‘hey my mother’s sister (vocative)’,

easily typed:  

     gae ʼn@ gwaegwii

for AMP:  


     gae ʼn@ gwaegwii

Lolly Metcalf’s South Slough Milluk

Annie Miner Peterson’s Milluk

Americanist Phonetic


Exactly Jacobs’ transcription

Americanist Phonetic & IPA

[ gæ nə

   gwǽgwi ],


[ gwǽgwi ],


[ gæ nə

   gwǽgwi ]

[ ɡæ nə

  ˈɡwæɡwi ],


[ ˈɡwæɡwi ],


[ ɡæ nə

  ˈɡwæɡwi ]


[ g̯ǽnə

   gwǽ·gwi ]


[ ˈɡʲænə

   ˈɡwæˑɡwi ]

            The Milluk word gwaegwii ‘mother’s sister, (vocative)’, just by itself, is how one addresses or calls out to one’s aunt, if she is the sister of one’s mother.  There is a completely different Milluk word for talking about someone’s mother’s sister.  That word is the Milluk word xuk’w@n [xᵘkʼwə́n] ‘mother’s sister’, which occurs seven times in the Milluk texts.  The vocative kin term gwaegwii only occurs once in the Milluk texts. 


            In our easy way of writing the referential way of saying mother’s sister, [xᵘkʼwə́n], we make the small raised u by making it superscript, which is relatively easy compared to finding the Unicode symbol for a small raised u.  Finding the Unicode symbol is what we had to do in order to spell the word phonetically on our computers.  We insert the Unicode symbol in conjunction with typing using the Charis SIL phonetic font using an IPA electronic keyboard layout. 


            Father’s Sister:

            There is also a completely different Milluk word ’at’a [ʔatʼa] ‘father’s sister’, which occurs twice in the Milluk texts, both times only referring to someone’s father’s sister, so we do not actually know from the Milluk texts what the vocative form is for ‘father’s sister’.  However, we may yet find a vocative kin term for ‘father’s sister’ somewhere in Melville Jacobs’ field notebooks.  Jacobs was an anthropologist and anthropologists tend to investigate such things. 


            In the Milluk texts (all from Annie Miner Peterson), there is a word [ g̯æ ] meaning ‘hey’, beginning with a palatalized voiced velar stop consonant which is distinct from a word [ɢ̣æ] meaning ‘yonder’, beginning with a voiced uvular stop consonant.  What we hear from Lolly Metcalf sounds like a plain voiced velar stop.  We actually have to suspect though that if we could hear the word [g̯æ] ‘hey’ from Mrs. Peterson, it would not sound very different from the word [gæ] meaning ‘hey’ that we hear from Mrs. Metcalf. 


            We have no reason to think that the Milluk word gae ‘hey’ is at all impolite, as the English word ‘hey’ can be.  In Jacobs’ field notebook 101, on what appears to be page 36 (in a PDF of the pages), there is Annie Miner Peterson’s version of the Milluk expression that means ‘hey my mother’s sister’.  As Jacobs explains in his handwriting, this is an expression that Mrs Peterson recalled from her childhood.  Our modernized version of Jacobs’ old-fashioned Americanist phonetic transcription is:


            g̯ɛ́–nəgwɛ́·gwi    dič’kwáikwaʰ . 

            my auntʼs         her  hoof, foot   


            Jacobs says about this: “Mrs. P. remembers an old Miluk man who affectionately called her when she was only a tot running on the beach, “oh my auntie’s foot,” “oh my aunt’s cute little feet running there.  Mrs. P. stood in some technical aunt relation to this old man.”. 


            We wonder if the technicality of the relationship involves what is called a ‘reciprocal kin term’.  This is something else that we may yet find out about somewhere in Melville Jacobs’ field notebooks.  In the meantime, we can note that the Ktunaxa language (Kootenai) has a reciprocal kin term ‘papanam’ ‘(someone’s) grandfather of a male or female’, ‘grandmother of a male’, ‘grandson of a male or female’, ‘granddaughter of a male’, ‘daughter-in-law of a male’.  It has this variety of meanings depending on who is saying it if one uses the Ktunaxa first person possessive pronoun ‘ka’.  Someone can say ‘ka papa’ and mean ‘my grandfather’, but the grandfather can say ‘ka papa’ and it can mean ‘my grandson’ or ‘my granddaughter’.