Wherein I run into trouble in the very 1st sentence…

I thought it might be fun to retranslate Annie Peterson’s story about Fossil Point. And right in the first line I ran into interesting words, and expressions of speech that were quite different then Jim Buchanan (the only other Hanis Coos speaker from whom a lot of texts were recorded).

Her very first line of the story is:

le tl’dachíyuwech t’ómiduwech… which Jacobs translated as ‘Since the world was started’. Well le is ‘the’ and t’ómiduwech is a word that appears a couple of times in Annie’s stories, which Jacobs glossed as ‘ever since’. The word in the middle is where things get interesting. The first bit, tl’da means earth, ground, land, or sometimes world. So what is the rest of the word? After spending some time in Frachtenberg’s grammar from eighty years ago, my best guess is that the –ch is a locative, -iyu is the inchoative (ie ‘begins’ or ‘it got that, it became’) –iye (the e became u before the w) and –wech is a participial suffix. So out of all that we get ‘since the world was started’.

We’ll see if I get into as much trouble in the second sentence….


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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2 Responses to Wherein I run into trouble in the very 1st sentence…

  1. Shirod says:

    It does roll off the tongue though doesn’t it!

    • shichils says:

      Well…with a little practice…hehee. I am struck though by how different Annie’s and Jim’s storytelling styles are at times. I was talking about it with Curtis earlier (Mr. Medieval Literature) and he said Annie was a poet. The Anglo-Saxons had quite the way with poetry, and creating interesting euphemisms for things in stories – like instead of saying ‘the sea’ they would say ‘whale road’. (I just love ‘whale road’ for ‘sea’ I think I shall start using it so people will look at me like I am nuts). And imagery like that. Jim’s style often seems a bit more straightforward, and lacking some of the more complex words and phrases. Not that he was a bad storyteller…but I get the impression he was more plain-speaking (or he found it a pain in the but doing dictation for St Clair & Frachtenberg, which is quite possible)

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