Why 2 words for Jealousy?

I’ve written before about the trickiness of reconstructing meanings of some native words when they only appeared once or twice in the notes of some ethnographer.

I have run into one of these minor troubles by noting there are 2 words in Hanis glossed as ‘jealous’, and each usage was only recorded twice.  Frachtenberg, collecting words from Tom Hollis, glossed both maq’alis and xwulaiyam as jealousy.  Maq’alis (which has the nominal suffix -s) also appears in Milluk as ‘jealousy’, and the root maq’al- appears a few times in Annie Miner Peterson’s text as a verb (like jilts’áis-du yi-maq’ált, it was disgraceful when she was jealous – CNET page 83).  In Frachtenberg’s grammar, he had few examples of the -aiyam suffix but he believed it was an adjectival suffix and also affixed to intransitive verbs (where as best I can tell from the few examples it seems to have an imperfect mood).

I finally found an instance of xwulaiyam being used as a verb.  Lottie was telling Harrington a story about the flat fish skate.  When Indians heard a booming sound out in the ocean, they would say oh skate is ‘licking’ (beating) his wife.  (Yeah, I know…lovely.  Anyway…)  Lottie gave the phrase sitl’bai xyulats a huu’mis, skate is licking his wife through jealousy.  (Frank preferred the phrase sitl’bai manktit a huu’mis which means skate clubbed his wife).  The root of the verb Harrington wrote down, xyul- is undoubtedly the same as what Frachtenberg recorded as xwul-, as in Hanis the consonants x & k are usually followed by a offglide before the vowels u & uu.  But as she uses the word in the context of this story of skate it implies that xwul- isn’t just an emotion but can imply violent action along with it, or perhaps a combination of jealousy and anger – which the other word, maq’alis, might not.

Sadly I haven’t found any other pieces to the linguistic puzzle so it is hard to say exactly what xyul-/xwul- versus maq’al- meant.


About shichils

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

2 Responses to Why 2 words for Jealousy?

  1. I wonder at the resemblance of maq’al- to a Tsamosan Salish stem appx. məq’-s-č literally ‘swallow-mouth-water’ used as ‘envy someone’s food’ (a metaphor surviving in Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa’s loqa-t’uX lit. ‘swallow-spit’), metaphorically in Tsamosan used as ‘to really like/want an object ‘ e.g. a pretty dress. Maybe Tillamook could have contributed such a form? I need to learn more about that Salish language…

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