Saturday, March 03, 2012

What does Carhagouha mean?

(wendat village location, Huron village site)
The most common current spelling for this village of Champlain is as used in the title of this post "Carhagouha" however as with almost ever other village name there are numerous alternate spellings found in both primary source documents such as Champlain, Sagard and the Jesuit Relations and still other spellings found in secondary source and scholarly texts.Some of the spellings that I have found so far are:

  1. Carhagouha
  2. Garhagouha 
  3. Karhahaonha  
  4. Carragougha   

It must be remembered that these names were recorded by people of various linguistic backgrounds from numerous oral sources with differed dialects that were then interpreted phonetically into the language of the listener. The Wendat language had no written text to compare these interpretations to and is only recently being reconstructed by a few scholars into a written format for use today.
Some scholars and others have suggested that these village names may indicate a location or provided geographic/pictorial description of the village location while other suggest that they were named after a chief or other prominent person in the community.Here are a couple of translations or interpretations for these name that I have found so far;
  1. The Great forest encircled town - the great palisaded fortress (A E Jones in Old Huronia - 1908)
  2. where there are elms (John Steckley in Words of the Huron - 2007)
If you are aware of any other translations, interpretations or spellings of this village name please place a comment or new post on this blog.
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