easy way to type it:    kalkaalai

Lolly Metcalf’s South Slough Milluk

Americanist Phonetic


[ kalká·lai ],


[ kalká·lai ]

[ kɑlˈkɑˑlɑi ],


[ kɑlˈkɑˑlɑi ]

A Possible Suffix: We do not really have a teachable-learnable word meaning ‘dig’ from Lolly, just by listening to this interview segment.  One thing that we have instead is the possibility that there may be a verbal suffix /-ai/.  We can look for such a suffix when we look at different forms of many Milluk verbs in the Milluk texts.  

Instant Phonetic Englishization:  kahl_kahl_ai. 

This word is a bit of a mystery to us because of the ending of what we hear from Lolly Metcalf in this interview segment, but all of our ideas about what to make of her translation of the English word ‘dig’ in this interview segment involve what we see in the Milluk texts for two particular translations of the word ‘dug’.  Especially relevant is where we see a verbal form [ qálqá·l ] translated as ‘dug’ in the Milluk text titled “Head wives”, in Jacobs’ (1939) volume of Coos texts, starting on page 82.  The example itself is on page 84.  The other translation of the word ‘dug’ in the Milluk texts which is of interest to us here is an expression [ qáʟ_hu·t'súwa ] ‘dug a hole’, where we recognize the word [ qáʟ ] ‘underground’ and the word [ hu·t'súwa ] ‘make something’.  That example is in the Milluk text titled “The young man stepped on snail's back”, in Jacobs’ (1939) volume of Coos texts, starting on page 54.  The example itself is on page 55.  In Jacobs’ slip-file dictionary, there is both | qáʰl |, and | qáʟ | ‘underground’.  

The K-Q Sound Correspondence:  We would expect a word such as [ qálqá·l ] in Annie Miner Peterson’s Milluk to be something like [ kalká·l ] in Lolly Metcalf’s Coos Bay Milluk, because of the regular k-q sound correspondence.  That still leaves us wondering about the ending of what we hear from Lolly in this interview segment.  

Short Breathy Syllables:  From what we know of other Milluk words where a root word is a short breathy syllable, such as we have with both of Jacobs’ transcriptions | qáʰl |, and | qáʟ | for the word meaning ‘underground’, but where we also see longer words based on such root words, we have a pretty good idea that the Coos Bay Milluk equivalent would be [ kaʰl ], when the word is spoken by itself.  But what we hear from Lolly Metcalf in this interview segment would seem to be a longer word based on that root word, where the breathiness of the syllable is gone.  At least what we have in this interview segment about that is another bit of evidence for that happening to a short breathy syllable in Milluk when it is the beginning of a longer word.   

Adding Lines of Milluk Text: We mention the verbal form [ qálqá·l ] translated as ‘dug’ in a Milluk text and the expression [ qáʟ_hu·t'súwa ] ‘dug a hole’ in another Milluk text.  The next stage in developing this website is for us to add actual lines of Milluk text and whole text passages, to put examples such as these two examples in the context of connected discourse, so that visitor to this website can see Milluk words in action.  

for AMP:   


Annie Miner Peterson’s Milluk

Exactly Jacobs’ transcription

Americanist Phonetic & IPA


[ qálqá·l ]   


[ ˈqɑlˈqɑˑl ]

Reduplication: The verbal form [ qálqá·l ] ‘dug’ clearly seems to involve reduplication.  The reduplication might be called for because repeated actions are in involved.  That would certainly seem to be the case with the word [ qálqá·l ] in the Milluk texts and that may well be what Lolly had in mind when she translated the English word ‘dig’ with what we hear as [ kalká·lai ].  She may have been thinking of digging as involving repeated actions.