Five years ago I wrote a post about comparing the words for one thru five in Milluk, Hanis, Siuslaw, and Alsea, based on work by Eugene Buckley. (These languages have generally been supposed to be related). He saw some interesting correspondences between them.
So today I wanted to look at Milluk numbers above five more closely, as it turns out different Milluk speakers had different ways of ‘building’ words for numbers (the same is true to a certain extent for Hanis and tho’ I haven’t yet found variation in number words for Siuslaw it has its own fun quirks and I will talk about those in future posts).
Below is a table of words for Milluk numbers from three different people-each is written how the original linguist wrote it, and they used different systems to write, but you can still see which ones are similar and which are different in spite of those differences in orthography. The first Milluk column comes from Coquille Johnson, a Lower Coquille Miluk dialect speaker, when he worked with James Owen Dorsey in 1884. The second column is Annie Miner Peterson in her work with Melville Jacobs in 1933 and 1934. She was raised around both Lower Coquille and South Slough speakers. The third Miluk column is from George Barney in his work with Harry Hull St Clair in 1903. Barney’s father was a South Slough ilxq’ain doctor known as “Doctor John”. Unfortunately I don’t know who his mother was, but I will guess Barney was mainly fluent in the South Slough (as opposed to Lower Coquille) dialect. As you read along, note some interesting similarities and differences for six thru nine between the three speakers:
|ENGLISH||MILLUK (Dorsey/Coquille Johnson)||MILLUK (Jacobs/Annie Miner Peterson)||MILLUK (St. Clair/George Barney)|
|one||hĭ-tc’i ´||hí•t’ci, hit’ci||hī´tcī|
|six||tsa-wăq´-kai-ye||Hitci-x-Gɛ´yɛ, hit’cixGɛ´yɛ, hit’ciXgɛ•´||tcêXKē´a|
|eleven||t’í•cdji hit’ci- x̭ɛ´•nɛn, t’í•cdji hit’ci-dǝ´-kʷdzi||t!ī´cī (or) hītcī´dûkᵁe|
|one hundred||hĭ´-tc’i ní-k’ĕ||hit’cí-ník’in||hī´tcī – nî´Kîn|
|two hundred||a-ts’u´ ni´-k’ĕ||adzu´-nik̯’in|
Regarding ‘six’ I find it interesting that Johnson’s (Lower Coquille) and Barney’s (South Slough) words appear quite similar; interpreting Solomon’s as tsawáqqaiye and Barney’s as chexkeiya. It is possible that they are the same word, just that Dorsey and St Clair heard them differently. It’s easy for many people to confuse ts- and ch- as they sound similar. Annie Peterson’s ‘six’ is very different different – hichixqeye. The first part is hichi which appears to be based in hich’ii, one. That’s not unusual to express ‘six’ as some variation as ‘one over five’. All three versions might possible end in the same suffix. I am not sure what it means in Milluk but it resembles the Hanis suffix –iiye which means ‘it became, it got’.
For ‘seven’, each person has something different. Johnson gave psinhlan. This is based on the word for ‘three’, plus the negative an, together meaning ‘three less’ – as in three less than ten. Annie gives adzuxqeye, here based on the word for ‘two’ (atsuu, adzuu), and the same –xqeye ending she had for ‘six’. So her ‘seven’ probably has some meaning along the lines of ‘two over (five)’. Barney’s word tsáwaxkei resembles his ‘six’ and I can’t analyze it further.
Everyone said ats’u’an for eight, meaning ‘two less [than 10].’ Annie also gave psonhlqeye, based on the word for three (psinhl, psonhl) and the mysterious –qeye ending seen with ‘seven’.
Dorsey did not ask Coquille Johnson ‘eleven’, unfortunately, but from Annie Peterson we get tiishjii hich’ii xenen or tiishjii hich’ii dokwtsi. The first two words are ‘ten one’; xenen is ‘on top’, dokwtsi Jacobs said meant ‘and one’. More literally it seems to be the possessive ‘its’ and perhaps a word that means something like ‘over’. So eleven is ten-one-on-top or ten-one-its-above. Both perfectly good (if a bit long-winded) ways of saying ‘eleven’. There is a very similar construction in Hanis.
The higher numbers seem to be a bit more straightforward (at least up to a point). Twenty is literally ‘two strings’ – atsuuik’íu; thirty is ‘three strings – psinhlk’íu, and so on an so forth under one hundred which is ‘one stick’ – hich’í-ník’in. The use of words like string and stick may reflect ways of keeping track of money, points, and trade items.