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Native American Loanwords in American English Author(s): Ginny Carney Source: Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. 12, No.

1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 189-203 Published by: University of Minnesota Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1409169 . Accessed: 07/10/2013 12:21
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Native American Loanwords in American English


Ginny Carney

In 1959President adDwightD. Eisenhower signeda proclamation


mitting Alaskato the union as the firstnew state in forty-sevenyears. The "lastfrontier"-a region almosta fifthas largeas all the other states combined-began absorbing settlers from "the lower 48" in a manner reminiscent of the seventeenth-century expansion of Plymouth Colony. Today,almost forty years after Alaska's statehood, towns and with curious Unalakleetvillages spellings-Quinhagak, Tuntatuliak, continue to greet the cheechako Mas(Chinook word for "newcomer"). tering the nuancesof meaningbetween words like mukluk (a high boot made of sealskin)and muktuk (whale skin used as food), or subtle sound differencesin place names such as Chugiak (a small community north of Anchorage) and Chugach (a mountainrange) presents an ongoing challenge to those unacquaintedwith Alaska Native languages. The to Alaskahave been English-speaking, and their majorityof immigrants earliestEuropeansettlers, has lacked vocabulary,like that of America's words for the unfamiliarrivers, lakes, birds, fish, plants, and animals that they have encountered in the "GreatLand."Hence, words borrowed fromthe languagesof AlaskaNatives have become, in the words of CharlesCutler,"acolorfuland indispensablepartof the modernEnglish language."' As Cutler is quick to observe, however, the borrowing of English loanwords from Eskimoand Aleut has declined sharply in this century-a phenomenon that has traditionally paralleled shifts in White-Indianrelationshipsin America.The purpose of this study,

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therefore, is to examine the history of White-Indianrelationshipsin LatinAmericaas well as in North Americafor correspondingfluctuations in loanwordborrowingfrom Native Americanlanguages,and to explore twentieth-centuryattitudestowardNative Americansand the impactof these attitudeson borrowingtoday. declares Charlton Laird,"thriveson friendshipand "Language," but for a time datingback at least to the firstvoyage social intercourse," of ChristopherColumbusto America(1492), communicationbetween On the Indiansand Whites has been "hampered by fear and distrust."2 other hand, it was Columbus who led the way for the adoption of American Indian words into Europeanlanguages.3On October 28, (fromcanoa,an 1492, for example, Columbusrecordedthe word canoe Arawakword) for the firsttime.4In 1555, canoe appearedin Englishfor the first time in RichardEden'stranslationfrom the Latin of another or West India,Etc., by Peter travelogue, TheDecades of theNeweWorlde, it was the next two centuries canoae, spelled cannoa, Martyr.5During
canow,canowe,cannoe,cannew,conow,connue,connou,cannowe,caano, canoo,

and canot,but by the end of the eighteenth century,the present form became fixed.6 when he encountered amongstthem" Expectingto find"cannibals Caribsfor the firsttime, Columbusfound instead a "peopleso amiable and friendlythat even the King took a pridein calling me his brother."7 Perhaps,as VirgilVogel suggests,the friendlinessand generosity of the Indianswas regardedby those of anothercultureas a sign of weakness, as an invitation to take advantage of them;8regardlessof the white explorers'reasoning,written history affirmsthat they repaidkindness with greed. Among the treasures they acquired,however,were the folwords, eventuallyborrowedby English:9 lowing Amerindian or "lord"; cacique Arawak,"prince" cacique; people";cannibal Caniba; Carib,"strongmen,""flesh-eating casavi/cazabbi; Taino,"astarchyroot used in makingbread and tapioca"; cassava tree"; Arawak,"bedmade fromthe barkof a hamack hamaca;
A

hammock

maize mahiz; Taino,"corn"; Although Columbus introduced Native American words into to use a West Indianword may have been Spanish,the firstEnglishman T. Paynell.The Tainoguaiacum-a source of timberand resin-appears hath this woode in Paynell's translationof a medicalbook in 1533: "Yet Guaiacum Apparently,in the case of this alwayes been there used."10 word, knowledge of its medicinalpropertiesaccompaniedit particular into the Englishlanguage,for modernphysiciansstill consider the guaiac test Hemoccult the most accurateand reliable commercialscreen-

