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北美奇努克混合语:一种几乎被遗忘的语言

更新时间:2018/11/24 10:50:39 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

North America's nearly forgotten language
北美奇努克混合语:一种几乎被遗忘的语言

Even before I saw the water, I heard the rumble. Sounding like a river or a waterfall, the noise was gently muffled by the sword ferns and step moss as it reverberated through the sky-scraping red cedars and Douglas firs. What I was hearing was not a river, and if I’d come along this trail an hour earlier or later, I’d have heard nothing at all.

未见峡谷,耳边就响起瀑布、激流般隆隆作响的水声,在蓝天下挺拔的红柏绿枞中轰鸣回荡,又在剑蕨和苔藓的缓冲下逐渐平息。這巨大的水声并不是來自河流,假若我不是恰好在此时踏上这条小径,可能也无缘见识其轰鸣。

I was visiting the Skookumchuck Narrows, one of Canada’s most famous tidal rapids, which are located a ferry ride north-west of Vancouver at the head of Sechelt Inlet on the Sunshine Coast. On a 3m tide as much as 760,000,000 cubic metres of water passes through the narrows, creating imposing white-water rapids that diminish to calm water four times a day as the tide turns. But the reason I was here was not to marvel at the daring kayakers as they surfed the standing waves. Instead, I had come to ask about the name of the place.

斯库坎洽峡谷位于温哥华西北部阳光海岸锡谢尔特湾的尽头,可以乘渡轮抵达;那里有加拿大最著名的潮汐激流之一。峡谷激流每天有四次潮汐,每当涨潮,浪高3米,从峡谷中通过的水量多达7.6亿立方米,形成湍急的白色激流,逐渐舒缓,最终汇入平湖,场面壮观。但我来此地不是为了看勇敢的皮划艇运动员,为他们的搏击激流险滩的英姿惊叹。我来这里,是为了探索这个地名的秘密。

Like many from British Columbia, I grew up with an easy familiarity with a handful of strange words. They were terms I always thought were common English, but they turned out to be unknown beyond the boundaries of my Pacific Coast home. I later learned that words like potlatch, saltchuck, kanaka, skookum, sticks, muckamuck, tyee and cultus were from a near-forgotten language that was once spoken by more than 100,000 people, from Alaska to the California border, for almost 200 years.

和许多来自加拿大不列颠哥伦比亚省的人一样,我从小就对许多奇奇怪怪的词汇见怪不怪。我原来一直以为这些家喻户晓的日常用词来自英语,但没有想到在不列颠哥伦比亚省以外的地方,这些词语竟鲜为人知。后来我才知道,像波特拉奇(potlatch)、 盐恰克(saltchuck)、 肯纳卡(kanaka)、 斯库坎(skookum)、斯缇可斯(sticks),摩卡莫克(muckamuck)、 泰伊(tyee)、 卡尔特斯(cultus)这些词实际上都源自一种如今几乎被人们遗忘的语言。北起阿拉斯加,南抵加利福尼亚边境,在这片广袤的土地上,这种语言流通了约200年,鼎盛时期使用者一度超过10万人。

Known as Chinook Jargon or Chinook Wawa (‘wawa’ meaning talk), this was a trade, or pidgin, language that combined simplified words from the First Nations languages of Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka), Chinook and others, as well as from French and English. It was used so extensively that it was the language of courts and newspapers in the Pacific Northwest from about 1800 to 1905. Some Chinook Wawa still exists in place names and slang, but the meanings are so deeply buried in Pacific Northwest culture that the words come with more of a feeling than a definition, and most residents can’t say which language the terms evolved from.

