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:
- Signum Crucis & Pater Noster
- Ave Maria & Credo
- Confiteor & Les dix commandemens de Dieu
- Sex Eccl. mandata, Actus Fidei, Actus Spei, Actus Contritionis
- Bénédicité, Grâces, Cantiques
- Dieu seul avant la Création, Dieu en trois personnes, Dieu a tout fait, Dieu voit tout, Le Fils de Dieu né pour nous, Il est mort pour nous, Je mets ma Confiance
- Plus —
- Vocabulary of unnamed language, plus prayers in it (Cowichan = Hul’qumi’num Salish)
- Noms des différens Chefs que je connais [‘Names of the different Chiefs I know’, including a “grand chef” of the Makah, more than one “tayé” (CW táyí ‘chief’), a Lummi, a Cowichan, a “petit chef”, a Saanich]
- The word “SAhElE” (perhaps CW sáx̣ali ‘high; heaven’), possibly in someone else’s (neoliterate?) hand
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’)
- 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’)
- Kăyé — Poulin (‘colt’)
- Mousmous — Boeuf (‘beef’)
- 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!
Thanks much for shining a light on this obscure and important source, Dave. For all of the help I’ve gotten from Catholic scholars, notably the late Fr Wilfred Schoenberg (one time Gonzaga U archivist) and the Trappist monk Fr Martinus Cawley (now living in seclusion at Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey, Lafayette OR, or last I heard), one thing I’ve never understood is the system of Catholic archives. I do wonder if Fr Demers’ original mss are tucked away in some Catholic archive somewhere? According what I learned years ago from Fr Shoenberg, Demers and FN Blanchet, who came out from Quebec to Ft Vancouver in 1838, were both diocesan priests, not members of one of the Catholic Orders (unlike Fr Schoenberg, a Jesuit, as also was a younger brother of FN Blanchet, AMA Blanchet). One thing I would sure like to see is Demers’ Chinuk Wawa translation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which Pilling reports seeing at Georgetown U. I wrote to the archivist at Georgetown probably around 1995, who reported back to me that he was unable to find that. According to Fr Martinus, the pope at that time had a special thing about that particular dogma, and solicited translations of it in all world languages. So I would think that that is very likely to be in some Catholic archive, somewhere.
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