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ing test available for detecting occult blood in feces." That guaiac stems from an Arawakan word, however, is a little-known fact in the world of medicine. Health care professionals might be likewise surprisedto learn that the medical term tularaemia has an Amerindianroot. LinguistLaird explains: Nahuatltullin became Spanishtule, a name for a tall bullrush,which with the Spanishsuffix-ar,meaning"placewhere,"became the name of a Californiacounty, Tulare County.This was the scene of the discoverythat the disease which was decimatingrabbitsand groundsquirrels was the so-called "rabbit disease" that was killing human also. With the Greek suffix beings -aemia,the diseasebecame tularaemia.12 NumerousNahuatlwords, in fact, have entered BritishEnglishthrough the Spanishlanguageand persisttoday in AmericanEnglish.In an article publishedin 1938, Dr. George Watsonof the Universityof Chicago listed the following loanwordsand the dates to which they have been traced: 3 avocado chicle chili chocolate coyote ocelot tamale tomato 1751 (mentionedin GeorgeWashington's diary) 1854 1836 1604 1834 1682 1854 1604

To this list of Latin AmericanderivativesH. L. Mencken adds Nahuatlloanwordsmesquite, and tequila, mescal, sapota, peyote, along with a word of disputed origins, barbecue;'4 and Margaret Schlaugh (1960) includeshurricane fromQuichejurakan), (throughSpanishhuracdn, potato (Spanishpatata,from Carib batata),and tapioca (by way of Portuguese and native Brazilian tipioca).'5 In most cases, borrowingwords fromthe conqueredindigenes of LatinAmericaduringinitial White-Indiancontact was simply a means of namingunfamiliar plants,animals,or foods; in some instances,however, there is a strong correlationbetween an appropriatedword and is a good example, for perhapsno monetaryvalue. The word chocolate other word in the Englishlanguagehas takena more circuitousroute to the United States, nor recalls so poignantly the annihilation of the people from which the word originated.'6As Peter Limburgreminds

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us, duringthe time Cortes and his conquistadorswere plunderingthe was "so highly valued that the Mexican heartland (1520), chocolatl cacao beans fromwhich it was made served as currency.One hundred beans was the price of a slave among the Aztecs."'7Cortes noted that a strange beverage made from these beans seemed popular among the Aztec nobles and rich men, and that the mighty Montezuma, the from goblets of gold that were Aztec emperor, drank his chocolatl thrown away afterone use, thus demonstratinghis wealth and power.18 Naturally,a sample of cacao beans was among the treasuresCortes took with him when he returnedto the motherlandin 1528, and hot chocolate (pronouncedcho-co-lah-tay by the Spanish) soon became a popularbeveragein Spain. By the early seventeenth century, the chocolate fad had spread to England, France, and Italy, and in 1664, Samuel Pepys noted in his diary that he had been to a coffee-house to drink "jocolatte." "Verygood," was his comment.19Although the North American Indian (north of Mexico) contributionof loanwordsis rich, Cutler notes that it does not approach the abundance of loanwords in English from LatinAmericanIndianlanguages. He attributesthis contrast to three specific factors,environment,civilization, and culturalreceptivity, which distinguishthe conquest of the Spaniardsfrom that of the English-speakingcolonists, and argues that "the social hierarchiesof the LatinAmericancivilizations meshed [more] readily with those of the Europeaninvaders."20 Laird,an outspoken critic of Englishcolonization, is even more explicit than Cutler: Had the Indo-European languagestriumphedover the Amerindian tongues in threecenturies-and we mustthink of the conquest as still continuing-we shouldknow little than we know of the ancient Celtic more of Amerindian languagesand dialectsobliteratedby the invadingAngles little more than we know of the Galand Saxonsin Britain, lic speech overrunby the Romansin what is now France.2' Although Laird is certainly justified in decrying the ongoing political attempts to regulate Indianlanguagesin America,it must be rememberedthat culturalbeliefs are deeply entrenched.Any attempt, therefore, to understand White-Indian relationships in the United States must be preceded by some knowledge of the philosophies that shaped the values of both the Indiansand the New Englandcolonists. The contention of John Smith (1580?-1631) that (civilized) white people should rule the world, for instance, was a prevalent belief among early settlers in America.22 Indianleaders,on the other hand, found such ideas incredible.In

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(chief) responded to the Marylandgover1635, an Indian Wicomesse nor'sdemandthat Indiansbe subject to Englishlaw, saying, "sincethat you are heere strangers, and come into our Countrey, you should ratherconform yourselves to the Customes of our Countrey,then impose yours upon us."23