这种语言就是奇努克混合语,也有人叫它奇努克瓦瓦(“瓦瓦”就是谈话的意思),是一种做贸易时使用的混合语,混合了英语和法语,以及当地原住民的努特卡、奇努克等语言的简化版本。奇努克瓦瓦当年普及甚广,在1800 - 1905年间,它曾是濒太平洋西北地区的法院和报社官方用语。如今,地名和俚语里还可以见到奇努克语的影子,它早已和太平洋西北地区的文化融为一体。因此,奇努克语词汇往往能够唤起人们情感的共鸣,但其背后的释义却鲜为人知。即使是当地人,大多也说不清这些词汇从哪儿演变过来。

Curious what these visitors to the Skookumchuck Narrows might know about the site’s name, I waited for a Vancouver kayaker named Jill to step away from the furious water, then asked if she knew what Skookum means. Almost in chorus, an entire crowd of kayakers answered. “It means awesome. Big and awesome.” And chuck, I asked? “That’s the ocean,” they replied.

我实在好奇此地的游客们是否知道斯库坎洽峡谷的名字代表着什么,于是打算询问一位皮划艇运动员。吉尔(Jill)来自温哥华,我等她从湍急的水流中上来后,问她“斯库坎”的意思。当时几乎所有的运动员都异口同声地回答了我,“是很棒的意思。很大,或者很优秀。” 我又问, “恰克”是什么意思,他们回答, 恰克是海洋。

They’re not entirely correct – historically, skookum meant strong or impressive, and chuck meant water (saltchuck meant the sea), but once words become part of a local lingo they can change with time. When I asked if they knew where the word Skookumchuck comes from, there was a puzzled silence. Finally Jill answered. “I think it comes from here,” she said, gesturing toward the rocky cliffs and dense green forest.

他们的回答只对了一部分。过去,“斯库坎”代表着强大、能留下深刻印象的事物;“恰克”则代表了水(因此“盐恰克”就是大海)。这些词汇一旦融入了当地语言,它们的意思就会随着时间推移而发生改变。 我接着问他们“斯库坎洽”一词来自哪里,大家沉默了。最后,吉尔指着峡谷间的岩石峭壁和森林说:“应该来自这里。”

The birth of a new language

新语言诞生

Chinook Wawa was developed to ease trade in a place where there was no common language. On the Pacific Coast at the time, there were dozens of First Nations languages, including Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Kwakwaka'wakw, Salishan and Chinook. After European contact, which included Captain Cook’s arrival in 1778, English, French, Spanish, Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese were gradually added to the mix.

由于没有一种通用的语言,为了方便民族间的贸易交流,奇努克语就应运而生。太平洋沿岸当时有数十种原住民语言,其中包括海达语(Haida)、特林吉特语(Tlingit)、蒂姆希安语(Tsimshian)、努-恰-努尔斯语(Nuu-chah-nulth)、海斯拉语(Haisla)、海尔楚克语(Heiltsuk)、夸瓦卡沃克语(Kwakwaka'wakw)、萨利珊语(Salishan)和奇努克语(Chinook)。随着当地人逐渐开始跟欧洲有了贸易往来,包括1778年库克船长登陆美洲大陆,英语、法语、西班牙语、夏威夷语、汉语、日语和葡萄牙语也陆续融入当地语言中。

While pidgin languages usually draw most of their vocabulary from the prestige language, or colonising culture, unusually, in the case of Chinook Wawa, two thirds of the language is Chinook and Nuu-chah-nulth with the rest being made up mostly of English and French.

一般来说,強势語言和殖民文化会占据混合语词汇的绝大部分,但奇努克混合语的情况有所不同,三分之二的词汇来自奇努克和努特卡语,英语和法语在其中只占据了一小部分。

There are a few different theories about how Chinook Wawa arose. Some say it existed between linguistically different First Nations groups long before European contact.

奇努克混合语是怎么产生的,有几种不同说法。 有人说,早在欧洲人来到美洲大陆前,各个原住民语言就已经杂糅,有了奇努克混合语的雏形。

Others put its development in the hands of Captain Cook: after his 1778 visit to the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Nuu-chah-nulth words he recorded were sent back to England and subsequently used by European traders on the Pacific Coast. Almost 30 years later and 425km south, explorers Lewis and Clark encountered these Nuu-chah-nulth words being spoken as part of the trade language in the home region of the Chinook people, present day Oregon’s Columbia River Valley.

