Chinook Wawa

Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Cosho

COSHO

[ko'-SHO] or [KU'-shu] — noun.

Meaning: Hog; pig; swine; pork; ham; bacon.

Origin: French, le cochon, ‘pig’

“Oink, oink indeed,” said the Harbor Seal.

“Oink, oink indeed,” said the Harbor Seal.

Sometimes rendered as gosho, legosho, or lecosho in older sources, “cosho” (with the accent on second syllable) was a French loanword used to mean pig or swine, but by context can be said to refer to the meat of the animal, though if one wanted to specify they could say "cosho itlwillie" (hog meat; pork). Variants included  "klootchman cosho" (sow pig), “tenas cosho” (piglet), and "cosho glease" (lard).

The word was also use in “siwash cosho” (aboriginal pig) used to refer to the meat of a seal, being somewhat similar in appearance, if not in taste, to that of swine,  and was as much a staple of coastal First Nation life as pork was to the British or the Americans. It's worth noting that this expression was purely a jargon creation, and an equally prevalent word used throughout the region was “olehiyu” (seal), which was of Chinookan origin.


Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Delate

DELATE

[de-LATEY'] or [de-LEYT'] — adjective, adverb.

Meaning: Physically straight, direct, true, truly, exact, definite, definitely, sincere, sincerely, sure, authentic; accurate; without equivocation; without hesitation.

Origin: Either a corruption of English, straight; or Norman French drette > standard French droite ‘right’, both the directional and legal senses.

Often used to mean "very" or "truly", delate makes a statement positive and removes any element of doubt; "Delate nika wawa" (I am speaking the truth) or "delate kwinnum cole ahnkuttie" (exactly five years ago) illustrate that anything ‘delate” is the genuine article.

It can emphasize an affirmative, such as in “delate klosheh” (very good; right on), "okoke delate" (that is right; it is correct), “nawitka, delate kloshe” (yes, perfect), and "delate hyas kloshe" (majestic; magnificent; awe-inspiring), or can also emphasize a negation, such as "wake delate" (not right; imperfect).

It can be used in the directional sense, such as "klatawa delate" (to go straight ahead), or when describing size, as seen in "delate hyas" (very big indeed; enormous; immense). It can emphasize an exact time, such as "delate tenas sun" (dawn; daybreak), or state that in a legal sense that one is "delate yaka illahee" (a native of a country).

And of course all important baking instructions, ranging from “delate tenas" (just a little) to "delate pahtl" (full to the brim; chock full).

It can be used to say "delate nika sick tumtum" (I am very sorry), or tell someone that something is “delate ticky” (really necessary). If one is "delate yaka kumtuks" (an expert) and can "delate kumtuks" (know for a certainty; sure, to prove) "delate wawa" (the truth; a promise; a fact), then it is easy to "wawa delate" (speak the truth; speak correctly).

This Delate Road is located just outside of Poulsbo, Washington, across from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. There are many roads and streets with Chinook Wawa names in Cascadia.

This Delate Road is located just outside of Poulsbo, Washington, across from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. There are many roads and streets with Chinook Wawa names in Cascadia.


Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Saghalie

SAGHALIE

[SAGH-a-lie] or occasionally [SAH'-ha-lie] — adjective.

Meaning: Up, above, high, heaven, sky, celestial, top, uppermost, over, upwards, holy.

Origin: Chinook, sakhali; Clatsop, ukhshakhali. Up; above; high.

Sometime rendered as ‘sagalie’, ‘sagalee’, ‘saqalie’, and even ‘sahhalie’ or ‘sahali’, this word was usually pronounced as if it were spelled ‘sockalie’ by Euro-Americans, while the indigenous pronunciation was closer to ‘sag-ha-lie , with the ‘g’ sound a guttural deep in the throat rather than an aspirate h.)

An adjective encompassing concepts of upwardness in direction and elevation, saghalie was used to describe action, like "mamook saghalie" (to lift / raise), as well as physical features, such as “saghalie illahee” (mountains or highland), and even natural phenomenon, such as “saghalie chuck” (high tide) or “saghillie piah” (lightning).

Zealous in their search for  converts, early Christian missionaries quickly came to learn that there was no one universal deity among the FIrst Nations. For want of a native term, the evangelists instead coined “Saghalie Tyee“ (Chief Above) as a word of ‘God’ or ‘Great Spirit’, implying a ruler over all. This lead to several other phrases, such as  "Saghalie Tyee Yaka book" (The Bible) and "Saghalie Tyee Yaka wawa" (a sermon or religious talk). Even Jesus Christ was translated as "Saghalie Tyee Yaka tenas" ( God, His Son).