Indeed, the people of Jamestown,Virginia,had no choice but to conform to the customs of their neighbors duringtheir firstmonths in America,for without the generosity and help of Chief Powhatanand his people, the colonists would have died of starvation.Fora period of some fifteenyears, Whites and Indianslived together peaceably,and it was extremelyadvantageousto the Virginiasettlersto learnthe Algonquian language of their neighbors. During that time of friendly relations, Indianwords made their debut in John Smith's"ATrueRelation of Such Occurences and Accidents of Noate as Hath Hapned in Virginia Since the First Planting of That Collony" (1608). After citing several Powhatan place names and rivers he had encountered in his Smith describesthe travels(i.e., Waranacomoco, Pamauncke, Payankatank), Powhatan"Emperour proudlylying uppon a Bedsteada foote high ... and covered with a great Covering of Rahaughoums [raccoon skins]."In each weeke the same account, he writes, "The EmpereurPowhatan, once or twice, sent me many presentsof Deare, bread,Raugroughcuns."24 Several researchers have noted the discrepancies in Smith's even a cursoryglance at his writing, however, respelling of raccoon;25 veals a similarlack of perfection in his Englishorthographies."Ibe no scholer,"wrote Smith, who readily admitted his lack of formaleducation;26 yet, in spite of what RobertMcCrum,WilliamCran,and Robert MacNeil describe as an "oftencurious and tortuous"process of pumSmith's meling polysyllabic Indianwords into StandardEnglish,27John familiaritywith Indian language and culture "producedthe greatest
number of Indian loanwords in the early seventeenth century."28When

war broke out in 1622 between Indians and the settlers, however, Smith-once friendand advocate for the Indian-proposed enslaving the Indiansas the Spaniards had done in Mexico, and the borrowingof
words in Virginia came almost to a complete halt.29

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Accordingly,along the easternseaboard,very few Native words were borrowed for nearly two centuries, by which time the Indians were "enforcedlypeaceful."30 According to the firstcensus in the New World (1790), the populationof the colonies numberedapproximately 4,000,000 people, 95 percent of whom were living east of the AppalachianMountains,and 90 percent of whom were fromvariousparts of the BritishIsles.3'When these settlers firstarrivedin America,they were dependent upon the Indiansfor their very survival.Also, having namesfor all the unfamiliar things and places in their new environment was vitally importantto the English, for as Lairdpoints out, "having one's own set of names for [everything] must have encourageda con-

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viction of belonging to a naturaltrinity made up of God, our people, and the world."32 Now that their number had increased, the words "civilization" and "savages" dominated their speech; understandably, friendlycontact with the Indiansdeclined, with a subsequentdecrease in loanwords. When the Indianswere no longer a threat, tolerance increasedand Whites renewedtheir interestin Native languages.33 Native wordscould be adaptedto the Englishtongue Frequently, fairlysimply,as in the case of these Algonquianterms:34 skunk segongu squunck seganku (1634) squash (1643) askutasquashisquontersquash misickquatash sacatash succotash (1751)
(1647) wampampeag wampumpeag wampum otchock wuchak woodchuch woodchuck (1674)

a "Occasionally, though, the colonists gave up,"notes Bill Bryson."For time they referredto an edible cactus by its Indianname,metaquesunauk, but eventuallyabandonedthe fight and called it a prickly Somepear."35 times, instead of borrowing an Indianword, the settlers simply translated it into English. Lincoln Barnettmentions two such expressions:
is a literal translation of the Algonquian scoutiouabou; firewater palefaceis

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In other cases, a word just never Englishfor the Ojibway wabinesiwin.36 took hold in Englishspeech. One such word appearedin the writingof AlexanderWhitaker(1585-1616?), an Anglican clergymanwho came to the newly established colony of Virginia in 1611. "TheirPriests are no other but such as our English (whom they call Quiokosoughs) Witches are," Whitakerdeclared.In that same accounthe wrote, "They stand in great awe of their Quiokosoughs, which are a generation of vipers even of Sathans owne brood."37 Unfortunately,Whitaker'suntimely death by drowning (at age 31) may have deprived the English languageof at least one Algonquianloanword! Like Whitaker,contends David Lovejoy,most Britishpeople of the seventeenthcenturybelieved that the Indianswere remnantsof the Ten Lost Tribesof Israelwho had forgotten their God and wandered eastwarduntil eventually,either by a land bridge or ice floes, they had reached North America.38 If immigrantsto the New World were not already convinced that Indianswere the devil's offspring, they were Indianpriestswho quicklypersuadedby the gyrationsof the pawwaws, became one of the primaryobstacles to converting Indiansto Christianity. Furthermore, military setbacks during both the Pequot War of 1637 and the King Philip'sWar of 1675 were attributed to the assistancefor their people."39 pawwaws,who "summoned supernatural
Actually, James Rosier, who published A TrueRelationof theMost Yeere 1605 by Captaine Prosperous VoyageMadeThis Present George Waymouth, is credited with introducing the word powwow(BaughWaughin the text)

