Words for ‘bread’

Bread is a ‘new’ introduced item for Indians.  Ok, it’s been available for about 2 centuries, to some degree or other, for Indians, but still ‘new’ in the since that Indian people had to borrow or coin a word or phrase for this item, since wheat (and bread as we usually think of it) is an introduced crop.  (Corn crowing peoples made and still make corn breads and tortillas, but for whatever reasons of geography and culture, corn never made it out to the west coast).

In Hanis I’ve seen 2 words for bread.  One is qalax which originally meant white clay.  Qalax came to refer to flour and bread because of a perceived resemblance between white clay and bread.

The other word is tl’aq  or dl’laq.  The word means ‘flat’.  But it could also mean bread, and a slang-y term for Alsea people – tl’axa xwuuluux, flat head, bread head – because the Alseas (and so on up the coast to British Columbia) practiced flattening of the foreheads.  Per Frank Drew, tl’aq referred specifically to a ‘no raising’ (ie, yeastless flat bread) bread that Indians started baking for themselves after they got flour.

So, I guess the yeast bread one buys at the store (or makes at home, for the dedicated bakers) is qalax rather than tl’aq.



About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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