还有人说,奇努克混合语的发展得益于库克船长:1778年库克船长从温哥华岛西海岸登陆北美大陆,把他记录的努特卡语文字样本寄回了英国。随后,欧洲的商人们才开始在太平洋沿岸使用这种语言。 30年后,在库克船长当年登陆地带以南425公里的奇努克人领地(现俄勒冈州哥伦比亚河谷),探险家刘易斯和克拉克偶然发现,当地人使用的混合语中,有一部分词汇来自当年的努特卡语。

Still other experts say Chinook Wawa was developed by the Hudson’s Bay Company to be used as the common language of the fur trade.

此外,还有专家表示,奇努克混合语是哈德逊湾公司造出来专门用于毛皮贸易的语言。

But retired University of British Columbia professor and anthropological linguist Jay Powell believes Chinook Wawa developed more organically than this. Powell, who is one of the last fluent speakers of Chinook Wawa, points to the women and children who settled on the Columbia River after the first forts were established in the early 1800s. He explained that many of the European settlers in the area had indigenous wives from a variety of different First Nations. These women and their children rarely shared a common language with their husbands or their neighbours, he said, so the linguistically simple Chinook Wawa became the language of the region.

但人类学语言学家鲍威尔(Jay Powell)不这么认为。鲍威尔教授曾任职于不列颠哥伦比亚大学,如今已经退休。他认为,奇努克混合语的发展比这种说法更加复杂。 鲍威尔教授是最后一批能够流利使用奇努克混合语的人。他提请大家注意,19世纪初第一批边界贸易站建立起来后在哥伦比亚河沿岸定居的妇女儿童。他说,当年来自欧洲的殖民定居者许多人娶了当地不同部族的原住民女子为妻,常见的情况是妻儿和丈夫、邻居语言不通,而奇努克混合语因为比较简单,所以迅速成为了当地人的共同语言。

“During the time of settlement, everyone knew this,” Powell told me, “If you were coming as a missionary, a businessman or for the Fraser Canyon gold rush, you needed two things: warm clothes and a Chinook Jargon dictionary.”

鲍威尔告诉我说:“传教士、商人,还有去弗雷泽峡谷的淘金者,来这儿必带两件行李:保暖衣物和奇努克语字典。这基本上是殖民时代的常识。”

Used by First Nations people, traders, immigrants, missionaries and their children, over the next several decades, Chinook Wawa expanded, progressing from a few hundred words to a more complex language capable of conveying jokes and even an opera called Keel-a-Pie (Come Back). By the time England and the US partitioned the Northwest in 1846, the language had followed the retreat of the Hudson’s Bay Company from Fort Vancouver on the present-day border of Oregon and Washington to Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island and further north.

此后几十年,当地原住民、商人、移民、传教士和他们的后代,都用奇努克混合语进行交流,而它也因此从仅有的几百个单词发展成为一种复杂的语言。人们能用奇努克混合语讲笑话,甚至还创作了一部奇努克混合语的歌剧,剧名叫做《归来》。1846年,英美两国在西北地区划界分而治之,哈德逊公司从今天位于美国俄勒冈州和华盛顿州州界的温哥华堡向北撤退到温哥华岛的维多利亚堡,甚至更北,奇努克混合语也随之向北进入今天的加拿大不列颠哥伦比亚省。

Chinook Wawa was reaching its peak in the 1860s when the Hastings Sawmill on Burrard Inlet became the birthplace of Vancouver. The managers spoke Chinook Wawa, and Chinese and Japanese immigrants who worked at the mill learned the pidgin language rather than English. Further inland, the Kamloops Wawa newspaper provided the news of the day in English, French and Chinook Wawa from 1891 through 1905.