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into the English language. His description of the priests may explain the colonists'terrorof them: One among them ... suddenlycried with a loud voice, BaughWaugh:then the women fall downe, and lie upon the ground,and the men all together answeringthe same, fall a stampingroundabout the firewith both feet, as hard as they can, makingthe groundshake,with sundryoutcries, and change of voice and sound.40 In the case of powwow, both the spelling and the meaning underwent changes. Fromits original meaning of "priest" (literally,"he dreams"), became a term for "a powwow gradually ceremony to conjurethe cure of disease, success in war, etc., markedby feasting, dancing, etc."; and today, almostany conference or gathering,especially of Native Americans, is referredto as a powwow.41 In spite of culturaldifferences and the distrustthat existed between Indiansand Whites, seventeenth-centuryrecords seem to indicate that both made cyclic efforts to learnthe languageof the other. In his "GoodNews from New England" (1624), EdwardWinslow wrote: "Asfor the language,it is very copious, large, and difficult.As yet [i.e., to September10, 1623], we cannot attainto any greatmeasurethereof: but can understandthem, and explain ourselvesto their converse with us."42 Obviously, these first awkwardattempts at communicationbetween Native Americansand Englishsettlers had an astoundingeffect on AmericanEnglish,for according to the estimate of languagescholars, some 1,700 words entered the Englishlanguage duringthe seventeenth century.43 The eighteenth centurywas comparatively barrenof Indianloanwords, at least partly,concludes Cutler,because of culturalmisunderstandings between Whites and Indians. Instead of new loanwords, racialinsultsbecame embedded in the Englishvocabulary.44 Redmanin 1725 and half-breed in 1760 emphasized the racialdistinction between Whites and Indians;Indian gift, originally an expression signifying a for which an present equivalentis expected, was corruptedto mean (as it does today), a gift that is taken back;45Indian hostilities-real or o ( 1711), war imagined-prompted wardance (1739), warpath whoop (1755), warsong(1757), warhatchet 3 195 (1760), warpole(1775), warclub(1776), and warpost(1776), and finally,in 1792, warparty.46 words in the eighteenth century was Joining this host of "war" the wordMohock, firstrecordedby JonathanSwift in his journal( 1712). were ruffians who "playthe devil about Accordingto Swift, the Mohocks this town every night, slit people'snoses, and beat them."47 The GentlemansMagazine, in 1768, declared that these hoodlums were so called because they mauled passersby"inthe same cruel mannerwhich the

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one of the Six Nations of Indians, might be supposed to Mohawks, do."48The New World traces Mohawk to the Narragansett Dictionary mohowauuck-literally, "they eat animate things"-and Brysonhas uncovered "nofewerthan 142 spellings" of Mohawk.49 Stories aboundconcerning tribalnames;but Lairdgives a practical reason for the confusion surroundingthe spelling of these names and other loanwords: Consideringthat those who recordedIndiannameshad their own accents and spellings, that they were often careless and sometimesdrunk,that they usuallyrecordeda name only frommemoryand without phonetic symbols or that the same phonetic devices, one need not be surprised word had become popularas Chippewa and Ojibway.50 By the early nineteenth century,philologists were beginning to be interested in more than loanwords and tribal names. Men like Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) found "strikingprinciples of agreement"between grammaticalstructuresof Indian languages and the Hebrew language. Furthermore, Schoolcraft believed that grammar"expressed the ideation of a people and carriedwith it the artsand ideas of a race."51 Such Enlightenmentideas were possibly Thomas Berger's inspiration for a passage in his popular novel Little Big Man (1964). Jack Crabb's pa, speakingto his friendJonasTroy,says, Rememberit is written in the Book of Mormonthat the Indincomprisesthe lost tribesof Israel.That accounts for my difficultyin speech with them noble specimensalong the Platte,knowing not a word of Hebrew though I intend to give it study when we reach Salt Lake.52 The search for a universallanguage, as Bergerrecognizes, was rooted consciousnessand facultiesof in the Enlightenmentbelief in "universal that the study of Indianlanit believed and was popularly perception," clouded past but also guages would shed light not only on the Indian's on the history of man.53 By the 1830s, there was an increasingtendency to judge progress in racial terms,54 to which Secretary of the TreasuryAlbert Gallatin (1761-1849) responded:"Inthe progressiveimprovementof mankind, much more [positions of power] has been due to religiousand political Disillusioned with Americangovernment institutionsthan to races."55 and unwilling to supportAndrewJackson,whom he detested, Gallatin turned to the science of philology. Adamantlydenying the theory of Indianinferiority,he devoted all his spare time to the classificationof

