National Geographic : 1897 Jan
20 ALL AROUND THE BAY OF PASSAMAQUODDY topographic names, Leland's suggestion induced me, while study ing the dialect, to listen to the opinions of capable Indians when I requested them to interpret a series of these names. Many interpretations thus obtained were so crude and ungrammatic that they could not be sustained for a moment; but the majority of those resting on a correct linguistic basis disclosed the fact that they are mostly compound nouns and combinations either of two substantives or of an adjective and a substantive, with the substantive standing last. In the first case, the noun stand ing first is sometimes connected with the noun standing second by the case-suffix i, as in Edu'ki m'ni'ku, Deer island,from edik, deer. The local names around the bay mostly refer to the watery element, for the terms beach, sand-bar, cliff, rocky shore, island, headland, point, bay and cove, current and confluence make up almost the whole terminology of the region. The frequent end ing -k (-ak, -Yk, -6k, -fik) sometimes marks the plural of a noun considered as animate, but more frequently it is the locative case ending observed in all Algonkinian dialects under various forms. This case-suffix corresponds minutely to our prepositions at, in, on, upon, at the place or spot of. It also obtains in the Penobscot and Milicite dialects; but in the southwest corner of Maine occur a number of geographic names in -et, -it, -ot, which approximates the dialect in which they originate to that of Massachusetts and of Eliot's Bible. So we meet there with names like Abadasset, Harriseekit, Manset, Millinoket, Ogunquit, Pejepscot (Sheepscot), Webhannet, and Wiscasset. The name Penobscot cannot be ad duced here, for its original form in that dialect is PanawAmpskek, "where the conical rocks are." The Iadian names of elevations, rivers, and localities are in this article spelt in a scientific alphabet in which the vowels possess the value of and are pronounced as they are in the lan guages of the European continent.* To readers it will soon ap pear how inconsistently the Indian names were rendered by the American and British natives in their pronunciation and how often parts of them were dropped entirely. These Indian names are generally easy to pronounce for Americans; still, Algonkin ian dialects have a tendency to drop vowels when standing be tween consonants at the beginning of words. This causes a peculiar difficulty of utterance, and makes some of them unpro nounceable to a majority of English-speaking people. *g is always hard and a has the sound of a in bucket.