19世纪60年代是奇努克混合语的黄金时代。当时,布拉德湾黑斯廷斯锯木厂的殖民地由一个经济中心逐步发展成了后来的温哥华市。锯木厂的经理說奇努克混合语,中国和日本的移民工人学说的新语言也是这种混合语而非英語。在离海岸稍远的内陆,甘露市交通报(Kamloops Wawa)从1891年到1905年是用英、法和奇努克混合语三种语言发行的报纸。

Searching for the lost language

失传的语言

The new language never did take over. The forces that brought an end to Chinook Wawa were numerous: smallpox and other epidemics decimated the First Nations populations; residential boarding schools for First Nations children destroyed much of the indigenous culture that was left; and the new government brought institutionalised racism, establishing English as the dominant culture and language. Not long after, the young men who used Chinook Wawa to talk, sing and joke were called off to World War One.

英语没有完全取代奇努克混合语;奇努克混合语时代的终结有诸多因素:天花和其他流行病大大减少原住民人口;原住民寄宿学校使得大部分土著文化失传;新政府引入了建制化的种族主义因素,使英语成为主宰性的文化和语言。不久之后一战爆发,能使用奇努克混合语交谈、唱歌、说笑的年轻人被征召上了战场。

By 1962, it is estimated the remaining Chinook Wawa speakers numbered only 100.

到1962年,会说奇努克混合语的人已经不到100人。

But the language left a mark. When I started to research the musical sounding words I recalled from my childhood, Powell cautioned me that it was important to get the story of Chinook Wawa right.

但这种语言不是什么都没留下。 在我打算从我的童年记忆中搜索,寻找和研究一些拟声词时,鲍威尔提醒我,需要正确认识奇努克混合语的影响。

“There’s nothing transcendent about Chinook Wawa,” he said. “Because it’s part of our history, it enriches our present. That’s all.”

他说:“没必要说的那么神乎其神。它不过就是我们历史的一部分,丰富了我们当下的生活,就这么简单。”

But former Vancouver mayor, and self-taught Chinook Wawa speaker, Sam Sullivan, says the language helped shape what British Columbia became. “We were a new kind of place ­– and it was reflected in the egalitarian language we’d created together. We had a mixed-race governor, James Douglas, who was married to a First Nations woman. Their daughter Martha spoke and wrote in Chinook Wawa.”

但温哥华市前市长萨利文(Sam Sullivan)不这么认为。他通过自学能说奇努克混合语。他表示,没有这种语言,就没有不列颠哥伦比亚省今天的成就。他说:“我们是在一块新的土地上,原住民先辈和殖民者先辈所共同创造的语言就是最好的证据。”不列颠哥伦比亚省原省长道格拉斯(James Douglas)有原住民血统,他的妻子是原住民,他们的女儿玛莎(Martha)从小就说奇努克混合语。

By learning and teaching Chinook Wawa, Sullivan hopes to recapture and understand some of the forces that first created the province. “It’s the best artefact we have to prove that we didn’t start as a racist place,” he told me.

萨利文希望,人们能重新学习和传授奇努克混合语,借此可以重新发现和领会先辈们创造加拿大不列颠哥伦比亚省时那些力量。他说:“不列颠哥伦比亚省从来就是个种族平等的地方,而奇努克混合语就是我们和睦相处的产物。”

Today, some of the last traces of Chinook Wawa can be found in our landscape. As I visit sites, many in what would be called ‘the sticks’, or forest, in Chinook Wawa, I’m brought back to early memories of my family heading out on the saltchuck to fish for halibut or salmon. I’m not sure when I learned the steel-blue ocean, with its white-shell midden beaches and misty forests, is only called the saltchuck in the Pacific Northwest – and even then only by old-timers. But I do know when I hear the word it conjures a feeling of rugged self-sufficiency and a particular scent of brine.

