Nettie Rossig audio

The following is a transcript of an audio recording archived at UC Berkeley's California Language Archive (you must agree to the terms of use to download audio). For convenience, the recording has been divided into individual audio clips on this page.

Download a PDF copy of this transcript.


0. Introduction

[(linguist) Karl Teeter:] Wiyot, spoken by Mrs. Nettie Rossig, Eureka, CaliforniaThis word list was recorded on June 26, 1956. Teeter's notes say that she was 80 years old at the time of this interview.

1. Baduwat

Mad River

2. voupul

redwood logAlso pronounced voupul, and sometimes given as the name for the tree as well (not just a log).

3. pi’dughurragilh

blackberryLiterally means "it is sour".

4. vou’gul

huckleberryAlso pronounced mou'gul or wou'gul

5. boukshughutsguqi’

thimbleberryAccording to Reichard (1922), this word means roughly "little thing that sits upside down".

6. viqhul

salal berryAlso pronounced vi'qhul or miqhul.

7. kunabulilh

grizzly bearLiterally means "he bites".

8. maqh

grizzly bearAlso pronounced vaqh. Variously translated as "bear", "black bear", and "grizzly bear". (There are other words that specifically refer to black bear and grizzly bear).

9. me’luqh

elkAlso pronounced ve'luqh

10. bushdou’l


11. valhuk

salmonAlso pronounced malhuk; literally means "feasting".

12. vatsuk

little girl

13. tsurarilh

young woman, teenaged girl

14. vachur

girlAlso pronounced machur.

15. burratun, burratu’n


16. vulirr

eyeAlso pronounced wulirr.

17. mupt

tooth, teethAlso pronounced vupt or wupt.

18. balh


19. voul

houseAlso pronounced moul, and occasionally woul.

20. vutsitgughulh

chairAccording to Reichard's (1922) notes, this literally means "something to put sitter on". Other pronunciations: sitghaghelh or rrutsitgughulh.

21. vutseshura’wulh

mortar stone, acorn pounding stoneTeeter's (ca. 1956) notes say this means "what you put down bottom" (i.e., it's under the thing you are grinding); Reichard's (1922) notes translate it as "what we pound on".

22. mus

fireAlso pronounced vus (or less frequently, mes, ves, wus, or wes).

23. vadi’

wood, firewood, tree(s)Also pronounced madi'.

24. mun

oarAlso pronounced men or ven.

25. vurraji’

waterLiterally means "what is drunk".

26. bitwu’lilh

basket plate

27. tigha’ri’

troutMany, many plants and animals have more than one name in Wiyot (see item 28 below).

28. buditgane’lu’

troutMany, many plants and animals have more than one name in Wiyot (see item 27 above).

29. vi’wurr

smokeAlso pronounced mi'wurr or ve'wurr.

30. melh

axeAlso pronounced velh.

31. be’l


32. vulouyuva’w


33. mus ya rraqh

redLiterally means "looks like flame" or "flame-colored".

34. Wigi

Humboldt Bay

35. Giloulh

Eel River

36. Wiyat

Eel River

37. wanaqh


38. wa’gul


39. we’daw


40. wough

hollow weed, cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum)Teeter asks Ms. Rossig for the word meaning "sweet root", but she gives him the word for "hollow weed" instead.

41. wulh

Indian "potato" with blue flowers

42. witgalh


43. waturrou’righu’ru’

skunkLiterally means "one whose behind stinks", according to Teeter's (ca. 1956) notes.

44. wuledat

razorback clam

45. we’s


46. wutvut


47. we’sagh

five (5)Literally means "one side (-sagh) of a hand (we's)".

48. wagulhat

pepperwood tree (California bay laurel)The ending -ulhat means "tree" or "bush", so this word literally means "peppernut tree" (see wa'gul, no. 38 above).

49. wit


50. wurrulaqh


51. qule walaqh

this morningLiterally "here morning" (walaqh = "morning").

