I’ve been working, off and on, on comparing St Clair’s list of 200+ Milluk and Hanis words (that he got in 1903 from work with Jim Buchanan, Frank Drew and George Barney). One part of the vocabulary where there is a big divergence between the two is in the numerals.
Back in 1987, Eugene Buckley (then a grad student in linguistics, today a professor at University of Pennsylvania) was looking at lexical comparisons between Alsea, Siuslaw, Hanis and to a lesser extent Milluk (at that time he had little access to organized Milluk materials). Just looking at the numbers one through five, even though on the surface the words look very different between the 4 languages, a closer analysis shows some relationship.
Here is a chart of the #s 1-5 as Buckley wrote them (č=ch, š=sh, ƛ=tl, ɨ=i as in bit):
I would note quickly that Buckley pulled the Milluk word for five from Dorsey’s word list; a better rendering comes from Jacobs, qench’insi.
On the surface they don’t look similar, except one can notice immediately that there is the element ‘psin’ in the numeral 3 in all the languages except Siuslaw, and it is even there except the /p/ is here a /sh/. Also notice that just within the Hanis, the numeral 1-3 all seem to be prefixed with yi/yu (no, I have no idea what it is) leaving us with -xei, -xwe and -psin in that languages for those numbers.
Some of the numbers appear to be descriptive of ways of counting. Buckley noted that the Alsea word for 5, su•dást, may be made up of su•t– ‘drop’ and nominal-adjectival –a•st, in reference to a method of counting. Siuslaw ‘5’ probably comes from ƛxaip-‘be off to one side’. He was less sure of Hanis’ origin for 5 -it clearly does have the nominal –s suffix, however.
For the other numerals he went on to say:
…the best correspondences are psin ‘three’ and ts’u• ‘two’…. ts’u• is in Miluk and Siuslaw ‘two’ and ‘four’, with an unglottalized version in Alsea ‘four’ and ‘twice’ (tsu•m). In Siuslaw the word for ‘two’ seems to be composed of two elements, ts’u• plus xa• which may be related to Alsea xe and Hanis xwe found in the words for ‘two’. Hanis ‘one’ through ‘three’ are clearly prefixed with yɨ- (yu- before a labial). The xe•i in Hanis ‘one’ is perhaps cognate with Alsea xam, where the final [m] could be the multiplicative, i.e. ‘one time’. The [n] in Alsea and Siuslaw ‘four’ (used with ts’u• ‘two’) is probably related to the irregular Hanis plural marker -n. THe suffixes [ƛ, k, x] which seem to occur in Alsea ‘two’ to ‘four’, Siuslaw and Miluk ‘three’ and perhaps Hanis ‘four’ are obscure. Thus while the numerals are at first glance fairly different, and in fact defy complete analysis, still there are definite elements suggestive of a common origin.
Taken from “Coast Oregon Penutian: A Lexical Comparison” by Eugene Buckley, in proceedings of the Third Annual Pacific Linguistics Conference, Eugene OR, 1987.