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Notes on the Shoshonean Dialects of Southern California, by A. L. Kroeber, [1909], at


Two Cahuilla vocabularies were obtained, one from Antonio Martinez at Cabezon in the desert, the other from Jose Miguel at Banning. The former represents the dialect of the Colorado desert, the latter the dialect of San Gorgonio Pass and Palm Springs. Antonio Martinez has an unusually clear enunciation. Jose Miguel is from Agua Caliente, the hot springs of Warner's ranch, where the dialect of that name, somewhat different from both Cahuilla and Luiseño, is spoken. He has lived long at Banning, and appears to speak Cahuilla with more readiness than his closely related native speech. The difference between the desert and the Banning dialects of Cahuilla is scarcely perceptible. The only word found in which the two distinctly differ was the example chosen by Jose Miguel to illustrate the diversity: no, which is ki’i in the desert and qowa in the pass. A number

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of words in the desert dialect show the sound ny, as naxanyic, man. In the Banning vocabulary this ny is always replaced by n; but it is not certain whether this difference is dialectic or due to individual peculiarities of the informants. In the following list the first word of each meaning is from the desert, the second from the pass. Where only one word is given, the form is either alike in both dialects or the word was obtained only in the desert.


Five, namu-qwan-añ; six, qwan-supli; seven, qon-wi’; eight, qon-pa’; nine, qon-witcu, or qon-witciw‘; eleven, peta-supli; twelve, peta-wi‘; etc.; sixteen, peta-qwan-supli; twenty, wis namitcumi; twenty-one, wis namitcumi peta-supli; thirty, pas namitcumi; forty, witcius namitcumi; fifty to ninety, namugwanañes, kwansuplis, qonwis, qonpas, qonwitcius namitcumi; one hundred, supli pisetiwenit.

Man, naxanyic, naxanic; woman, nyitcil, nitcil; boy, qeat, kiat, plural, qiqitam; girl, ñawicmal; girl at puberty, elka; young man, eqwacmal (cf. Luiseño aqwalimai, baby); old man, naxaluwil; old woman, nyicluwil, nicluwil; person, taxliswit, people, taxliswitcem; whites—Spanish-speaking, tciatcem, American, melkitcem.

My father, ne-na; my mother, ni-ye; my son, ne-mailyoa; my daughter, ne-suñama; my elder brother, ne-pas; my younger brother, ne-yul; my elder sister, ne-qic; my younger sister, ne-nawail.

Head, hair, yuluka, nu-yuluka; skull, yuluka-kavoma; forehead, wi’i, ne-wi’i; ear, naq’a, ne-naq’a; eye, he-puc, ne-puc; eyebrows, yul-sev-em; eyelashes, puc-tcavay-am; nose, he-mu, ne-mu; mouth, lip, teeth, tam’a, no-tam’a; tongue, he-nañ, ne-nañ; beard, yul-tamam, ne-yul-tamum (hair-mouth); chin, eyewoka; neck, qily’i, ne-qily’i; throat, quspi; arm, hand, he-ma’, ne-ma’; elbow, puviam, ne-puvium; nail, sal’u, ne-sal’o; belly, tii; breast, he-tau‘, he-tawh, ne-tau; back, husa; back-bone, hululu; ribs, tcawaa; shoulder, sek’a; collarbone, qawinaxa; leg, foot, he’-i, ne’-i; knee, tam’i, ne-tam’i; ankle, he’-i qawa; hip, pakiwa; bone, te’i, plural te’il, ne-te’i; heart, he-sun, ne-sun; liver, nem’a, ne-nem’a; lungs, yavaiwa; kidney, pipiviskun; intestines, sai; brain, yuxosxo; fat, he-wi; fat person, a fat one, wi-k; milk, he-pily; skin, sav’a; blood ("of a person"), he-ewh, he’-ew‘, ne-ew; "much blood," ew‘-il.

Chief, net, kik; shaman, pul; rich, mexana-k; poor, sunsunik’a.

House, kic; my house, ne-ki; houses, kikic; sweat-house, huyetcat; knife, iron, dukvac (sky); road, pit.

