Category Archives: Vocabulary comparisons

More puzzling meanings of words from context

I’ve written before about how tricky it can be to figure out some of the specific definitions of words when they only appear once or twice.  Sometimes I have to go back and take a careful look at a word … Continue reading

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What is that mystery phrase anyway?

So I have been working on translating a Siuslaw story that Jim Buchanan told to Harry Hull St Clair in 1903, and was published years later by Leo Frachtenberg in Coos Texts. It is the last story in the book … Continue reading

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Milhau’s Lower Umpqua wordlist, 1856

Above: Image of man at Fort Umpqua, 1850s In my previous post I wrote about Dr. John Milhau’s wordlist of Hanis that he made in the autumn of 1856 while stationed at Fort Umpqua. He also made a word list … Continue reading

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Puzzles in the First Coosan Wordlist, 1856

In autumn of 1856, physician John J. Milhau was stationed at Fort Umpqua. At the time he was a young man of 28, and had been raised and educated in New York City. He wrote down word lists of what … Continue reading

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There are Spiders and then there are spiders

In Hanis and Milluk there are two words for spider. Both languages share the word wa’wá’atl’ (occasionally shrunk down to 2 syllables, wawatl’), and then a second word based on the verb ‘to weave, to pile up, to spread’ which … Continue reading

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Words for ‘grizzly bear’

Both Hanis and the Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua called grizzly bears swahl.  (Siuslaw/LU and Hanis share a handful of words, so this kind of overlap isn’t unusual)  They did have different words for black bear (shximhl versus t’ii or to’íí respectively).  Black bear in Milluk is pelel. … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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