52. diqa'

white man

53. diqa’ mutsa’wu’lhu’l

a kind of fernReichard (1922) says mutsawulh means "something to cut meat or fish on", so this word literally means "white man's thing to cut meat or fish on".

54. wuda du’tighusurru’ni’lu’

cowLiterally means "what you get milk out of with your hands". 

55. duqht

cottontail rabbit

56. duqh

pitch(Refers to a tar-like resin, such as from pine trees.)

57. rrana’lha’webulougilh

jackrabbitLiterally means "his ears are long".

58. wouda’ dishgiqagilh

quailLiterally means, "the one who talks about dead people". This is based on a traditional taboo about mentioning the dead directly; the quail's call is said to sound like the phrase "your mother lives," which if referring to someone's mother who had passed away, would have been a major taboo. (See item 105 below.)

59. dayughu’lu’

whaleAccording to Reichard's (1922) notes, this word literally means "behind has no hole, smooth; it has no opening where one should be"; Teeter (ca. 1964) agrees it means "no hole behind".

60. tgibus

small red crabs

61. tigha’ri’


62. tsharr


63. joumashk

(land) snail, slug
Also pronounced joumashk. There is a different word for sea snails (voukt).

64. tsoutsgish


65. jougi’chuchk


66. tighurrilh

young man

67. tsurarilh

young woman

68. tsek

child, children

69. diqa’

white man

70. duturr


71. krrutgaduwilh


72. duklhulouk

six (6)

73. tshanats

spoonLiterally means "little mussel shell" (from the word tsharr "mussel"), because women's spoons were made from mussel shells (see this photo of a ceremonial mussel shell spoon).

74. toul


75. tsgroulhighurru’ru’

black bearLiterally means "small-eyed one". 

76. ta’murr

moonAlso used to mean "sun" or "clock"; usually pronounced ta'm.

77. shou’r

beach, coast, ocean

78. dini luga’

east, inland

79. yi da’sh

my father / my son

80. yi douk

my sister / my brother / my sibling

81. Duwa vulali’yum?

Where are you going?

82. rra’chuchk


83. rrouwutvut

my head

84. rri’durr

two (2)

85. rrikurr

three (3)

86. rriya’wurr

four (4)

87. rrak jach

upriverLiterally "toward upriver"; rrak = "toward/in the direction of", and jach = "upriver". Wik jach means "from upriver" (wik = "from the direction of").

88. rralitguk

go in the mountainsThis word may just mean "in the mountains/in the hills".

89. rrak vou’r

northLiterally "toward the north"; "from the north" would be wik vou'r. (The word for "shark" is also pronounced vou'r, but as far as I know it is unrelated to "north".)

90. rrak hut

southLiterally "toward the south"; "from the south" would be wik hut.

91. lashk

strawberrySome speakers pronounced this word lash (without the final -k).

92. lalilh

riverLiterally means "it goes along".

93. lughulhiswulh

hazel brush, hazel bush

94. lupda’w


95. lhuch

woodratAlso pronounced lhech.

96. lha’wirou’wulh

sewing needleReichard (1922) says this means "what you use to pick out briars", but I am not convinced this is correct. A traditional needle made from a deer rib bone, used for making tule mats, is called paklh.

97. siswayuplhi’

an edible seaweedLiterally "black hairlike thing".

98. shi’rouki’

old woman

99. siswaqi’

maidenhair fernLiterally "black-stemmed".

100. Soulatluk

Wiyot languageLiterally "our jaw"; also used by some speakers as the name of the Wiyot people.

101. shagha’duw

gill net

102. gatsura


103. kunubulilh

grizzly bearLiterally means "he bites".

104. wuda’ dishgiqagilh

quailLiterally means, "the one who talks about dead people". This is based on a traditional taboo about mentioning the dead directly; the quail's call is said to sound like the phrase "your mother lives," which if referring to someone's mother who had passed away, would have been a major taboo. (See item 105 below.)

105. Kuga daqh.

"Your mother lives." (what the quail says)This is what the quail's call is said to sound like. Traditionally, it was a major taboo to directly mention a person who had passed away, so one of the names for quail means "the one who talks about dead people" (see items 58 & 104 above).

