More than one word for Tree

The word tree does not translate easily between English and Hanis.  In Hanis, the word usually used for ‘tree’, nik’in, also means large tree limb, wood, and log.  Milluk uses the same word – nik’in – and it appears to have a similar range of meanings as it does in Hanis.

But I ran across an interesting word for tree in St Clair’s work with Jim Buchanan from 1906.  Occasionally Jim used the word diihlimiiya, which St Clair glossed as ‘tree, thing standing up’.  This was an interesting word as I have not seen this word used anywhere else.

So I began trying to pick the word apart, and I think it does literally mean ‘thing standing up’;  diihl, means thing; lim- is a verb that means ‘to stand upright’, and the suffix –iiye/iiya is a transitional (‘it became, got, turned out that way’).

Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua also treats ‘tree’ differently than English or the Coos languages:  it does not appear to have a generic word for ‘tree’ at all.  In many sources, hlkaituu which is the word for douglas fir is used to mean tree, and occasionally the word ts’asii, spruce, is used to mean tree.  Both doug firs and spruce are common trees of the Oregon coast.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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