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He believed that in ethnology lay the Indian tribes by languages.56 not for human only beings to retrieve their past but also to potential shape a better future,but as Biederreasons, Gallatinwas a man out of step with his time.57 Most nineteenth-centuryIndianloanwordsin AmericanEnglish have a distinctively Western flavor,reflecting, of course, the resultsof Americanexpansion. Even so, Cutler lists 145 Native Americanwords that entered the Englishlanguageduringthis century.58 Structural linguists Edward Sapir (1884-1939) and Leonard Bloomfield(1887-1949) set the pace for the twentieth centuryby conIndianlanguagesare by no means primitivein firmingthat "primitive" the sense of being rudimentary or unevolved;on the contrary,they are extremelycomplex languages.59 One of the problemsof studying Indianlanguages,however,has been a growing tendency toward what Geoffrey Pullumlabels "antiintellectual modes of discourse and increasingignorance of scientific The specific problemto which Pullumalludes is suggested thought."60 Eskimo Hoax.In a paperpreby the title of his book, TheGreat Vocabulary sented at the 1982 annual meeting of the AmericanAnthropological Association, LauraMartin (Cleveland State University) introduced this topic, using scientificdatato refutethe persistent,but false, notion that Eskimoshave many words (up to two hundred,depending upon the source) for "snow"; she blamed anthropologistsand linguists "who should know better"-not secondary schoolteachers-for keeping a "folkbelief"alive.61 That the folklore about Inuit/Yupik "snow" words persists is not for Americans are curious about Indians surprising, contemporary very and their language. In fact, the recently releasedNative North American Almanac (Detroit:Gale ResearchInc., 1994) devotes some twenty pages to a scholarly work on Native North Americanlanguages.There is a growing enthusiasm for Indian place-names, and today most school children are aware that more than half the states in the union bear 3 Indiannames. Traditionally,however, many have disapproved of borrowing Native Americanwords. Noah Webster,for one, arguedthat "theharsh, 0 Some settlers gutteralsoundsof the natives" ought not to be retained.62 found Indiannamesboth uncomfortablyalien and uncouth in sound.63 Theodore Roosevelt insisted, "We have room but for one Language 3 197 here and that is the Englishlanguage,for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americansof Americannationality and not as dwellersin a polyglot boardinghouse."64 Roosevelt was not alone in his goal to turn America into the white man'sland, and although linguistic historiansof AmericanEnglish list thousandsof loanwordsfrom the indigenous peoples of North and South America,65 most citizens of the United States today would

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be hard-pressedto list half a dozen (excepting place-names). The sentiment of many contemporaryAmericans,in fact, is reflected in a tourismessay that Saul Bellow wrote for Holiday (1957) conMagazine cerning the impactof Native Americanson the state of Illinois: They have left their bones, their flints,and pots, their place names ... and little else besides a stain, seldom vivid, on the consciousnessof their white successors ... There are monumentsto them here and there throughout the state, but they are only historicalornamentsto the pride of the present.66 Bellow'sdepiction of Native Americansas "historical ornaments" seems particularlysignificantin light of his more recent involvement in U.S. English, a pressure group designed to promote English as "thelone official language of the country." Foundedin 1987 by Senator S. I. Hayakawa,this group quickly gained 350,000 members, including such distinguished "advisorysupporters"as Bellow, Alistair Cooke, and Norman Cousins, and received annual donations of $7.5 million. By late 1988, according to Bill Bryson,Hayakawa's organization had managed to have English made the official language of seventeen states,67and even more recently, Lynn Sherr of ABC News reported: The movement is growing. Twenty-twostates have [now] made Englishtheir officiallanguageand in recent magazine polls, 73 percent of the readersof U.S.NewsandWorld and 65 percentof people polled by Time and CNN, Report supportedEnglishas the officiallanguage.68 Sadly,the rhetoricof manytwentieth-centuryAmericans-some of them linguists-only perpetuatesthe anger and intoleranceof prea group vious centuries.In a 1987 documentheaded ENGLISHFIRST, of legislators,representingsome twenty states, unleashed the following claims:
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these days refuseto learn Tragically, many immigrants never become productivemembersof English.They Americansociety. They remainstuck in a linguisticand economic ghetto, many living off welfareand costing workingAmericansmillions of tax dollarsevery year. Incredibly,there is a radicalmovement in this counnot only promotessuch irresponsiblebehavior, that try but actuallywants to give foreign languagesthe same stamovement.69 tus as English-the so-called "bilingual"

