Siuslaw augmentatives and diminutives

So the other day I was asked how to say ‘old man’ in Siuslaw.  In both Coos languages there are different words for people at different stages of life.  Siuslaw seems to rely more on playing with adding different suffixes to do that.

The word for man in Siuslaw is toxmuuni.  (See ‘about’ section for pronunciation guide).  To say old man, you add the augmentative suffix -ilma.  Adding -ilma to a word will add the meaning ‘big’, ‘very’ or ‘old’, so old man is toxmilma.  

If you add it to the word yikt  or ‘ikt, meaning big or large, you get yiktilma, very large.  And so on and so forth.

There is an opposite suffix, –isk’in, which is a diminutive.  It is like the Spanish –ito/a, meaning little or cute.  puus is cat, puusisk’in is kitten.

Both suffixes can be used together to mean ‘little old something’.  Stepmother is based on the word for mother, mihla, and these two suffixes used together so you get mihlask’ilma, stepmother, literally little-old-mother.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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