May 31, 2008

Chent ímash naḿ kw'acht lhen si7l

Yesterday I was busy working this proposal for a grant I sent into the Squamish Nation Trust.  After I finished, I went to my grandmother'.  She wasn't home yet, but my auntie also lives there so I went some some time with her.  When my grandmother came home, I visited with her for a bit also.

My grandmother has been one of my greatest teachers in life.  Her and a half a dozen or so other elders taught me most of what I know of my language.  I'm extremely grateful for what they have given me, and choosing me to carry the knowledge.  Anyways, when I'm with my grandmother I'll usually ask her how to say something in my language, or something about our culture, or something.  Sometimes she won't know, or can't remember.  She doesn't use the language every day so after years of a lifestyle like that, you will forget.  It's the same with learning the language.  If I don't use what I learned the previous day over and over again in the next while, I'll forget it.  Interestingly enough, my grandmother will drop me a seed, and I'm finding that it happens in the space of language.  When we are immersing ourselves, even for a moment.  Here is what I can remember of a conversation we had.  I know a tiny amount of our language, so I used what ever I knew.  Here is one of the conversations:

Myself - "nuuw7 ta7a."
Audrey - "Kweplelhk!"
"i7kwa7i, chexw ma halh"
"na chan, ashan ta nu?"
"yewawn halh. chen kwis txwnchach'awtxwnit skwu7 sata7 siyamtnat."
"nu chexw wa chanem?"
"Stam ti "Naḿtuy7"?
"Vancouver - Vancouver is Naḿtuy7.  That's what my grandmother called it."

"Hey ta7a/granny."
"Oh geez.  You scared me."
"It is me. You are looking good."
'I am, what about you/how are you?"
"Very very good.  I am visiting with auntie Sheryl/Siyamtnat."
"Where are you coming from?"
"What is the word "Naḿtuy7"?
"Vancouver - Vancouver is Naḿtuy7.  That's what my grandmother called it."

I never knew this word before.  Neither did my auntie.  So you heard it from me my friends, the word for Vancouver in Skwxwu7mesh snichem (language) is Naḿtuy7.

EDIT - Actually, now that I thought about it, it makes sense and I figured out the translation.  Naḿ translates to "go", and tuy7 translates to "to go across a body of water." So where my grandmother was saying a noun or was saying a verb, I'm not sure. I like the word as a verb. Naḿtuy7 translates to "Going to the place across the Water". haha.

Chent ímash naḿ kw'acht lhen si7l = I went to go visit my grandmother.


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