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One can only guess at the responsehad such words been utteredby an (chief) when the English-or, in some cases, nonAlgonquiansachem English-ancestors of the this document'sauthors began arrivingin this country! Ironically,the EnglishFirstmovement emerged from an era that has witnessed an unprecedentedrise of Englishacrossthe entireworld. To representEnglish as a "pure" language and to hold that other languages will corruptour own is akin to the pre-romanticbelief that fiction was "anartisticallyinferiorand/ormorallycorruptingkind of literature."70 Just as the highly criticized works of JamesFenimoreCooper enriched the English language with Indian words during the early 1800s, Native American literature today is a fertile source of new words and concepts. David Simpson, however, suggests that the Native American"is dramatized[in Americanliterature]. . . only because he is posited as he is thus open for imagingwithin the termsof a tragical disappearing; romanticism,as the embodiment of values that are being lost."These values, argues Simpson, can be safely lamented because they are thought to be vanishing,but they can never"emergeas a crediblechallenge to the new nation."71 Certainly,Hollywood has made a fortune and it is the rareNative exploiting the theme of "thevanishing Indian," Americanwho has not heard-usually froma highly literateadult-the incredulousresponse, "Why,I didn'tknow there were any realIndians left!"One method of keeping the Native Americaninvisible is to stifle his words, for "tokill a languageis to kill a people,"and as long as someone insistson speakingfor him, the Indianis essentiallypowerless. AlaskaNatives are facing the kinds of conflict indigeCurrently, nous people have always encountered when new settlers have moved in, and they are under the same pressuresto assimilate as were the Indiantribes of nineteenth-centuryAmerica.Researchers and scholars need to accept the challenge of preservingthe scores of Native lan5 guages still spoken in Alaska and need to begin keeping meticulous records of new loanwords that are entering English from Eskimo, ; Indian,and Aleut languages. Dictionariesneed to be updated.Forinstance, two Native words o that have been in common use throughout Alaskafor at least twenty years are not yet listed in English dictionaries:camai(sh-mai), "welcome,"and quiana (coy-ana), "thank you."The Oxford English Dictionary s 199 lists qianaas "aninvented word,"used as a trademark for synthetic nyr lons, and gives 1968 as the date of origin. Currentlylisted in Random House (1987) are the following AlaskaNative words: Dictionary
lU

cheechako cheechaco (a tenderfoot/newcomer);also, chechako, [ 1895-1900] Chinook kashim (a men'scommunityhouse); [ 1850-55] Yupikqasgiq

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(a lightweight parka,worn by Eskimowomen); [no kuspuk date] Yupikqaspeq qiviut (soft wool of muskoxen, used for knitting scarves,
etc.); [1955-60] Inuit mukluk (soft boot worn by Eskimos, often lined with fur); [ 1865-70] Yupik maklak umiak(a women's boat); [1760-70] Inuit These are only a few of the words one encounters every day in the forty-ninth state, and as Alaska Natives begin to study their own languages again, the English language is certain to experience another peak in borrowing words-at least until the Alaska oil is gone! In the introduction to this essay, reference was made to the decline of loanwords from the languages of Alaska Natives in this century. Perhaps no one can provide better insight than an Alaska Native himself. In a 1991 letter to the Anchorage Daily News, Joel Blatchford lamented governmental rules and regulations that now prohibit Alaska Natives from fishing and hunting on lands they have subsisted on for thousands of years. "I went downtown," he wrote, "carrying a sign which read, 'Federal, city, and state governments should hire more Natives.' People said to me, 'Natives don't need jobs; they get everything free.' Others yelled out, 'Get back where you came from.' I replied, 'I came from Alaska, and the only place left is my mother's womb.'"72 Like his Native brothers and sisters of earlier centuries, unfortunately, Mr. Blatchford may someday find himself living in a land that boasts hundreds of Eskimo, Aleut, and Indian place-names but whose original inhabitants are considered "only historical ornaments."
NOTES