Sky, iron, dukvac, dukmatbic; sun, tamiat, damiat; moon, menyil, menil; star, suwet, stars, suwet-em; night, dukmiat; day, hatiwenet, damet-pik; thunder, memla qalet; "thunder strikes," pipivan qalet; lightning, tauwal; rainbow, piaxtem; meteor, ñamñam; large low meteor, living on San Jacinto mountain, dakuc; comet, suwet he-qwasqa (star its-tail); fog, paxic, baxic; rain, wewinyic, wewunic; snow, ice, yuyat; hail, tevaxalem; fire, kut, gut; smoke, miat; steam, mululkal; ash, nisxic; coal, dul; water, pal, bal; ocean,

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pal setaxat (water "salty"), or pal nukat (water "made"); stream, wanyic, wanic; lake, pal muyiwenet; spring, pal piskalet (water emerging); well, walinat; earth, temal, demal; earthquake, temal ñilyiac; sand, ñatcic; rock, qawic; mountain, mumawet; cliffs, large rocks, hawayat; salt, iñil; alkali, luñayil.

Wood, tree, qelawat, gelawat; grass, brush, samat; mesquite, menyikic; screw mesquite, qwinyal; cottonwood, lavalvaanat; willow, saxat; tree yucca, panuul; chia (sage seeds), pasal; species of seeds, seic, butcil.

Dog, awal; bear, hunwet; wolf, iswet; coyote, isil; deer, sukat; antelope, tenil, plural, tenl-am; horse (probably originally elk), pa-sukat (water-deer? On Cahuilla reservation, in the mountains, the Spanish caballo is used for horse); mountain-sheep, baat; panther, dukwet; wild-cat, dukut; fox, wilyal; skunk, tekwil; badger, hunal; jackrabbit, suic; rabbit, tavut, tevit-em; ground-squirrel, qiñic; rat, qawil.

Bird, wik’ikmal, plural, wik’ikmaily-am; eagle, aswit; condor, yuñawivut; buzzard, yuñawi-c; species of hawk, qwaal, kisil, gaukuc; owl, mut; ground-owl, ququl; raven, alwat; crows, alwamaily-am; blackbirds, paxantcim; dove, maxivit or maxayil; road-runner, puic; ducks, xanamo-im (cf. Mohave, hanemo, duck); hummingbird, dutcil.

Rattlesnake, sewet; gopher-snake, bukawet; milk-snake, palokol; large red snake, tataxul; lizard, mulyak, tcaxul-am; turtle, ayil; frog, toad, waxatcil; fish, kiyul.

Fly, a’awat; species of spiders, xwalxwal, kuituk; tarantula, qweyexevac; bees, sasañ-em; yellow-jacket, kumsexwet; worms, sivuyal-em; large ants, ant-em; small ants, kuvucnily-am; fleas, mukatc-em; lice, qo-am.

White, tewie-neck’c; black, tul-nekic (dul, coal); red, sel-nekic; yellow, teset-nekic; green, blue, tukwic-nekic (dukvac, sky); large, amnawat; small, little, inyis, inyic-il; good, atca-i; it is well, atca-m; bad, elelkwic.

I, ne; thou, e; we, tcemem; ye, emem; this, iv’i; that, he, pe; those, they, pe-em; here, ipa’; there, peña; much, metewet; who, haxi; to-day, iv’ax; yesterday, tuku, duku; tomorrow, tulekaan, paiba; far, xawun; near, suntci; yes, hè’; it is well, atcam; no, ki’i (in desert), qowa (in San Gorgonio pass).

Eat, wayaki; I will eat, hen-wayek-nik; I have eaten, aina-wayaki; hunger, qwalyipic nemok; drink, pa; thirst, takotpic nemuk; run, peniwa-ka; dance, hen-tceñen-ka; sing, hen-taxmu-ka; sleep, en-kup-ka, kup-e, kup-le, kup-le-wet; kill, meka; dead, mukic; alive, mo-ne-hyukal; sit, ne-hiukyal; sit down, nyatce; stand, tawic-nik; I will lie down, ipantatcawe-nik; gamble, hen-tuxpi-ka, malis-wik; cry, hen-ñan-ik; shout, hen-wai-ka; jump, hen-pepotcax-ka; fly, hen-hiñ-ik; hit with stick, pelwuk-ik; hit with hand, pen-katcin-ka; give, e-max-ik; give me, ne-max-ai.

