a Chumash "hello".
thanks for this. I posted it to DiosasAncianos2012
and to the OjaiPost.
by the way, we are 'calling' you at Diosas ...
kiwanon, (I go now ...)
-- "Ancient Star" <ancientstar@...> wrote:
'Chumash/Shumash' meant 'Sun' in ancient Sumerian.
Chumash language brought back from the brink
SCHOLAR: Richard Applegate (left) studied Samala ('Samalia' as in
'southern Yemen') in his doctoral work and compiled the dictionary
based on the forgotten, jumbled notes of an acclaimed anthropologist.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer April 20, 2008
SANTA YNEZ -- A generation ago, the ancient Chumash tongue of 'Samala'
was all but dead, its songs and sagas buried in a university basement
beneath mountains of yellowing research notes.
The last fluent speaker of 'Samala' died in 1965, but thanks to a
trove of anthropological notes, a linguist has drafted a 608-page
dictionary to keep the tribal tongue alive.
But now 'Samala' is the talk of the reservation. Thanks largely to a
non-American Indian graduate student who was working for pocket money
40 years ago, the tribe has unveiled the first major Samala
dictionary, a key moment in the language's rebirth...
The dictionary's 4,000 entries sound as foreign to most of the tribe
members as they were familiar to their ancestors. It's a tough
language for English speakers, filled with sharp interruptions called
glottal stops. Some words don't quite roll off the tongue -- qalpsik
is to braid the hair tight -- and more than 100 prefixes can
dramatically change the meaning of verbs.
"There are so many rules," moaned Zavalla. "Just a glottal stop -- it
sounds like uh-oh -- can change the meaning of ma from 'the' to 'rabbit.'
The last Chumash fluent in the language died in 1965. For years,
speaking Samala carried a stigma, even on the reservation. At the
American Indian boarding schools attended by students in past
generations, use of native tongues was a punishable offense, a serious
violation in an environment that aimed to minimize the value of being
More recently, some parents saw the language as a needless burden for
their children -- a reminder of an identity it sometimes seemed better
"There's a huge resurgence of people wanting to get their languages
back," said Leanne Hinton, the retired head of UC Berkeley's
linguistics department and a consultant for several tribes. "This
Samala dictionary is going to be an extremely important reference,
particularly with no native speakers left."...
As a graduate student there, Applegate earned money sorting through
endless boxes of notes by John P. Harrington, a brilliant and
eccentric anthropologist who had poured himself into the study of
California's American Indians. A pack rat, Harrington stuffed 1
million sheets of paper -- along with random pieces of laundry and
half-eaten sandwiches -- into crates that wound up in basements and
warehouses all over the West.
But Harrington was a meticulous observer, and what Applegate
discovered was a trove of invaluable information on Chumash life and
the half-dozen languages of the Chumash groups along California's coast.
In a sometimes indecipherable scrawl, Harrington recorded several
years of interviews with Maria Ysidora de Refugio Solares, a Santa
Ynez Chumash woman who told him stories about a bear attack and a
mission revolt, the details of childbirth and the proper way for
children to dispose of teeth that fall out.
Entranced by the language, Applegate did his doctoral dissertation and
a few scholarly papers on Samala. He moved on to other things, but
about five years ago, the tribe asked him to start a language program.
He eventually chose five "apprentices," adults who pass Samala words
on to their children and to different groups around the reservation...
Applegate's program also produced the dictionary, which is far more
reader-friendly than the dry listing of Samala words he assembled for
his dissertation in 1972. Photos of tribal members and their pets
illustrate many entries in the dictionary. Beside the entry for
texewec -- to bask, or sun oneself -- is a woman poolside, in
sunglasses, reading a copy of Chumash magazine.