Didactic dialogues in CW dictionaries, Part 4I (Gibbs 1863 ex phrases/sentences)

What would you say — what’s the common theme among these 3 sentences?

ancient pathways

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  • Halo salmon mika? ‘Have you no fish?’ Answer Halo. ‘None.’
    (hílu sámən mayka? hílu. — literally ‘No salmon you? None.’)
  • Halo shem mika? ‘Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?’
    (hílu shím mayka? — literally ‘No shame you?’)
  • Kah mika papa? ‘Where is your father?’ Answer Halo. ‘He is out.’
    (qʰá mayka pápá? hílu. — literally ‘Where you father? None.’

You may have noticed mika (mayka) in all of these. That’s the word for ‘you’, singular. Just talking to one person. Chinuk Wawa is different from English, in having a separate word for ‘you’, plural. When you talk to more than one person at a time…or at least to a single representative of a group…you say msayka

But these 3 sentences also deal with existence. Each of them uses a “silent BE” verb. Or in other words, no word at all for ‘be’ 🙂 This, too, is very different from English! Each of these sentences could be re-cast with a synonym, míɬayt ‘to be located somewehre; to exist; to have’:

  • hílu sámən mayka míɬayt(literally, ‘no fish you have?’)
  • hílu shím mayka míɬayt? (literally, ‘no shame you have?’)
  • qʰá míɬayt mayka pápá? (literally, where is.located your father?’)

The first 2 sentences here, we can notice, use another characteristic quirk of Chinook Jargon grammar. They highlight quantities by saying them very first in the sentence.

Another super-interesting thing about today’s group of sentences is, how they use hilu. Here I’m pointing your attention to the ones that are answered with just “hilu.” Actually, all 3 can be answered that way; you could respond to the ‘Have you no shame?’ question with ‘None.’)

What’s the neatest thing to me is the use of this word hilu to say your father ‘isn’t here’. It can also be worded hilu yaka, again with the “silent BE”. But it’s very useful to know that we can just say hilu as a highly expressive sentence, ‘(S)he’s not here’, ‘there is none’, etc., as well as meaning — especially in the northern dialect — just saying ‘No’.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?