Velar sounds are readily distinguished from forward k sounds in Cahuilla, though not uttered with the forcible or spirant quality which they often tend to possess in other languages. Glottal stops occur both after final vowels, such as -ma’, hand, between vowels, as in te’i, bone, and after consonants preceding

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a vowel, such as tam’a, tooth. A final aspirated u or w was observed several times. Witcu, four, is sometimes heard witciwh or witciw‘; -ew‘, blood, and -tau, -taw‘, breast, are other cases. R, which occurs sparingly in Luiseño, is absent from Cahuilla. Bilabial v occurs beside w, as in all Shoshonean dialects known to the author. The sound ñ, the nasal of k, is found initially, finally, and medially. The ü, ö sounds so characteristic of most Shoshonean dialects and certain neighboring languages, are wanting in Cahuilla, as they are in Luiseño and Agua Caliente. They are found in Serrano and Gabrielino, and apparently in all Shoshonean dialects except those of the Luiseño-Cahuilla group. Obscure vowels, that is, vowels so pronounced as to be more or less deficient in characteristic quality, are frequently heard.

Stems and Combinations of Consonants.

Consonants in juxtaposition are not rare in Cahuilla, but a regular alternation of vowel and consonant is more frequent. So many of the combinations of consonants are evidently due to composition, reduplication, or shortening under the influence of suffixes, that there is every reason for concluding that Cahuilla stems never contain double consonants. In a small number of words there are combinations of consonants which in the present state of knowledge cannot be explained by any of the above processes. But these words are so few, and have so little inherent appearance of being stems, that they can furnish but very doubtful evidence.

The consonants qw or kw, ly, and ny, in such words as namuqwanañ, qwinal, hipily, qily’i, naxanyic, nyitcil, menyil, wanyic, must be regarded as only developments of consonants that were single in the original forms of these stems—q or k, l, and n. These simple forms often occur in the same stems in Luiseño and other dialects. Qw, ly, and ny are characteristic sounds also of Mohave of the Yuman family, and correspond at least at times to unlabialized and unpalatalized sounds in related dialects. In view of this identity of phenomena, the geographical proximity of Cahuilla and Mohave is undoubtedly of significance.

Among combined consonants due to composition and derivation are: el-el-kwic, bad; nyic-luwil, old woman, from nyitc-il,

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woman; ñawic-mal, girl, and other words with diminutive suffix -mal; qon-supli, six, and other composite numerals; tcem-ki, our house, and other forms with pronominal prefixes; mul-ul-kal, steam; descriptive terms such as pal-setaxat, ocean, water-salty; yul-sevem, eyebrows, and yul-tamam, beard, from yul-uka, hair; puc-tcavayam, eyelashes, from puc, eye; tax-liswit, person, atax in other dialects; nis-xic, ash, xoc-xic in other dialects; duk-miat, night, dug-al, dug-it, etc. in other dialects; duk-vac, duk-mat-bic, sky, duk-upar, dog-umbal, in other dialects.

Combined consonants due to duplication of stems are found in yu-xos-xo, brain; ñam-ñam, shooting star; sun-sun-ika, poor; xwal-xwal, spider.

Double consonants caused by the omission of a vowel dropped to compensate for the addition of the plural suffix, are found in tenl-am, antelopes, from singular tenil; probably in ant-em, ants, singular in Luiseño anut; and in paxantc-im, blackbirds, which appears to be derived from a singular paxanic. Piaxt-em, rainbow, may be in the same class.

Somewhat similar to these cases is the numeral supli, one, supul in other dialects.

The only known words for whose double consonants no specific explanations can yet be offered, are: quspi, throat; amnawet, large; suntci, near; lavalvanat, cottonwood; k’iksawal, jimson-weed; kuvucnilyam, small ants; kumsexwet, yellow-jacket; iswet, wolf; hunwet, bear; dukwet, panther; aswit, eagle. It is evident that at least the majority of these are not simple stems. Kuvucnilyam, small ants, and kumsexwet, yellow-jacket, 2 are obviously compounds or derivatives. The four words is-wet, wolf, hun-wet, bear, duk-wet, panther, and as-wit, eagle, seem to contain a final element denoting size or superlativeness. It will be observed that each of these animals is the largest of its kind. 2a That the stem of iswet is is-, and not isw-, appears from is-il, coyote. Similarly duk-ut is wildcat, corresponding to duk-wut, panther.

