Shared Words

There are a handful of nouns that I have found so far that are identical, or nearly so, between Hanis and Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua (and excluding those words that both languages borrowed from Chinook Jargon):

English          Hanis       Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua

pack basket   kawol        kawol

wapato            k’wiimits q’wiimits

alder                 tl’wex         tl’waxaim

cougar              hliichit       hliicht

crow                  maqatl        maqtl

turtle                  nikan         nikan

dog                    kwiiyuus     kwiiyus*

*Here is where the dialects of Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw diverge – Lower Umpqua uses the term kwiiyuus for dog, but Siuslaw uses sqaxch, of shqaxh – closer to the Alsea term.

Of these correspondences I have found so far, most of them have to do with living things – animals or a plant. That may reflect the bias of how far I have gotten in my research of the language, and I may yet find some other shared terms.

Siuslaw/Umpqua is less well attested than Hanis – so could these terms reflect the faulty memory or Siuslaw/Umpqua informants, substituting a Hanis word in place of the Siuslaw one? I don’t think so – a lot of these terms can be traced multiple times, from Milhau’s list in 1856, to Bissel in the 1880s, to Frachtenberg in 1911, to Harrington in 1942.

The most likely explanation is just language contact – Hanis and Lower Umpqua living as next door neighbors, and trading and travelling back and forth – encouraged the spread words. k’wiimots and q’wiimots for wapato is a very good case for this – the principle wapato patch everyone recalled was at Tenmile Lake, the old boundary between the Hanis and Lower Umpqua. I am sure groups from both tribes met there to gather these tubers.

kawol, for pack basket, is a more curious one. Because the Hanis and Lower Umpqua had slightly different designs for making them – the Hanis and Milluk made conical ones, usually of sticks. while Umpquas made soft U shaped one from cattail leaves. The Hanis even had a special term to distinguish this Umpqua type pack basket – pqahl.

However, kawol seems to be a well-entrenched Umpqua word, because the village at Winchester Bay was Kawliich – pack basket place, named after two rocks that that were overturned pack baskets turned to stone long ago, according to legend.

I left Milluk out of the list this time, because I need to do more research there. It shares some of these terms with Hanis – like for alder, cougar and crow – but goes its own way for some other terms.

I’ll have to save Milluk and Hanis comparisons for another post.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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One Response to Shared Words

  1. Kaxauxt22 says:


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