106. sukseswilh

otterAccording to Reichard (1922), this literally means "he takes an ugly mouthful".

107. gou’murr

minkPossibly related to the verb goumurr, meaning "to be soft".

108. goumayoulilh

sea lionLiterally means "swims around", or perhaps more accurately, "turns around and around swimming".

109. wa’shuqe’yu’

a dead whale

110. kimuk

whaleAlso pronounced kemuk. In this recording, Teeter says this word refers to the whale when it is being cut up; however, several speakers gave this as a general word for "whale".

111. gou’daw

eel (Pacific lamprey)

112. gutvay’

a small edible clam

113. quqh


114. gouwi’


115. kagurrawi’wilh

womanOne of several words for "woman"; this one means "she wears a dress".

116. gaqilh

old manLiterally means "one who knows", i.e. a wise man. The word for Creator or God is Datrri Gaqilh, meaning "Above Old Man" or (literally) "Above-One-Who-Knows".

117. vuloul

mouthAlso pronounced veloul or wuloul, and also used to refer to a hole.

118. gou’tsurr

one (1)

119. gi’mila’ghulh

cupAlso pronounced givula'ghulh, gimulaghulh, giwulagulh. Literally means "what is used to dip with", and also refers to a woven basketry dipper.

120. ga’muk


121. kaluwou’

large basket

122. kughu’ba’y

pipeCurtin (1889) says this word refers to a pipe made of stone. Teeter (ca. 1956) says it literally means "hold in your mouth".

123. kuvalh

willowAlso pronounced kuwalh, and translated by Reichard (1925) as "dusky-leaved willow" and "willow (gray leaves) used for open wicker basket".

124. goulilhuqi’

lightningAlso pronounced hilhuk, helhuk, or dulilhuk.

125. gouwuli’


126. huruwulhari’


127. gou qupshoul

covered up

128. gawu siswek

duskLiterally "it starts to get dark".

129. gou kou’nurr


130. giyaw


131. Giloulh

Eel River

132. gou boutsurouy

a whistle

133. gachvayichanuwilh

handkerchiefBoth Reichard and Teeter say this word means roughly "what is used to wipe one's nose".

134. halhuqh


135. hout

surf fish

136. hiwa’gulughutk

cockleLiterally means "large and round".

137. houlhi’

horse clamAlso translated as "bay clam" or just "clam".

138. hiwat


139. hanouna’si’

snakeAlso pronounced halou'na'si', and literally means "crawls/slithers along". 

140. ha’rich

snakeAlso pronounced ha'rech. Reichard (1925) says it refers to garter snakes.

141. kagurrawi'wilh

womanOne of several words for "woman"; this one means "she wears a dress".

142. humoutwilh

womanThis word refers to the traditional "apron" or front skirt worn by women, called moutw or voutw.

143. halou'wi'

canoe, boatLiterally means "it comes along".

144. hou'l


145. halat


146. hiqh

snowAlso pronounced heqh. Two other words are also pronounced hiqh or heqh: one means "head louse/lice", and the other means "deerskin cape" or "buckskin/deerskin/animal hide".

147. gouruwulha'

daylightSee item 159 below for what is probably a more complete pronunciation of this word.

148. wu'daw

salmonberryAlso pronounced we'daw.

149. bushdou'l


150. we'sagh

five (5)Literally means "one side (-sagh) of a hand (we's)".

151. we's


152. gou'murr

minkPossibly related to the verb goumurr, meaning "to be soft".

153. vi'wurr

smokeAlso pronounced mi'wurr or ve'wurr.

154. rriya'wurr

four (4)

155. gou kou'nurr


156. tsharr


157. vulirr

eyeAlso pronounced wulirr.

158. rri'durr

two (2)

159. gouruwulha'r


160. burratu’n

babyReichard (1925) says this refers to a baby in a basket (see item 161 below).

161. burratu’nuwe’

baby basket
Also pronounced burratunuwe'l.