The number of known double consonants that are unanalyzable

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is thus so small as to give every prospect of their being resolved before further study, and that the stems of Cahuilla will thus positively prove to contain only simple consonants.


The pronouns in their independent form and as possessive prefixes are:








pe (demonstrative)









peem (demonstrative)



The following cases of plural forms with the ending -am were noted. All of these are words denoting animate beings, except the terms for stars, beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes. The reason for the use of the plural in the last three is obvious.

Yul-sev-em, yul-tam-am, puc-tcavay-am, suwet-em, qi-qit-am, melkitc-em, taxliswitc-em, tciatc-em, ant-em, kuvucnily-am, sasañ-em, tevit-em, tenl-am, wik’ik-maily-am, xanamo-im, alwamaily-am, tcaxul-am, qo-am, mukatc-em, sivuyal-em. Probably plural are: tevaxal-em, hail, piaxt-em, rainbow, paxantc-im, blackbirds.

A plural by reduplication also occurs. It does not supersede but is accompanied by the suffix -am.

house, kic

houses, ki-kic

boy, qeat

boys, qi-qit-am

It is probable that the expression of the plural by reduplication is restricted. Similar cases have been observed in Luiseño:

man, yaac

men, ya-yitc-am

woman, cuñal

women, cu-cñal-am

old woman, necmal

old women, ne-nicl-am

chief, not

chiefs, no-not-om

It is not quite clear whether the variability of the suffix between -em and -am is dependent upon a partial assimilation of

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its vowel to the vowels of the stem or whether it is regulated by more complex rules. In some ten or twelve of the cases obtained -am follows a, o, or u stems and -em i or e stems; whereas in about eight instances the reverse is the case. In a number of the instances, however, the lack of accord between suffix vowel and stem vowels is only apparent. Thus qi-qit-am is derived from a singular qeat. Tenl-am is from a singular tenil, but the i is not radical and is unaccented, and the radical e appears to replace an original back vowel, as in Luiseño tonla.

In Luiseño the vowel of the plural suffix also varies, but instead of being a or e it is either a or o or u. The correspondence of Luiseño o and Cahuilla e is frequent, appearing in the word tonla-tenil just mentioned, as well as in many others, and in the pronouns and pronominal prefixes.

The use of certain terms, denoting parts of the body, without a possessive pronoun and with the noun terminative -l, appears to give them a plural connotation. Bone is te’i; te’i-l was given and translated as "bones." Blood is -ew‘; blood as a substance, or "much blood," is ew‘-il. It is probable that this suffix is only the common ending -l found on many substantives of animate and inanimate meaning. Its plural or collective force appears to be due to the fact that its occurrence on terms denoting parts of the body is limited to the unusual cases when such words are not accompanied by a possessive pronoun, which must ordinarily be used with all nouns of this class. In such cases these words therefore denote the substance rather than specific objects; from this it is only a step to a collective meaning, and the collective shades naturally into the plural.

Composition and Derivation.

A few compound nouns were observed. Most of these may be compositions of a noun with a verbal stem; but yul-tam-am, beard, is undoubtedly derived from yul-uka, hair, yu-la in Luiseño, and tam’a, mouth or tooth. Pa-sukat, horse, in other dialects apparently elk, may be "water-deer." 3 If these cases are

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correct, they are interesting in view of Mr. P. S. Sparkman's statement that there is no known compound noun in the Luiseño language. 4

The noun-ending -mal is a diminutive. It is found also in Luiseño. Before the plural -am this suffix in Cahuilla becomes -maily-. Adjectives of color end in -nekic. Black, dul-nekic, seems to mean "charcoal color." The suffix -s gives the numerals adverbial force, with the meaning of "the number of times." Two is wi. Twice is wi-s. These -s forms are used in forming the higher numerals by multiplication.

