'iswet

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Cahuilla[edit]

Etymology[edit]

'isill (coyote) +‎ -wet (big)

Noun[edit]

'íswet

  1. A large carnivore, either a wolf or a jaguar

Usage notes[edit]

  • This animal has not been seen in Cahuilla territory within living memory, but is still important in old stories. Some translate this as mountain lion, but the word is related to 'isill (coyote), and there is already a word for mountain lion (tukwet) related in the same way to tukut (bobcat). In two checklists by naturalist C. Hart Merriam from field interviews, "Jaguar" is written in by hand. [1], in the second one, 'Jaguar ("Tiger")'[2]. Jaguars are known to have formerly lived in California, so it's possible that an inherited word for wolf and the stories connected with it were transferred to another large carnivore in the absence of real wolves.

References[edit]

  1. ^ C. Hart Merriam; Frank Albers ((Can we date this quote?)), Robert F. Heizer, editor, C. Hart Merriam papers relating to work with California Indians, 1850-1974. (bulk 1898-1938)[1], Schedule 106: Field Check Lists: Pow´-we Cahuilla: Cahuilla Valley: Frank Albers, June 1, 1933, (full blood), page 191
  2. ^ C. Hart Merriam ((Can we date this quote?)), Robert F. Heizer, editor, C. Hart Merriam papers relating to work with California Indians, 1850-1974. (bulk 1898-1938)[2], Schedule 106: Field Check Lists: "Cahuilla"=Pow´-we-am: Cahuilla Valley, Calif.: June 1910, June 1933, 1934, page 221