration (‘wind, air, breath, breathing’)
  • Sno — neige (‘snow’)
  • Snas — pluie (‘rain’)
  • Kōl-èléhé — hyver, pays froid (‘winter, [literally] cold country’)
  • Wam èléhé — Eté(,) pays chaud (‘summer, [literally] hot country’)
  • Tanas Kōl-èléhé — automne(,) terre peu froide (‘autumn, [literally] slightly cold ground’)
  • Tanas-Wam èléhé — printemps(,) terre un peu froide (‘spring, [literally] slightly warm ground’)
  • Kioutan — Cheval (‘horse’)
  • Kamouks — Chien (‘dog’)
  • Hina — Castor (‘beaver’)
  • Kă(l)kălă — Oiseau, mouche (‘bird, a fly’)
    The ‘fly’ sense is new to me. 
  • Kom — peigne (‘a comb’)
  • Knime — Canot (‘canoe’)
  • Pōt — bateau(,) berge (‘boat, barge’)
  • issik — aviron (‘rowing’)
    The copyist would seem to have known of the Chinook Jargon expression mamuk-isik ‘to row’, judging by this verb-like translation of what’s really a noun for ‘oar, paddle’ in CJ. 
  • Lălăme — rame (‘a paddle’)
  • Tin-tin — cloche, violon, tout instrumen musical (‘bell, violin, any musical instrument’)
  • Tshōp — grand père (‘grandfather’)
  • Tshitsh — grand-mère (‘grandmother’)

(Next page:)

  • Tshikmin — fer (‘iron’)
  • Stil — acier (‘steel’)
  • Pel-tshikmin — cuivre (fer rouge) (‘copper ([literally] red iron’)
  • Lélou — Loup (‘wolf’)
  • Talapas — Renard, petit loup (‘fox, little wolf’)
    Meaning ‘coyote’. It seems to me I’ve seen a Jargon equivalent of “little wolf” somewhere, like tənəs-lílu, but I’m not finding it now. 
  • Pouspous — chat (‘cat’)
  • Ayias pouspous — Tigre (‘tiger’)
    Meaning ‘cougar’. 
  • Kăyé — Poulin (‘colt’)
  • Mousmous — Boeuf (‘beef’)
    Meaning ‘cow(s)’. 
  • Cloutshimin mousmous — vache (‘cow’)
    Specifically female cows. 
  • Tsok – wata — eau(,) rivière (‘water, river’)
    Here the copyist is giving two separate genuine CJ words for ‘water’. 
  • La Klas — glace (‘ice’)
  • Polale èléhé — Sable (‘sand’)
    The CJ phrase really means ‘beach, bank, shore’.
  • Pōlăle — poudre (‘powder’)
  • Stōn — pierre, ongle, corne, noyeau, os (‘stone, (finger/toe)nail, horn, kernel, bone’)
  • Ston mitlait — parties viriles (‘male parts’)
    The CJ phrase actually refers to uncastrated male domesticated animals. It’s literally ‘the stones (i.e. testicles) are there’. 
  • Télékŏm — individu, gens, monde (‘individual, people, people’)
  • Shavash — sauvage (‘Native person’)
  • Passayouks — français (‘French’)
  • Paston — américain (‘American’)
  • Sipman —   ⌉    anglais (‘English(man)’)
  • Kinjoge —  ⌋
    The first word, sipman, actually means ‘sailor’, literally ‘ship man’, rather than being a synonym for ‘Englishman’. But at old Fort Vancouver it would’ve been easy for a Native person to think that everyone arriving by ship was British…

Interestinger and interestinger!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?