A number of endings on verb stems have been observed, though their meanings are too far from determination to render their discussion profitable. They are -ka, -nik and -ik, -i and -e, -le, -le-wet, -am, and -nemok, with the prefix or preposed particle hen-. The common Luiseño imperative ending -x has not been heard.

Noun Endings.

It has been said 5 that in all Shoshonean dialects, and probably throughout the whole Uto-Aztekan family, it appears "that a noun cannot stand as a naked stem, but requires a suffix; but that any form of composition into which the stem enters, such as the addition of a possessive affix, makes the terminal suffix unnecessary," and it is dropped. An examination of the new Cahuilla material makes an amplification of this statement possible. Mr. Sparkman has stated 6 that in Luiseño certain nouns, such as those denoting terms of relationship and parts of the body, cannot occur without a possessive pronoun. This of course is sufficient to distinguish them from other nouns that are usable without possessive prefixes. In Cahuilla such nouns, both animate and inanimate, almost always end either in l, c, or t. There are very few exceptions to this rule. On the other hand, words denoting parts of the body do not show these endings, but with very few exceptions end in a vowel. Many of the terms obtained for

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parts of the body were given without a possessive prefix. Thus: yuluka, head; naq’a, ear; tam’a, mouth; quspi, throat, qily’i, neck; and others. If it were not for these non-pronominal forms it might be supposed that words denoting parts of the body possessed the characteristic endings of other nouns, and only failed to show them on account of their constant usage with the pronominal prefix which is incompatible with the ending. Indeed it is possible that such forms as naq’a and tam’a are not good Cahuilla, that they are forms abstracted by the linguistic consciousness of the informant rather than forms which can be used with morphological correctness in connected speech. This, however, is only supposition; and the fact remains that according to the information available, terms for parts of the body differ from other substantives in showing forms like naq'a side by side with prefixed but unabbreviated forms like ne-naq’a, while other nouns must choose between the alternative forms such as ki-c and ne-ki. There is nothing to show that forms like naq’al, naq’at, or naq’ac exist or ever existed in Cahuilla.

The only nouns denoting parts of the body that have been found with a detachable noun-suffix are "bone" (te’i-l) and "blood" (ew‘-il) in Cahuilla, and "blood" (ou-la) and "hair" (yu-la) in Luiseño. Their suffix -l has already been mentioned. It is suggestive that these three words are among the few terms signifying parts of the body, that can denote a substance. That is to say, they can refer to the object in general, or to a quantity of it obtained from different individuals, instead of being limited to signifying a part or parts of specific persons or animals.

No terms for parts of the body ending in t have been found, and only one in c, puc, eye, which however is not lost when a possessive prefix is added to the word, and is therefore not a noun-termination in this case. The only others without final vowel observed are: nañ, tongue; puviam, elbow; pily, milk; pipiviskun, kidney; and sun, heart.

Of words other than those denoting parts of the body or terms of relationship, and excluding nouns ending in a verbal component or obtained only in the plural form, the following alone do not show one of the endings -l, -t, -c: ñamñam, shooting star; xwalxwal, spider; kuituk, another species of spider; and elka, a

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girl at puberty. 7 It is interesting that two of these four words are reduplicated. In Luiseño a somewhat greater number of such nouns have been found. One of them is also duplicated, three end in -ax, and the remainder in vowels. 8

A number of nouns which in Cahuilla end in -l, -c, show Luiseño forms in -la, -tea. Some of these nouns occur also in Luiseño without the final -a., but in that case are objective, the normal or subjective form showing the -a. Thus hu-la is given by Mr. Sparkman 9 with the objective hu-l, ki-tca, house, is ki-c in the objective, and to-t, presumably objective, has been found beside the form do-da or to-ta, rock. The Agua Caliente vocabulary previously published, and the one given below, differ in a number of nouns in the presence and absence of final -a. This disagreement is undoubtedly to be explained in the same way, since there is no reason for assuming a different relationship between ki-tca and ki-c in Agua Caliente. This omission of the final -a is however not the only method of expressing the objective case of nouns in Luiseño. In many instances, according to Mr. Sparkman, the objective does not differ from the subjective. In others a suffix -i is used for the objective. Mr. Sparkman gives -hu-y for the objective of hu-la when in composition with a pronominal prefix. Further objective forms with the same suffix are: cuula-i, star, and pu-c’la-i, his nail or its claw. It is doubtful whether the final -a of Luiseño and Agua Caliente is in reality, or in origin, a subjective suffix appended to the noun ending; or whether it is part of the noun ending itself, which

