Lempfrit’s legendary, long-lost linguistic legacy (Part 6)

The 6th pair of page images from an unexpectedly important but long overlooked Chinuk Wawa document!

As I’ve been doing, here I underline significant differences between Lempfrit and “Anonymous 1849” which is Alphonse Pinart’s hand copy of the same Demers manuscript.

Once again we have some illuminating discoveries in Lempfrit’s work.

  • KaptenCapitaine (‘captain’)
  • Ketlenchaudière (‘cauldron’)
  • Kōlsikfièvre (literally ‘cold illness’: ‘fever’)
  • isŏm [sic] – barre, marque(,) ceinture (‘stripe, mark, belt’)
    Here both Lempfrit & Pinart (Anonymous 1849) have miscopied an initial “T” as an “I”. The unexpected translation of t’sə́m as ‘belt’ must mean a pattern going around the middle of an animal (say a horse or dog), a fish, etc.
  • iakkwatinventre, sein (‘belly, breast’)
    Here too I think the unanticipated translation as ‘breast’ must refer to the body of an animal such as a horse. 
  • Ekalébaleine (‘whale’)
  • Ōlehāyo, loup marin, petite bête noire qui fait mourir (‘seal, small dark animal that kills’)
    I’m not sure what Lempfrit’s vaguely menacing translation is meant to connote — perhaps a ‘sea lion’ if he had never seen one of those massive creatures? Was it described to him in Chinuk Wawa? Anonymous 1849/Pinart instead have ‘scorpion’. 
  • H·oulh·oulsouris (‘mouse’)
  • Kelopaye lemaintaupe (literally ‘turn paws’: ‘mole’)
  • ayas opoutsh, renard, loup à gᵈ queue (literally ‘big tail’: ‘fox, long-tailed wolf’)
  • nanamouksloutre (‘(river) otter’)
  • Shǎlémenloutre de mer (‘sea otter’)
    I’ve written a separate article about this word…
  • Kawtinsuisse (espèce d’écureuil) (‘chipmunk (kind of squirrel)’)
    The word “suisse” (literally ‘the Swiss one’) is North American French for the chipmunk, supposedly for the similarity between its stripes and the uniforms of the Pope’s Swiss guard. It was likely the Métis fur workers’ word for this animal, which would explain how Lempfrit, a Frenchman, came to use it here. (Fun fact, Salish traditional stories highlight the chipmunk’s back stripes, for instance by portraying him as originally a naughty boy who got scratched up.) 
  • Kwiskis –  écureuil (‘squirrel’)
  • Skwiskisécureuil barré (‘striped squirrel’)
    Is this a synonym for ‘chipmunk’ in Lempfrit’s mind?
  • Mauve* shōmemouette* (‘seagull’)
    The Chinuk Wawa term is really puzzling here. For ‘seagull’, compare from Demers the CW x̣wani and Lower Chinookan i-qʷəní-qʷəni  (both cited in 2012 Grand Ronde). Note also the name of the Transformer character in traditional SW WA Salish tales, xʷəní(-xʷəni). It seems possible to me that Lempfrit was reporting any or all of these forms, possibly confused with each other, as well as perhaps a Métis French form like *mauvais s-xʷəní* ‘bad (s-)xʷəní‘. 
  • Tlok-tlaketourneau(d)* (‘starling’)
    There were no such birds as starlings in the Pacific NW in 1849. I don’t recall seeing them here until about 20 or 25 years ago (compare this), and they’re known to have spread from an intentional 1890 release in New York City. So is this word a misunderstanding for ‘grasshopper’, which in the 2012 Grand Ronde dictionary is tɬakʰətɬak?
  • Zinoiseau mouche (‘hummingbird’)
  • Tchakeltchekaigle gris (‘grey eagle’)
  • tépiaile, grande plume (‘wing, big feather’)
  • Shawash esalh(,) otoka, fruit sauvage (literally ‘Native corn’: ‘otoka, a Native fruit’)
    Lempfrit’s gloss as otoka, a word we haven’t seen elsewhere, shows that this is a word for ‘salal berry’, because in SW WA Salish one of the 2 common names for that plant is t’ə́q’ (literally ‘it’s (be)low’. Otoka appears to be an otherwise undocumented loan of the Salish word into Lower Chinookan, where it predictably took on the Feminine noun-marking prefix u-. Note, RV Grant 1946 takes this entry as a Chinuk Wawa phrase shawash esalh otoka (literally ‘Native corn otoka’) with a French gloss ‘fruit sauvage’.   

lemfrit 6b

  • iakessilt-nosaigle qui sent de l’o[rdure]* (literally ‘sharp-nose/beak’: ‘eagle that smells like garbage’)
    Corner of page is missing, so I’m inferring a reading here; do my French-speaking readers find it plausible? RV Grant reports ‘aigle qui sent de loin’ (‘eagle that smells from afar’), which makes sense. 
  • Inépoupou (‘louse’)
  • Shit tnepoulente (merde de pou) (literally ‘shit-louse’ in Jargon: ‘nit (louse excrement’)’
    Lempfrit’s added offering of a literal meaning ‘louse excrement’, and his spelling of the second word with an initial t-, suggest that he thought of it as quasi-French, shit d'(i)nepou. This Chinuk Wawa compound has always struck me as odd, as I tend to think I’d have expected *inepou-shit* ‘louse-poop’. Maybe it wasn’t just Lempfrit, but also the many Métis French speakers around Fort Vancouver, who thought as he did!
  • Kālākēyaoignon sauvage (‘wild onion’)
  • Shitexcrément (‘excrement’)
  • Ōlékā, Serpent(,) couleuvre (‘serpent, snake’)
  • Sheh opouts, – Serpent à sonnettes (literally ‘rattling tail’: ‘rattlesnake’)
  • Kelkiteho  ⌉ bouteille (‘bottle’)
  • Laboutaye
  • tsik tsik, roue(,) charette (‘wheel, cart’)
  • oih̃atchemin, sillon (‘road, furrow’)
    Lempfrit’s unexpected translation as a ‘furrow’ from plowing provides us nice information about agricultural terminology in early-creolized Chinuk Wawa.
  • tlipaïtfil, petite corde, nerf (‘thread, cord, nerve’)
  • Watsch, – montre(,) horloge (‘watch, clock’)
  • Latoucktoque(,) bonnet (‘toque, cap’)
  • Lamitane*, mitaine(,) gant (‘mitten, glove’)
  • Tliskwissnatte (‘mat’)
  • Toto, – van – tamis (‘winnowing basket (‘fan’), sieve’)
  • Siapoul oléléframboise (literally ‘hat berry’: ‘raspberry’)
  • Shot olélé, – bluet [sic] – (airelle) (literally ‘(lead) shot berry’: ‘blueberry’, ‘lingonberry’)
  • Sahalé shousdessus du soulier (literally ‘upper shoe’: ‘shoe’s “upper”‘)
    A Chinuk Wawa phrase formed analogously to kíkwəli-sik’aluks ‘underpants’ etc., which shows that 2012 Grand Ronde is right in reporting this more accurately as ‘overshoes’ from Demers, Blanchet, & St. Onge 1871. This apparent mistake by Lempfrit, along with his take on ‘nits’ as ‘louse poop’, might suggest that his grasp of CW grammar was flawed, but in this case Anonymous 1849/Pinart (RV Grant 1946) have the same translation being copied from Demers’ original manuscript!
  • opkanah̃panier (‘basket’)

So once again, we have some new discoveries and insights courtesy of Honoré-Timothée Lempfrit!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?