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New 1 Charles L. Cutler, 0 Brave in Words! NativeAmerican Loanwords Current (Norman, UniverEnglish sity of Oklahoma Press, 1994), 13. Cutler'sbook is the firstbook published on the more than 1,000 North American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut words in the English vocabulary. He also surveys more than 1,500 Latin American Indian loanwords. inAmerica 2 Charlton Laird,Language (New York:World Publishing Company, 1970), 311. Since Columbus sailed into the New World, the English language has indirectly borrowed more than 1,500 words from Latin American

Indian tongues, Spanish or Portuguese being the most frequent intermediary.As H. L. Mencken illustrates, however, etymologists have not always agreed upon the source from which a specific loanword is derived; see H. L. Mencken, TheAmerican Language (New York:Alfred A. Knopf, 1945). 44. New Words! 3 Cutler, O Brave 4 Christopher Columbus, TheLogof trans. Robert Christopher Columbus, H. Fuson (Camden, Maine: International Marine Publishing Company, 1987), 95. 45. New Words! 5 Cutler, O Brave

z a. LIn

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NOTES

6 Mencken, TheAmerican Language, 178-79. 7 An account of the explorers' amazement at the hospitality of is recorded in Arawakan"savages" Letter TheColumbus ofMarch14th, 1493 (Chicago: Newberry Library, 1953), 6-10, quoted in Virgil WasOurs:A Vogel, ThisCountry Documentary Historyof theAmerican Indian(New York:Harper &Row, 1972), 34. WasOurs, 8 Vogel, ThisCountry 33-34. 9 My source of currency for these New World loanwords is Webster's Language, Dictionary of theAmerican 2d ed., ed. David B. Guralnick (1986). New 10 Quoted in Cutler, O Brave 44. Words! 11 Nurses Reference Library,Diagnostics(Springhouse, Pa.: Intermed, 1982), 828. 312. inAmerica, 12 Laird,Language 13 George Watson, "NahuatlWords in American English,"American Apr. 1938: 108-21. Speech, 14 Mencken, TheAmerican Language, 177. In a chapter titled "The Beginnings of American,"Mencken devotes one full page to a discusincludsion of the word barbecue, ing a suggestion by one linguistic authority that the word came from the early French settlers of the Mississippi valley. Mencken concludes, nevertheless, that barbecue is derived from a West Indian (178). word, barbacoa 15 Margaret Schlaugh, TheGiftof (London: George Allen Tongues and Unwin Ltd., 1960), 97. 16 By the time of Cortes's death in 1547, he and his conquistadors, aided by the equally destructive microbes of smallpox and other European diseases, had succeeded

in wiping out almost 95 percent of a population that had lived and flourished in Mexico for thousands of years. For a detailed history of White-Indian conflicts from Columbus to the present, see HoloDavid E. Stannard'sAmerican caust(New York:Oxford University Press, 1992). Behind 17 Peter R. Limburg,Stories TheOrigins andHistories Words: of 285 Words English (Bronx, N.Y.: H. W. Wilson Company, 1986), 186. New 18 Ibid., 185; Cutler, O Brave 48. Words! Behind 19 Quoted in Limburg,Stories Words,186. New Words! 20 Cutler, O Brave 50, 52. Cutler'sexplanation implies that the Spaniards believed more strongly than did the English that the culture of the Indians offered something of value. For a more comprehensive discussion of cultural brokers-intermediaries who are receptive to other cultural worlds-and their role in preserving indigenous languages, see John L. Kessell, "The Ways and Words of the Other: Diego de Vargas and Cultural Brokersin Late Seventeenth-Century New Indian and White Mexico," in Between Worlds, Margaret Connell Szasz, ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994), 25-43. inAmerica, 42. 21 Laird,Language 22 "Itis more easy to civilize them by conquest than by faire meanes," Smith wrote. "What growing state was there ever in the world which had not the like? Rome grew by oppression, and rose upon the backs of her enemies: and the Spaniards have had many of those counterbuffes, more than we"; Was quoted in Vogel, ThisCountry Ours,40. In 1845, New York lawyer/journalistJohn L. O'Sullivan (1 813-95) coined a term for this philosophy: Manifest Destiny.
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NOTES

