It is no surprise that a coastal culture would have lots of words to describe something as basic and important to daily living in and around tides.

So far in Hanis I’ve found at least 7 words or phrases to describe tides:

  • tleqes means tides in general, high or low
  • towitsu is an ebb tide
  • tsolets is an evening low tide
  • tsletschewos is an extremely low tide
  • kwaltl’ is high tide
  • tl’uunii is a high or ‘flood tide’; Annie Miner Peterson described it as meaning ‘stay water up on beach’.
  • ch’lii u qais (ch’liyu qais) describes low tide; it literally means ‘dry its world’.

For Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua reference, I don’t have many references handy other than Frachtenberg’s “Lower Umpqua Texts” from 90 years ago.  Words for tide there are qtluuwai  for high tide and wiitlai and k’apai to describe low tide.  wiitl– means ‘water is low’, and k’ap- is ‘to be dry’; so the metaphor and  meaning of Siuslaw k’apai is quite similar to Hanis ch’lii u qais for describing low tide.

At the moment, I have limited access to Milluk materials, but it looks like tl’uunii is high tide, just as it is in Hanis.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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