Alki and West Seattle
What does alki or “al-ki” mean?
- Al-ki, adv. (C) (Chinook, –alekh).
- In the future; by and by; after a while; soon; presently; directly; in a little while; hold on; not so fast. The sign of the future tense, shall or will. The days of the week, and the number of weeks, months and years are also used to designate the tenses. –Eells.
- Nika kumtuks, – I understand. Nika kumtuks alta, – I understand now. Nika kumtuks ahnkuttie, – I understood; I understood some time ago. Nika kumtuks alki, – I will understand; I will understand by and by; I will understand after a while. This indicates the manner of indicating tense, that is, indicating time. –Buchanan.
- — Shaw, George, The Chinook Jargon and How to Use It: A Complete and Exhaustive Lexicon of the Oldest Trade Language of the American Continent. Seattle: Rainier Printing Co., 1909.
- A as in at; i as in kick; accent –al– and pronounce Al–kie with the last syllable short, just exactly as though you started to say “kick” and only got as far as “ki–.”
- The word means the future, any time in the future from “in a moment” to a “thousand, thousand years from now.” The length of time in-the-future is indicated by using the word in a slow, drawling way to mean “in a little while,” and further lengthening the indicated time by prefixing first. “Tenas” (little) then by discarding “Tenas” and using “Delate” (much) as a prefix, then by drawing out the word “Delate” by holding the syllable –a– (exactly as used with ahncuttie, to indicate length of time past) and then by adding “Hiyu” (many) as a prefix to “Delate,” and then by drawing out the syllable –hi– of “hiyu,” and last by drawing out all three words (e.g., ahncuttie) which gives the meaning of the farthest possible future time. The word means exactly the opposite of ahncuttie and its future time value is indicated in exactly the same way by the same prefix words used in the same way with both time words – Alki, time to come; Ahncuttie, time already gone by.
- Alki nika chaco, – By and bye I come. Tenas alki mika klatawa, – In a little while he (will) go. Delate alki mika nanage, – In a long time you will see (it). Hiyu delate alki, – (It will be) a long long (very long) time (yet). Hi i i u dela a a te a a a a lki, – A very great long-time-in-the-future. (Perhaps a hundred years from now). Wake alki. – Not long (yet). Alki mika iskum. – By and bye I (will) get (it).
- — Phillips, W.S. (Walter Shelley) (“el comancho”), The Chinook book; A Descriptive Analysis of the Chinook Jargon in Plain Words, Giving Instructions for Pronunciation, Construction, Expression and Proper Speaking of Chinook with All the Various Shaded Meanings of the Words. Seattle: R.L. Davis Printing Co., 1913.