- The point of this story is to explain the name for the area
in which the town of Fort Saint James is now located. The explanation
given here is that it is a contraction of a phrase meaning
"it flowed off with the arrows of the Little Dwarves".
The full form of this phrase would be
('Ut)na(neyaz)k'a (bulh ti)zdli. The parenthesized
portions are those that would have to be deleted in order to obtain
the actual place name. Some people question this explanation for the
name since the contraction necessary is not the result of any
regular phonological rules of Carrier or of any attested systematic
historical change. The alternative etymology is that
Nak'azdli consists of Nak'al "Mount Pope" plus
the suffix zdli "outlet of a body of water", this
suffix being a contraction of the full noun tizdli
"outlet", which in turn is the nominalization of a verb of the
same form meaning "it begins to flow". Many place names are formed
with this suffix. If the noun to which they are attached ends in
a consonant, as does Nak'al, the initial /z/ of the
suffix is deleted. On this account, the meaning of Nak'azdli
would be "the place near Mount Pope where water begins to flow".
If this is correct, the story about warfare with the 'Utnaneyaz,
while recording what is no doubt a historical event, would not
be the actual explanation for the name of the place.
- This form is hudidohne in the modern language. This
is the result of two systematic changes in the language that
have taken place in the past 100 years. First,
/kh/ has merged with /h/ in all positions except for (a) stem-initial
and (b) in the outer layer of disjunct prefixes. Examples of the
preservation of /kh/ in stem-initial position are khuni
"word, language", khe "grease", and khit "winter", which
still have initial /kh/. Examples of the preservation of /kh/ in
the outer layer of disjunct prefixes are khunadli "he is looking
after himself" and khuntakhulh "it drops off steeply
into the water".
This last example also illustrates the preservation of /kh/
at the beginning of a verb stem. Examples of this type are very rare
since voiceless fricatives like /kh/ are not normally found at the
beginning of verb stems. One of the places
in which /kh/ has become /h/ is therefore the third person duo-plural
subject prefix with which khudidukhne begins. Since this is a
conjunct prefix, the /kh/ became /h/. The second /kh/ in also changed
to /h/ because it is at the end of verb stem, not the beginning.
The other historical change is in syllables that originally ended
in /uh/, including those in which the /uh/ is derived from earlier
/ukh/. In this dialect as in most dialects, these now end in /oh/.
A similar example is keyoh "territory", which used to be pronounced
keyukh. In the western dialects (Stellakoh, Cheslatta, Ulkatcho, and
Lhoosk'us), syllables ending in /uh/ changed to /ah/ rather than /oh/.
For example, these dialects have keyah for "territory".
- The stem here is 'utna, which normally refers to non-Athabaskan
Indians, especially the Gitksan, Nisga'a, Tsimshian, and Haisla. The
suffix -ne is the human plural. The suffix -yaz means
"little". The form therefore appears to mean "the little non-Athabaskan
Indians". The term is often translated as "the Dwarves" because the
people were said to be short, but the Carrier word emphasizes
the fact that they were foreigners.
It is likely that this story, and other related stories, refer to conflicts
with the Gitksan or related Tsimshianic-speaking people.
- This particle, which at present usually takes the form lhih
rather than ulhih, is placed after a verb to form the customary aspect.
It may therefore usually be translated by the adverb "customarily".
Many Carrier verbs have a customary aspect form, marked by the use of
a special form of the stem. For example, nuts'uke means "we are
going around in a boat", while nuts'ukih means "we customarily
go around in a boat". Here kih is the customary stem. When a
verb lacks a distinct customary stem, customary aspect may be indicated
by means of the particle (u)lhih.
- The modern form is huyenenelhtso due to the sound change
described in Note on Change of /kh/ to /h/.
This is an instrumental relative verb form modifying the
noun k'a "arrows",
with which it forms a relative clause meaning "the arrows by means of which
they shot". The usual form of the instrumental prefix, used to derive
from verbs nouns meaning "the thing by means of which V", is be-.
However, this prefix has a singular obviative form ye-, used
when the subject of the verb is third person singular, and a plural
obviative form huye- used when the subject of the verb is
third person plural, as in this case. The reason that an instrumental
form is needed here is that the verb "to shoot" here is, strictly
speaking, intransitive. k'a "arrows" is not a direct object,
but rather is the means by which shooting is done.
- This is the old form of Nak'azdli. Unlike most of the
other historical changes mentioned in these notes, the change of syllables
ending in ung to i took place during the nineteenth century.
Mr. Prince himself did not normally say Nak'azdlung; he is
explaining that even to him this is the old pronounciation.
The nature of this change is too complex to explain here, but the
key to it is that these syllables originally ended in palatal nasals
(as in Spanish Español).
- The more obvious translation of this is "we (three or more) say/call".
However, what is now the first person plural subject prefix ts'-
originally marked the indefinite subject; although not terribly common,
it has kept this function.
- ndi khuni
- The position of the noun phrase ndi khuni "this word"
is not normal, as Carrier is fairly rigidly verb-final. Mr. Prince
evidently added this phrase as an afterthought.
Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006