Word of the day: Flower

Once again, while listening to Morris Swadesh’s 1953 recording of Milluk with the Wasson sisters, I heard a word not recorded anywhere else; the Milluk word for flower.  It’s pkiis (p – KEES).  It struck me that it is quite similar to the Hanis word for flower which is pkíisawas.  (And weirdly, the ONLY place ‘flower’ got noted in Hanis was in Jane Sokolow’s interview with Martha Harney Johnson in 1965.  Seems odd the word never turned up even once in Jacobs or Harrington.  Go figure).

Even more funny (to me anyway) is that according to Frachtenberg’s grammar, the Hanis suffix -awas is a nominal suffix to change a verb into a noun; so you get words like tluuwawas, food, derived from tluuw- to eat.  But there is no verb *pkiis- recorded so it makes me wonder…if the word ‘flower’ did derive from a verb, what the heck was the meaning of that verb?  Hmmm.

(For those who want the Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua word for flower it is chaxan‘)

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About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
This entry was posted in Vocabulary comparisons, vocabulary words and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Word of the day: Flower

  1. Anthony says:

    Could it be something like ‘it sprouts/it blooms’, or maybe ‘it is pretty’? I think the latter may be possible. In Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa flower and pretty are both tat’is (I seem to recall).

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