Boas 1892: Many discoveries in a short article (Part 5: ‘to dream’)

Today’s word from Franz Boas’s 1892 article “The Chinook Jargon” isn’t some then-new Lower Chehalis Salish-sourced discovery.


The Chinook Dream, sort of a musum-t’sikt’sik (image credit: Youtube)

Instead, it’s our earliest known occurrence of a Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa expression that we know well:

< mō’sum nā’nitc > ‘to dream’,
i.e. músum-nánich in GR CW

This is a phrase that I’ve already analyzed as apparently having come about within Chinook Jargon, rather than being modeled on any of the source/parent languages.

(See my article, “What Else is ENDOGENOUS to Chinuk Wawa?“)

Boas’s detection of this at Shoalwater Bay, Washington shows us that the phrase didn’t necessarily originate at Grand Ronde Indian Reservation, Oregon.

I haven’t found this phrase in northern CW, where musum so often is a kind of tabooed word.

(I’ll be writing separately about that issue. Suffice it to say, in 250 issues of the Kamloops Wawa newspaper, I find musum exactly twice — both times it’s merely being mentioned in French or English.)

Nor do I find a northern equivalent to the Boas/GR expression: *slip-nanich doesn’t turn up.

One hypothesis we can formulate based on this information is that musum-nanich was invented after the Jargon was imported to BC (and other northern places) circa 1858.

Instead, a pretty darn frequent word in British Columbia Chinook Jargon is drim, straight from English, probably of a similar 1880s-1890s vintage as the many, many other informal English loans in BC CJ.

Bonus fact:

músum-nánich seems like kind of a “serial verb”, two (or more) predicates having a single expressed subject.

You know which tribal source languages in the historical homeland of Chinuk Wawa have serial verbs?

Salish for sure.

I’m not sure if say K’alapuyan languages have them. Chinookan, I would venture a large bet, cannot possibly have them.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?