Archive for December, 2006

Chinlac

Friday, December 8th, 2006


Stephen Hume’s column in today’s Vancouver Sun briefly discusses Chinlac, the site of the Carrier village destroyed in a Chilcotin raid around 1755. Here is a little more information. Chinlac is an English rendering of a Carrier word. The Carrier name is Chunlak in the usual Carrier writing system, tʃʌnlak in the International Phonetic Alphabet. In the Carrier syllabics it is written ᙝᐣᘧᐟ. The vowel of the first syllable is like that of English “chuck”.

chunlak is a contraction of the phrase duchun nidulak ᑐᙝᐣ ᘆᑐᘧᐟ “wood floats to a terminus”, which describes the way in which driftwood accumulates in the shallows beneath the village site, where one can still see the remains of the weir.

Incidentally, another place in which Chinlac has recently received some attention is the web site associated with the best-selling pseudohistorical book 1421, whose linguistic arguments I have criticized here and here. With their usual incompetence the 1421 people get much of what they say wrong. There were thirteen lodges at Chinlac, not seven, and it was excavated in the early 1950s, not the 1990s.