word of the day (or thereabouts) 2
- Today's word of the day (or thereabouts)IS the Yahgan word for
"day/dia", that is, moala, or mola in many of Bridges' earlier writings.
Stress is on the o, and given the ambiguous spelling one may speculate
that the a following was reduced.
According to B's original 1877-8 (m.s. 317 = H/G 351) manuscript, the
entries given are:
moala s. Day. Daylight 2. White spots or marks, as patches of
white on a cow.
moala adj. 1. Light, no longer night or dark. 2nd. Having white
patches or spots.
moala v.i. To day, become day, dawn as day.
This last entry comes with an example sentence:
Hamashvnna kvle: moaloa wvli:tas
"It will, I think, be a fine day tomorrow."
B also lists:
moala:ki Piebald. One having white patches or spots
moalun In the daytime. Day. In the day.
Haku: moalun Another or the other day.
Haku: moalunchi tvpan haku:chiu:a
"I will go some other day and not now."
moaloalan Every day, Always. All the day long. All day.
moalada:ra Every day.
moalada:ranata To become or be long as days in summer.
moalateka v.i. To break as day. To day. To come as day.
Wuli:tas kiu:e:la moalatecunna
"I hope it will day fine tomorrow." (H/G corrected this gloss).
Moala may not be historically a unified form. Consider the word shoala
(stress also on o) (B's m.s. p.139=H/G 158), which B defines as:
shoala s. A light, torch, flambeaux. v.i. To be alight as a fire. To
burning as a fire or light.
As a side note here B. has crossed out an entry following:
shoala:kaia v.tr. To put up as a light. To be held up or show as a
light or torch. To be up as a light on a post.
H/G have retained this entry, without also marking it as having been
crossed out by B.
The next form to compare is aioala. Here the stress has shifted
leftward to ai (which seems to be a general pattern in Yahgan). My
copy of the m.s. has this entry cut off at the page top, so H/G:
aioala Visible, where a thing can be seen
Where the m.s. copy begins, we have B.:
aiola s.adj and v.i. Light. Knowledge. Wise, intelligent, learned,
skilled. To be do., do., do. To know.
aiola! See how or Observe!
Also note here o vs oa, as is seen in the moala/mola forms.
What can we make of this? I have speculated in early posts to the list
that Yahgan is related genetically in some fashion to languages of the
North American Pacific Coast (Chumashan, Chemakuan, Salishan, etc.).
In Salishan languages especially, one sees a collection of obviously
etymologically connected forms whose general shape is labiovelar or
labiouvular initial (which may be a plain or glottalized stop,
voiceless fricative, glide or approximant, etc.), medial vowel, and
final non-front, non-back fricative or glide (hl, l, s, sh, y, r, etc.).
All the members of this rather extended "word family" in Salishan
refer in some way to phenomena of light- the day, the bright sky, the
sun, the moon, stars, light genrally, and so on.
Even forms such as Yahgan apvrinix "star" may be etymologically
relatable to this system, as may vsekvs "Sunlight. Rays of the sun,
also the sun" (which may be an ancient reduplication with root
*(e)kvs). Similar forms may be seen in other language families in the
Americas (indeed much further afield, leading one to suspect some form
of phonosemantic encoding historically at least partially motivating
these forms- in Salishan languages many words dealing with colors, for
instance, seem to be part of this system too, and are recognized as
being relatable by sound symbolism).
In Yahgan one source of sh- may originally have been a rounded velar
(what in Salishan would be fronted xw- the shift of xw to sh is well
known in the region), and m- obviously shares the labial feature too.
In the modern language aio(a)la is further changed to something more
like e:la, thus making any etymological connection between the forms
in Bridges' Yahgashaga dialect even more difficult to see ;-)
Dear colleagues of waata chis:
Estimados colegas de waata chis:
In a Yahgan-Alakalufan comparison, Yahgan shoala "light, torch, flambeux", "to be alight", etc. could be a potential cognate of Kawesqar aswal "day" (a word with such derivations as: aswal-k-seles "sun", aswal-oykem-na "noon, midday", aswal-kte "afternoon", aswala(f)k from *aswal-lafk "tomorrow; yesterday", etc.)
En el marco de una comparacion Yahgan-Alacalufe, Yahgan shoala "luz, antorcha, llameante", "estar encendido", etc., podria ser un potencial cognado de Kawesqar aswal "dia" (palabra que cuenta con derivados tales como: aswal-k-seles "sol", aswal-oykem-na "mediodia", aswal-kte "tarde", aswala(f)k de *aswal-lafk "manana, ayer", etc.)
J. Pedro Viegas Barros
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