Author Archives: shichils

About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language

Does the Alsea World Transformer S’uuku have a Siuslaw name?

Margin notes in old field notebooks occasionally offer important insights into the meaning of a word or story, and sometimes these notes raise questions. I found one of these puzzling questions completely by accident while looking for the field notes … Continue reading

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On Articles (which is more interesting than you might think. Really!)

OK, you might be thinking today’s post about articles (that’s the fance word for little words like “the” and “an” and “a”) may be dull or pointless, but stick with me. It’s interesting! I promise. So here goes. In Miluk … Continue reading

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Possible meanings of “Garden” words

There are words for garden recorded in Siuslaw (pa’naq) and Hanis (tlxanii). The Hanis word, tlxanii, was only recorded once, in Leo Frachtenberg’s notes from his interviews in 1909 with Hanis speakers James Buchanan and Tom Hollis. It suddenly occurred to me about two days … Continue reading

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Words for smallpox

Given that we are dealing currently with a pandemic it does bring to mind previous ones. Smallpox was one of many viruses introduced from Eurasia to the Americas during colonization. It was one of the more devastating. While numerous introduced … Continue reading

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Translating for film; or, You’ll Never Work In This Town Again

Jed Smith Documentary: I picked up a book of essays about translating Native American speech and stories, “Born in the Blood” edited by Brian Swann. One of the essays is “In the Words of Powhatan: Translation across Space and … Continue reading

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Coosan words for lizards

There were three words given in Hanis for ‘lizard’: ika’chos (ɨgá’čǝs), yigát’sos (yɨgát’sǝs), and chommillii (čǝmmɨ´lli). It’s been rather confusing to sort them out, for not only do they appear to describe different species but at least one seems wholly … Continue reading

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Reconstructing some snake and salamander names in Siuslaw/Quuiich

The other day I mentioned Bissell and his work in 1881 on getting a word list from an unidentified Lower Umpqua speaker. He did get a lot of words no one else got, and from his peculiar way of writing … Continue reading

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Chasing after mystery fish and semantics

I often wish I could climb into a TARDIS (forget HG Well’s machine, no I would much rather hitchhike with the Doctor, given a choice) and visit some fluent native speakers of Hanis, Miluk or Siuslaw. Because sometimes in the … Continue reading

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Wherein I find Ki-o-tco-ní lum hilarious

A man named George Bissell interviewed a Lower Umpqua woman in 1881 to get a considerable word list of the language from her. Sadly, he did not identify her by name, but he did say he thought she was about … Continue reading

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A Milluk name for Siuslaw River?

It’s common for a language group to have its own name for other people and rivers that’s different from what that other people call their own river or themselves. But in the case of the Siuslaw, the word I find … Continue reading

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