‘horse, horses’,

easy way to type it:    kyuutan

Lolly Metcalf’s South Slough Milluk

Americanist Phonetic


[ kʰʸú·tan ],


[ kʰʸú·tan ]  

[ ˈkʰʲuˑtan ],


[ ˈkʰʲuˑtan ]  

An Extreme Example of a Front K [ k̯ ]:  In the Milluk texts, this word begins with what we call a Front K [ k̯ ], but, as we hear this word from Lolly Metcalf, it does not begin with a typical example of a Front K.  Instead of writing it as [ k̯ʰú·tan ], or [ ˈkʲʰuˑtan ] (in the IPA), we write it as [ kʰʸú·tan ], and [ ˈkʰʲuˑtan ] (in the IPA), as we hear it from Lolly.  The reason for this is that we do not want students of the Milluk language to think that there is normally as much of a semivowel [ y ] in a word-initial Front K as we hear in Lolly’s two times saying this word in this interview segment.  Lolly Metcalf says the first syllable of the Milluk word meaning ‘horse’ pretty much like the English word ‘cue’.  However, the word-initial Front K of this word is not typical of the instances of Front K which begin other words that we hear in sound recordings either from Lolly Metcalf or that we have heard so far from Annie Miner Peterson saying things in Milluk, as she was speaking into a phongraphic recording machine in 1934.   

Instant Phonetic Englishization:  kyoo_tahn. 

Remembered Milluk:  We think that there was a way to pronounce the Milluk word meaning ‘horse’ where there was so little of a semivowel [ y ], so that a speaker of English would not hear a [ y ], but instead would hear either only a subtle effect of the initial consonant of the word being palatalized, or they would hear just an ordinary K [ k ].  We think that is the case with this word because we know someone who learned this Milluk word meaning ‘horse’ from Lolly Metcalf when he was a boy.  When he said this Milluk word for us, we heard him say it as [ koˑtan ], with no evidence at all of a palatalized consonant.  This makes us think that Lolly Metcalf might not have always pronounced the Milluk word that means ‘horse’ with as much of a semivowel [ y ] in it as we hear from her in this interview segment from her 1953 interview. 

 An Etymology for the Word:  In any case, the Milluk word meaning ‘horse’ is from Chinuk Wawa (Chinook Jargon).  When we look at another language of the Oregon Coast, we see that the word has been heard with no palatalization.  Leo J. Frachtenberg (in his (1914) volume “Lower Umpqua Texts”, on page 119), using his very old-fashioned Americanist phonetic system of writing, transcribed the Lower Umpqua version of this word as [ kō ́tan ] ‘horse’.  On the other hand, in his (1913) volume “Coos Texts”, on page 206, Frachtenberg phonetically transcribed the Hanis word as [ kˑō ́tan ] ‘horse’.  In this transcriptions, his raised dot after the K is Frachtenberg’s very old-fashioned equivalent of Jacobs’ not quite so old-fashioned fronting diacritic [  ̯  ], which we see in Jacobs’ (1939) phonetic transcription of | k̯ú·tan | ‘horse’

 Aspirated Voiceless Stop Consonants:  One incidental fact about this word is that there is a slight amount of aspiration with the word-initial voiceless stop consonant of this word, because it is a word-initial Milluk voiceless stop consonant.  That applies whether we write it as a Front K [ k̯ ], following Jacobs transcription of the word in the Milluk texts, or whether we write it as the blatantly palatalized word-initial voiceless stop consonant that we hear from Lolly Metcalf in this interview segment.  

for AMP:   


Annie Miner Peterson’s Milluk

Exactly Jacobs’ transcription

Americanist Phonetic & IPA


[ kʰʸú·tan


[ ˈkʰʲuˑtan ]