如今,我们山水之间还能找到奇努克混合语的一些最后留存的踪迹。每当我走访这些“斯缇可斯”(森林)时,我的思绪就会被带到很久以前,回忆起当时全家人去“盐恰克”(大海)里钓大比目鱼和三文鱼的日子。我已经忘记是什么时候才知道,只有濒太平洋西北地区的老一辈人才会用“盐恰克”这个词来称呼这片蔚蓝的大海,以及海边洒落镶嵌着贝壳的沙滩,还有那云雾缭绕的森林了。但我记得,每当我听到这三个字时,就能闻到海水的咸味和随之而来的那股强烈的自我满足感。

Like many First Nations place names, Chinook Wawa names typically translate to simple descriptions. But some of them feel like mysteries. At Cultus Lake, I pondered what it was about the popular recreational site that once caused the lake to be named ‘bad’ or ‘worthless’. When I exited a winding trail above Siwash Rock in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, I couldn’t help but wonder who gave the dramatic sea stack a name derived from the French term for wild (sauvage), a word that went on to become a derogatory term for indigenous people.

与许多原住民地区的地名一样,奇努克混合语区的地名基本能用简单的英语来翻译, 但有的地名翻译过来后令人感到神秘。比如,卡特尔斯湖这个名字,曾让我冥思苦想了很久,不明白为什么有人会把这样一个度假胜地命名为“坏地方”或“不值得一去之处”。而当我身处温哥华斯坦利公园,为西沃许岩石上蜿蜒的纹路感叹时,便忍不住会想,到底是谁给这块海蚀石起了这样的名字:这个词来源于法语的“野蛮”(sauvage),后来演变成对原住民的蔑称。

The powerful Skookumchuck makes sense to me. But the historical gold rush town of Boston Bar has nothing to do with Boston or a bar, and instead means Americans sought gold on this section of the Fraser River, as most fur trade-era Americans were Boston traders. At Mowich Creek, when I think I catch sight of one of the deer it was named for, I feel for a moment the echoes of whoever came before me and named this tiny Pemberton Valley trickle of water.

理解斯库坎恰峡谷为何得名并不困难。但历史悠久的淘金小镇波士顿吧,却跟波士顿或者酒吧都扯不上关系。原来,在奇努克混合语中,它的意思是指在弗雷泽河一带淘金的美国人,因为毛皮贸易时代大多数和原住民做交易的美国商人都来自波士顿。在莫维驰河,我脑补了看到一只以莫维驰河命名的鹿(莫维驰鹿)的画面,恍惚间听到有一个声音,这个声音把这个山谷命名为“彭伯顿”(溪流)。

“People say how romantic our place names sound, and are always disappointed when I tell them they’re descriptions that mean ‘big water’, ‘shaped like a hummingbird beak’, or ‘purple flowers grow here’,” said Erik Blaney a business owner and tour operator from the Tla'amin First Nation. He tells me that people are always after a story; “something with a great creator or full moon.”

博拉尼(Erik Blaney)在塔拉明原住民区掌管着一家旅游公司。他说:“总有人说这些地方的名字浪漫至极,但每当我告诉他们,这些名字其实就是奇努克混合语里的‘大水’、‘蜂鸟形状的东西’或是‘这里有紫色的花’时,他们的神情就会凝重起来。”他告诉我,游客们听完之后,会觉得奇努克语“是上帝创造的,充满魔力”。

Blaney does believe the old names have power though, and that they should be understood. “Knowing a place had a name before it was ever ‘discovered’ should be enough to see it in a new way. The name lets people experience a connection to the land from another point of view.”

博拉尼确实相信奇努克语地名有一种魔力,也认为人们应该知道里面的含义。“知道这些地方在被‘发现’以前已有地名,为我们提供了理解这些地方的全新角度。这些地名往往让人耳目一新,能感受到与土地的情感交集。”

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