23 Quoted in Andrew White, "ARelation of Maryland"(Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1966), 36. 24 Giles Gunn, ed., EarlyAmerican (New York:Penguin Books, Writing 1994), 96, 97. 25 Lincoln Barnett, TheTreasure of OurTongue (New York:Alfred A. Knopf, 1964), 178; Bill Bryson, MadeinAmerica (New York: William Morrow and Company, New 1994), 23; Cutler, 0 Brave Words! 18. New 26 Quoted in Cutler, 0 Brave 22. Words! 27 Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil, TheStoryof (New York:Penguin Books, English 1986), 121. New Words! 22. 28 Cutler, 0 Brave 29 Ibid., 32. inAmerica, 312. 30 Laird,Language 31 Albert C. Baugh, A Historyof the English (New York:D. Language Appleton-Century Company, 1935), 415. inAmerica, 51. 32 Laird,Language 33 Ibid., 312. 34 The date given in the word list is the date of firstuse according to the Dictionary English ofAmerican (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944). 24. 35 Bryson, MadeinAmerica,
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41 New World of theAmerican Dictionary Language. 42 Quoted in EdwardArber, ed., The 1606-1 623 Fathers, Storyof thePilgrim (London: Ward and Downey Limited, 1897), 591. 43 Barnett,TheTreasure of OurTongue, 180. 44 Charles Cutler, "'IHave Spoken': Indianisms in Current English," Notes,Mar. 1992: English Language 72. 45 Both Cutler ("'IHave Spoken,"' 74) and Mencken (TheAmerican 181-85) offer intriguing Language, ideas concerning the origin of a term that appeared in the last decade of the eighteenth century: Indian summer. Cutler concludes that "whateverits origins, the expression probably derives its staying power from a common nineteenthcentury and early twentiethcentury view of Indians as a dwindling people, transient as the interlude named after them." 46 Cutler, "'IHave Spoken,'" 73. New 47 Quoted in Cutler, O Brave Words! 53. 48 Mencken, TheAmerican Language, 185. 23. 49 Bryson, MadeinAmerica, 50 Charlton Laird,TheMiracle of (New York:Fawcett Language Publications, 1957), 99. Laird also lists twelve variant spellings a tribe whose name of Meskwaki, For a meant Red-earth People. description of this tribe'sname change (by the English) to the Fox, and a discussion of how the Indians of the Northwest Snake acquired their name, see Laird, 99. TheMiracle ofLanguage, 51 Robert E. Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian,1820-1880 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986), 189.

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36 Barnett,TheTreasure of OurTongue, 179. 37 Gunn, EarlyAmerican Writing,105, 106. 38 David S. Lovejoy, "Satanizingthe American Indian,"NewEngland Dec. 1994: 604. Quarterly, 39 Ibid., 610-11. New 40 Quoted in Cutler, O Brave Words! 15.

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NOTES

52 Thomas Berger,Little BigMan (New York:Dial Press, 1964), 5. theIndian, Encounters 53 Bieder, Science 24. 54 Ibid., 35. 55 As quoted in ibid., 49. 56 Ibid., 29. 57 Ibid., 54. 88-91. New Words! 58 Cutler, 0 Brave 59 Barnett, TheTreasure of OurTongue, 270. 60 Geoffrey K. Pullum, TheGreat Hoax (Chicago: Eskimo Vocabulary University of Chicago Press, 1991), 166. 61 LauraMartin, "'EskimoWords for Snow': A Case Study in the Genesis and Decay of an Anthropological Example,"American June 1986: 420. Anthropologist, 62 David Simpson, ThePolitics of 1776-1850 (New American English, York:Oxford University Press, 1986), 166. 70. New Words! 63 Cutler, O Brave

64 As quoted in Mario Pei, TheStory (New York:J. B. LippinofLanguage cott Company, 1965), 259. New Words!; 65 See Cutler, O Brave Barnett, TheTreasure of OurTongue; Mencken, TheAmerican Language; and Mitford M. Mathews, TheBe(Chicago: English ginnings ofAmerican University of Chicago Press, 1931). 66 Saul Bellow, "IllinoisJourney," HolidayMagazine,Sept. 1957, 62. 67 Bill Bryson, TheMother Tongue (New York:William Morrow and Company, 1990), 239-40. 68 Lynn Sherr, 20/20, Dec. 15, 1995. Eskimo 69 Quoted in Pullum, TheGreat Hoax, 113. Vocabulary 70 John McWilliams, TheLastof the andSavage CivilSavagery Mohicans: Civility(New York:Twayne Publishers, 1995), 14. 71 Simpson, ThePolitics ofAmerican English,16, 17. 72 Joel Blatchford, letter, Anchorage Daily News,Mar. 3, 1991, B3.

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