As a result of its use, “saghalie” also came to mean ‘sacred’ and ‘holy’, as seen in “saghalie illahee” (now taken to mean sacred or holy ground, a spirit-place, or a churchyard, but not a graveyard, which is “memaloose illahee”). There were even occasions where “saghalie” would refer to magic of the sacred or ‘pure’ kind, or be used to describe a spirit world or a spiritual state.


Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Hyas

HYAS

[hy-AS']  or [hay-ASH]— adjective, adverb.

Meaning: Big, great, vast, large, auspicious, powerful, important, celebrated, very.

Origin: Possible corruption of Nuu-chah-nulth, iyahish  "many"

While similar in use to the word skookum, hyas generally has connotations of greatness, importance, or auspiciousness rather than outright strength or power.

"Hyas Sunday" was a term for a holiday, like Christmas or Fourth of July, and “hyas mahcook” could mean “a great price” or “something dear”, while “Hyas Tyee” refers to a high chief, a big boss, or even a king. This was also the common title used for the famous chiefs of the early era, such as Maquinna of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation.

The word can also be applied to size, such as “hyas wawa” (to shout), "hyas ahnkutte" (a long time ago), “hyas stick” (big tree/log; big/great woods/forest), or “hyas lamonti” (the high mountains).

One might exclaim "okoke house yaka hyas” (that house, it is large) upon seeing a  "hyas house" (mansion), and it would not be unexpected to find a large "hyas tick-tick” (clock) inside. It could even be duplicated for emphasis, such as in “hyas hyas lamonti” (the deep mountains; remote faraway mountain country).

In addition to its use as a general term for size, hyas could also be used to mean "very" or "very well", in which case it usually comes in front of the word or phrase it is modifying, such as “Hyas tenas” (very small) or "hyas kloshe" (very good), as in "hyas yaka mamook wawa Chinook lalang" (they can speak Chinook very well) or "nika hyas ticky klatawa" (I very much want to go).

The word also appears as “hyas hyas stone illahee, meaning the "greatest and biggest land of stones", or "the great barren high country" in Paul St. Pierre's novella Breaking Smith Quarter Horse. The context of the title is the vast and diverse inland alpine areas of the Coast Mountains, flanking the Chilcotin region of British Columbia where the action of the novella takes place.

The expression ‘High muckamuck’ or “High Mucketymuck’ is a corruption of “hyas muckamuck”, meaning "one who sits at the head table", i.e. an official, a bigshot, or a VIP. In modern blue-collar usage, this word is one of many mildly sarcastic slang terms used to refer to bosses and upper management.

Some scholars of Chinook Wawa believe that the words “hyas” and “hiyu” share the same origin and only one or the other may have been known or used in certain areas or periods.


Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Mahsie

MAHSIE

[MAH-sie] — verb.

Meaning: Thanks, thank you, thankful.

Origin: French, merci  thank you.

Sometimes rendered as ‘masi’, ‘mausie’ and even as “masiem”, the world was adopted from French as a way of saying ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you”, or to show that one is ‘thankful’, "wawa mahsie" ( to give thanks, to praise), “kloshe nesika mahsie kopa Saghalie Tyee" (let us pray to God), and "mahsie kopa Saghalie Tyee" (the Doxology). However,  unlike French, the accent is placed on the first syllable when pronouncing the word in Chinook Wawa.

As in many languages, there is evidence in Chinook Wawa of calque, a process wherein the components of a word or phrase from one language is translated into another, preserving the direct meaning even if original source words become lost. This is evident in the expression “hayas mahsie” (thank you very much), an approximation of the French “grand merci”, both cases literally meaning ‘big thanks’.

The word saw the most use in northern British Columbia and the Yukon, and is still used in broadcast English in those areas.

Although Cascadia was never part of the French colonial claims in North America, and only one or two French ships ever visited the outer coast during the early fur trade era (the explorer-scientist La Perouse being the most significant), the French language was the main outside influence on the development of the jargon until the widespread influx of English-speaking Americans and British from the 1830s onwards. The cause of this was the important role played in the regional economy by the French-speaking Métis employees of the fur companies, including the Boston-owned Astoria Company.  The Métis voyageurs were the main contact the companies had with their native suppliers and customers, and many key words of the jargon were adapted from the patois spoken by these intrepid travelers and woodsmen. The French borrowings were more widespread in the more northerly reaches of the jargon's territory, and in other areas where the voyageurs played a prominent role (including the Lower Columbia fur trade forts).

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