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from some unknown cause has developed into this expanded form in these two dialects, only, however, to be reduced to its simpler consonantal element when the word is used objectively. In any case this ending is not known to occur in Cahuilla or the dialect of San Juan Capistrano, and appears to be limited, in Luiseño and Agua Caliente, to the subjective case of certain noun-terminations.

The equivalence between Luiseño c and tc in the forms ki-c and ki-tc-a has a number of parallels in this and other dialects. Thus, Cahuilla mokwac, flea, becomes mukatc-em in the plural; nyitc-il, woman, corresponds with nyic-luwil, old woman. Final c is not the only sound for which to appears as the substitute before vocalic suffixes in Cahuilla: taxliswit, person, is taxliswitcem in the plural.

It does not appear that the noun suffixes -l, -c, -t are always lost when the stem enters into composition or derivation. Before the plural suffix -am the ending is certainly generally retained in Cahuilla, and cases are not wanting in Luiseño. Tenil is tenl-am in the plural; suwet becomes suwet-em; qeat, qi-qit-am; and mokwac, just given, mukatc-em. The diminutive suffix -mal becomes -maily-am. The only Cahuilla form obtained which appears to show the loss of a noun-ending before the plural suffix is sa-sañ-em, the singular of which, while not obtained, perhaps corresponds to Luiseño sa-sañ-la. 10


240:2 Compare Boscana, San Juan Capistrano dialect: sejar (= sexar), bee.

240:2a Compare also yunavi-wut or yuñawi-vut, condor, with yuñawi-c, buzzard.

242:3 Unless pa- means true, real, as it is said to in "Pa-ute." Compare Gabrielino pa-wicokot, condor.

243:4 Am. Anthr., n.s., VII, 657, 1905.

243:5 Present series, IV, 91.

243:6 Loc. cit.

245:7 Cahuilla nouns in -l are: menyil, temal, iñil, bal, dul, mululkal, luñayil, tauwal, qwinyal, amul, panuul, pasal, butcil, k’iksawal, nyitcil, naxaluwil and nyicluwil, pul, awal, isil, wilyal, tenil, qawil, tekwil, hunal, qwaal, kisil, ququl, dutcil, maxayil, ayil, tataxul, palokol, kiyul.

Nouns in -c are: kic, dukvac, dukmatbic, ñatcic, qawic, wanyic, nisxic, wewinyic, paxic, dakuc, menyikic, seic, naxanyic, seic, qiñic, yuñawic, gaukuc, qweyexevac, puic.

Nouns in -t are: tamiat, suwet, tukmiat, mumawet, hawayat, kut, miat, walinat, yuyat, qelawat, samat, lavalvanat, saxat, taxliswit, qeat, huyetcat, pit, net, iswet, hunwet, dukwet, dukut, tavut, sewet, sukat, aswit, yuñawivut, mut, alwat, maxivit, bukawet, aawat, kumsexwet.

245:8 About 100 Luiseño names of plants given by Mr. Sparkman in his paper recently published in volume VIII of this series end as follows: in -t, 38; in -l, 24, -la, 11, total -l, 35; in -c (-sh), 19, -s, l, -tca (-cha), l, total -c, 21; in other consonants, l, pikwlax; in vowels, 4: posi’kana, sikimona, pehevi, tisi.

245:9 Loc. cit.

246:10 Boscana, p. 333, gives sejet (sexat), willow, the name of a place, as meaning "place of wild bees," that is, "bee." His accompanying form, sejar pepau, honey, is "bee his-water," and shows sexar, or some similar form, such as c•aka (obtained by the author for "bumble-bee"), to be the San Juan Capistrano word for bee. Compare however Cahuilla kumsexwet, yellow-jacket, wasp, which makes it possible that sexat existed as a parallel variant form in Juaneño.

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