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Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:17 am

• wampumpeag •

Pronunciation: wahm-pêm-peeg • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: Beads made from shells and used by the Algonquian tribes as money for trade at the time the first Europeans arrived in Massachusetts; usually shortened to wampum in English.

Notes: Today's word was used widely by early settlers in New England but later it was cut into wampum and peag, which were used with the same meaning as the original. A similar currency of less value, called roanoke, was used by the Native Americans in Virginia. Roanoke today is a lovely city of about 92,000 people located in central Virginia.

In Play: It is difficult to believe that the first settlers in the North American colonies used the monetary system of the Native Americans. Since they traded so much with Native Americans, and initially had no means of securing printed money, Article 154 of the General Laws of Massachusetts of 1643 reads as follows: "Wampampeag shall pass currant in the payment of Debts, to the payment of forty shillings, the white at eight a penny, the black at four, so as they be entire without breaches or deforming spots."

Word History: Wampumpeag came from one of the Algonquian languages, probably Abnaki. The original was probably *wampampiak "white beads". This supposition is based on the existence of related words such as Abnaki wambambiar "string of beads" and Delaware wapapi "white wampum". The word is a compound of two elements, *wamp- "white", *ampi "bead", and the Algonquin plural ending -ag. The division of the word into wampum and peag resulted from Europeans misanalyzing the compound under the influence of English syllable structure.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:37 am

and the Algonquin plural ending -ag.

Amazing. This really reminds me of Basque plural ending -ak: gizon (man), gizona (the/a man), gizonak (the men).

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Postby Apoclima » Wed Nov 23, 2005 7:03 pm

p.39 The yearly voyage of as many as 10,000 European fishermen to the Grand Banks vastly outnumbered early colonists, and long preceded the “official” discoveries. Thus at Tadoussac, Cartier was met by Montagnais offering furs to trade (already an established practice) and a Basque-Algonquian pidgin trading language (pp.40, 65) existed by the early 1500s. It could be compared to Chinook jargon on the West Coast.

Glossary of pre-1867 Canadian history

This same Basque script was also employed by the Cree Indians well into the nineteenth century. It was not known to be related to Basque until Fell transliterated into Latin consonants a document written in this "Indian" script. The document had been sent to him by a Basque etymologist who had been unable to decipher it. When it was transliterated, the Basque scholar recognized it as a pre-Roman dialect of the Basque tongue, one which was still in use in the medieval period.(39) Some of the words are virtually the same in both the Algonquin and ancient Basque tongues.(40)

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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Nov 23, 2005 7:37 pm

Wow, my comment was the work of pure genius (and serendipity as well).

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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:12 pm

Well, they say evolution is just a theory....


PS : By the way, Apoclima/Apo/Sitran, welcome back to the Agora ! Your absence has been noted and you've been missed !...
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