Thursday, June 21, 2007

Moose Jaw!

Well we arrived in great time so are relaxing a little. Yesterday we got to go for a swim as we stopped early as we both wanted to do the same thing, play guitar! I finished another song so that's now 3 new tunes that I have written on this tour. Moose Jaw is a cute little town, the nicest we have been in for a long time. We have another interview with CBC in a little while which should be fun. The Cafe in Moose is a sweet little spot so it should be a fun show tomorrow. The sun has been giving us what for after all the complaining we did about the rain so I will just burn with a smile on my face.

Peace and sunshine to all today!

PS can anyone tell me why this town is called Moose Jaw?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Following is an excerpt from the Town of Moose Jaw website.

The Name Moose Jaw
The following is an excerpt from a letter received July 15, 2003 from
Arok Wolvengrey
Assistant Professor
Department of Indian Languages
Literatures and Linguistics
First Nations University of Canada (formerly known as the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College ).

I would like to summarize our view on the linguistic origins of the name Moose Jaw, which we believe are to be found in the original Cree name for the area in which the City of Moose Jaw is situated. As you are aware, there are many stories behind the origin of the name, all adding to the colourful history of the City of Moose Jaw. From a linguistic standpoint, however, there are two main possible sources that we must consider.

The first is the current and most common Cree name for the City of Moose Jaw, and that has, as found on the city's coat of arms, been written as "Moosoochapiskun". This spelling is an English attempt to represent a Cree word, mōsocāpiskan,written here in the standard roman orthography (SRO), but quite similar in actual pronunciation [MOH so TSAA pis GUN] to the English attempt. The "c" in Cree spelling represents a sound which varies between the "ts" sound in cats and the "ch" or "tch" sound in catch, but never the "s" or "k" sounds in circus. This word, mōsocāpiskan,is in fact the literal Cree translation for "moose jaw", which leads to two possibilities for its origin. Either it is the original Cree name for the area, in which case we must search through Cree oral history for the reason for such a name, or the current Cree name is merely a translation from the English name back into Cree. We are not yet aware of any Cree term "sparrow grass" for asparagus, where -gus becomes grass merely due to similarity but not identity of sound and the common association with plant life of both grass and asparagus.

What these examples illustrate is the exact process by which the Cree name moscāstani-sīpiy was adopted into English as " Moose Jaw ". The name is, then, a folk etymology based solely on the sound of the first two syllables of the Cree name, thus explaining how a name meaning “warm breezes" can be "translated" into English as "Moose Jaw". The actual translation has only come in reverse, with the English name Moose Jaw now commonly known as mō socā piskan [MOH so TSAA pis GUN] to speakers of Cree today. [Note, in fact, that this name too could be seen as a possible sound-source for Moose Jaw if the first two prominent syllables [MOH s(o) TSAA] are considered. However, this would not explain the introduction of "warm breezes" as a translation at any time.]