Notes on Comparative Carrier Vocabulary
bat [Lheidli]
This term literally means "devil bird", with liyab "devil" from French le diable. This indicates that Lheidli dialect replaced its earlier word, presumably *t'az as in other dialects, within the past two centuries.
bat [Lhk'acho]
In addition to what must be the ancient term t'az, in this dialect bats are also called nezek'udutloh because they are said to grab people on the mouth with their fingers.
box [Ndazko]
This word for "box" is probably related to Cheslatta hoonkwun "fish box". It is cited for 19th century Nak'albun/Dzinghubun dialect but is no longer in use in this dialect. It appears to be a loan from a Tsimshianic language.
Cattle are not indigenous to Carrier territory. This is a loan from Cree mistos "buffalo". The reason for oo in the Nak'albun/Dzinghubun dialect but u in the Southern dialects is unknown.
The words chuntulhi and tintulhi appear at first glance to be cognate, but they are not. The phonological correspondance chu/ti, though plausible, would be unique. Rather, these two words seem to have different etymologies. Both mean "forest dog", but are based on different words for "forest". chuntulhi is based on chuntoh, meaning "among the trees", with chun the stem of duchun "tree". tintulhi is based on tintoh meaning "among the trails". Some dialects, such as Saik'uz, have both words for "forest".
The fact that we have u rather than oh or ah before lhi reflects the historical source of the second morpheme of "forest", which was originally tukh. As is not uncommon in Carrier compounds, the kh was lost before the second member of the compound. This elminated the environment for the later change of u to o or a (depending on dialect) before h (including those derived from kh).
coyote [Cheslatta]
In Cheslatta dialect, there are three words in common use for "coyote". In addition to the true Carrier word chuntulhi, both kayoti, borrowed from English, and neyootse, borrowed from Wetsuwet'en, are in common use.
coyote [Ndazko]
This word is slightly unusual in that the compound is based on the full modern form of "forest", so that we have chuntoh rather than chuntu. This presumably reflects a restructuring of the form to make its derivation more transparent, the presumed earlier form *chuntulhi having become opaque.
Comparison with other Athabaskan languages as well as evidence for the internal history of Carrier indicates that the old word must be koo. Even dialects that use a reflex of *yukh have traces of koo, in such forms as koonk'et "at home". *yukh is found in all dialects as a postposition meaning "inside", and in most as a noun meaning "chest".
house [Lheidli]
Although in this dialect yoh is not used for "house", it is used with the meaning "building", and as such appears in numerous compounds, such as tatnaibayoh "bar" and yoh 'udai "restaurant".
knife [Lhk'acho]
Although 'utes seems to be more common, tes is also attested in this dialect.
All of these words are loans from French le clou. The unaspirated /k/ of French is interpreted as Carrier /g/, which is also unaspirated and in many environments not voiced. However, the cluster /gl/ is not native to Carrier, so in some dialects, evidently those whose contact with French was less intense, /gl/ was replaced with /dl/, which is native to Carrier. Younger speakers of dialects marked as having /dl/ sometimes have /gl/, presumably borrowed from other dialects of Carrier since they no longer have direct exposure to French.
Carrier dialects generally contain one or the other of two words for "pig", both ultimately derived from French coche, an old French word replaced by cochon in modern standard French. Most dialects have a reduplicated form like gugoos, which probably entered Carrier via Cree. A few have goso, which probably entered Carrier via Chinook Jargon.
pig [Cheslatta]
Several words for "pig" are attested in Cheslatta dialect. One is 'anudis, which means something like "it roots around" and is formed from Carrier morphemes. This is the only such native formation for "pig" found in any Carrier dialect. The second is goso, heard from only one informant. The third is googoos, heard from the majority of informants.
The word used in most dialects is a loan from Cree and generally refers to precious metal as well as money.
money [Cheslatta]
This is a loan from Chinook Jargon, ultimately from Nuchanuulth. Cheslatta people now also know and use the word soonuya used in other dialects, but identify it as a relatively recent loan into their dialect.
The Nak'albun/Dzinghubun form lubret is a loan from French le prêtre. The term used in the Southern dialects nawhulnuk is a zero-nominalization of a verb meaning "he preaches, he recounts". In the extensive material written in the Nak'albun/Dzinghubun dialect by Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice, who lived in Fort Saint James between 1885 and 1904, "priest" is always rendered nawhulnuk, but today this is rejected as a Southern dialect form.
priest [Cheslatta]
In addition to the usual Southern Carrier word for "priest", this dialect uses mosunyel, borrowed from French monseigneur, possibly via Chinook Jargon. The equivalent word, in the forms mosunyer and monsenyor, is used in the Nak'albun/Dzinghubun dialect with the meaning "bishop".
In those Southern dialects that distinguish singular from plural, the forms like skui are singular and the plural takes the form skeh. The morpheme used for "child" in the Southern dialects is not absent from the Nak'albun/Dzinghubun dialect. The unpossessed form in this dialect is ts'oodun, which is not found in the other dialects, but ts'oodun may not be possessed. The possessed stem is skeh, as in suzkeh "my child". This is evidently the cognate of the plural form in the Southern dialects.
The difference between ts'eke and ts'ekoo is not a matter of phonological correspondance. Rather, In the dialects in which "woman" is ts'eke, the plural "women" is ts'ekoo, an irregular plural. In some dialects, in which distinct plural forms of nouns are rare or non-existant, the historical distinction between ts'eke and ts'ekoo has been lost, and the old plural form generalized to include the singular.
eulachon fish
In some dialects this consists of sle compounded with the word for "fish". sle is of unclear origin, but may be a contracted form of nasdle "it is running (upstream)". The same element may appear in s(d)lenyoh "fish camp". In some other dialects, the term for the fish is sbootih, borrowed from Nuxalk (Bella Coola) sputci.
eulachon oil
In all dialects this term ends in ghe, the compounding stem of khe "grease, oil". In some dialects the first element is sle which also appears as the first element of the term for the fish. In other dialects, the first element is tl'ina or tl'ena, which is a loan from a North Wakashan language: Oweekyala, Heiltsuk, or Haisla, in which it refers to the grease. The compound is, therefore, from an etymological point of view, redundant.
This is the tree Populus trichocarpa.
fork [Lheidli]
This term stands out in that it is based on a passive. The term be'ooget used in most dialects means "the thing by means of which one pokes at (unspecified object)". The Lheidli term means "the thing by means of which something is poked at". Such instrumental nominalizations are frequently based on passives, especially in Southern dialects; what is unusual is that the other dialects have an active form while only Lheidli has a passive.
All of these terms for "mustard" mean "child feces" or "children's feces", presumably after the color and texture rather than the flavour. It is unclear why "mustard" is called "children's feces" rather than "baby's feces", which would seem more appropriate. The variation among dialects is due primarily to the variation in the form of the word "child", though it is unexplained why some dialects have a singular while others (Nak'albun, Tsetl'adak) have a plural.
fork [Cheslatta]
This is a loan from French la fourchette.
The distribution of words for "what" is not as discrete as this chart might suggest. dant'i is not absent from the dialects in which it is not the word for "what". In other dialects, it has the meaning "what sort of". Similarly, dialects in which the normal word for "what" is not di, whether dant'i or ndai, all use di ka or di ha as their word for "why?". This is analyzable as "for what?".
In all dialects the basic morpheme for "hair" cited here refers to body hair when used by itself. The hair of the head is invariably expressed as a compound of this with "head".


Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006