easy way to type it:    klhim

Lolly Metcalf’s Coos Bay Milluk

Americanist Phonetic


[ kɫɪm ],


[ kɫɪm ]

[ kɬɪm ],


[ kɬɪm ]

Yet Another Phonetic Vowel:  The problem in transcribing how Lolly says this word is that the vowel in this word is so short that it is hard to be sure what vowel we are actually hearing.  We have also heard the vowel of this word as the phonetic vowel [ ɛ ], but more for the second and third times that Lolly says the word in this interview segment.  A transcription of the word as [ kɫɛm ] makes for an instant phonetic Englishization spelling of it as clem, like the name ‘Clem’.  We know two people who listened to Lolly and wrote this Milluk word meaning ‘night’ that way, one person as clem, and another person writing it as klem.  We recommend that students of the Milluk language imitate how Lolly says the word, with the idea that in purely phonetic terms the vowel in this word is centered where the vowels [ ɪ ], [ ɛ ], and [ ə ] meet near the middle of the vowel space, to get technical and purely phonetic about it.  Like Jacobs, we have settled on actually writing the vowel as the phonetic vowel [ ɪ ], the vowel in the English word ‘slim’, where we use phonetic symbols, and writing it in our easy way of typing the word with short / i / in that particular writing system which we make a point of being a kind of phonemic writing, even though we do not use phonetic symbols in the easy way of typing writing system.  We think that Jacobs was also thinking in phonemic terms when he came up with his representation of the word as [ qɫɩ́M ], which he did in his slip-file dictionary. 


Instant Phonetic Englishization:  klhim, for Lolly’s version of the word, rhymes with the word ‘slim’.  Annie’s q is made farther back in the throat. 

In Jacobs’ slip-file dictionary, which is written in his handwriting, he writes the word on one file slip as [ qɫɩ́M ], using an Iota [ ɩ ] to write the vowel, which we modernize as [ ɪ ], and using his Small Capital M symbol.  On another file slip, Jacobs has this word meaning ‘night’ transcribed as [ qɫɩ́m ], then as [ qɫɩ́M ], again with his Small Capital M symbol, but only for his second transcription of the word there.  Jacobs’ spelling of the word ending with his Small Capital M symbol does not actually appear in the Milluk texts, so it seems that, when Jacobs wrote his slip-file dictionary, he ended up reinterpreting his common spelling of the word to be found in the Milluk texts, which is | qɫəm |, in a way that emphasizes how short a syllable that this Milluk word meaning ‘night’ is.  When he wrote his slip-file dictionary, we assume that he was remembering what this word actually sounded like.  That makes sense to us given our own experience doing linguistic field work.  Jacobs’ Small Capital M symbol is like his Small Capital N symbol, and his Small Capital L symbol, which Jacobs had as a way of writing the final consonants of Milluk words which we hear from Lolly as especailly short and often breathy syllables.  These are syllables that Jacobs also describes that way on page 12 of his (1939) first volume of Coos texts, in so many words of his now old-fashioned phonetics terminology.  Like Jacobs, we end up thinking that what is important about the phonetics of this Milluk word meaning ‘night’ is that it is a short syllable with a short vowel.  

for AMP:   


Annie Miner Peterson’s Milluk

Exactly Jacobs’ transcription

Americanist Phonetic & IPA


[ qɫɪm


[ qɬɪm ]

In the published Milluk texts, Jacobs also transcribed Mrs. Peterson as pronouncing this word as | qɫəm | ‘night’, some 14 times compared with just 4 times for the transcription of it as | qɫim |.  One reason why we put his transcription of it as | qɫim | in our table of transcriptions, is that his transcription of the word as | qɫim | matches what we hear from Lolly better than Jacobs’ other, and more common transcription of the word in the published Milluk texts as | qɫəm |.  However, we also have another reason, one having to do with what we see in his slip-file dictionary.