E3: Kues k'ew? Part 2
No Pressure Refresher

Practice the skills you learned in Episode 2 (Village 1, House 1) with a No Pressure Refresher, a comprehension check, Yurok phonics, and some elder audio shadowing. Learn a few modern and more traditional greetings commonly used in the Yurok language.

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Timestamps by Title

Pod Intro 0:00-0:44

Episode 3 Intro 0:45-1:18

No Pressure Refresher (NPR 1): 'new, k'ew, 'wew 1:19-3:29

Survival Phrase 1: Kues soo hey-go-lem'? "How do you say it?" 3:30-4:40

Yurok Phonics: Yurok G 4:41-5:45

Survival Phrase 2: 'Ey-lekw "I don't know" 5:46-6:35

Comprehension Check Intro 6:36-7:36

Comprehension Check 1 begins 7:37-9:44

Yurok Language Request: How to greet someone in Yurok 9:45-12:05

Barbara explains more about 'aiy-ye-kwee' and other Yurok greetings 12:06-16:38

Episode 3 Outro 16:39-17:38

Full Transcript [closed caption]

Pod Intro 0:00- 0:44

Welcome to Episode 3 of the Yurok Tribe Language Program’s “Yurok in 20!” Podcast! The purpose of this podcast is to provide a space for Yurok language learners to listen to elder audio, follow along with short lessons, practice speaking and listening to Yurok language, and touch upon Yurok culture as it relates to what we are learning. Each episode will be under 20 minutes, so please join us as you are cleaning, working out, or driving to work …and make sure to check the show notes to find more resources for the episodes!

Cho’ saa’-a-go-che’-moh! Let’s speak Yurok together

Episode 3 Intro 0:45-1:18

Here in Episode 3, we’re going to rewind with a No Pressure Refresher from Episode 2. If you haven’t listened to Episode 2 yet, please check it out first and then come back to Episode 3. I’ll make sure to link Episode 2 in the show notes for you. After the NPR, we’re going to move into a comprehension check to see if you can answer questions using the vocabulary you’ve already learned. We’ll finish this episode off by listening to Barbara McQuillens share some modern and some more traditional Yurok greetings.

No Pressure Refresher (NPR 1): ‘New, k’ew, ‘wew 1:19-3:29

Let’s rewind with a No Pressure Refresher. [rewinding sound] When you hear this tone [repeat tone] it’s a signal to repeat what you’ve heard. Let’s get started. 

I am called. ‘New (x3)

You are called. K’ew (x3)

He/she/it is called. ‘Wew (x3)

What are you called? Kues k’ew? (x3)

What is he called? Kues ‘wew? 

What is she called? Kues ‘wew?

What is it called? Kues ‘wew?


Survival Phrase 1: Kues soo hey-go-lem’? “How do you say it?” 3:30-4:40

Great work practicing! If you want to hear more about traditional Yurok naming practices or learn more detail about how to pronounce the Yurok sounds you are hearing in the No Pressure Refresher, please revisit Episode 2! Time to move into the comprehension check! As a reminder, when you hear this necklace [necklace sound] Hech-peyr’! “Listen up!” You’re about to hear a first-language Yurok speaker’s pronunciation. 

Now let’s learn our first survival phrase: “How do you say it?”  Kues soo hey-go-lem’? 

Poor Georgiana Trull: [necklace sound] Kues soo hey-go-lem’? (x3) 

Brit: Now you try. When you hear the tone, it’s time to repeat. “How do you say it?” [repeat tone] Kues soo hey-go-lem’? (x3)

Yurok Phonics: Yurok g 4:41-5:45

Let’s jump into a little bit of Yurok Phonics on this one, focusing in on that Yurok g in the middle of hey-go-lem’. If you listen carefully you can hear that it’s sort of a softer g made more in the back of the throat. In English you might have a “g, g” and in this case the g in the middle of this word is [Yurok g]. One way to think about how to make this sound is when you’re trying to lightly gargle water or mouthwash in the back of your throat. I’m sort of over exaggerating that so you can hear it louder, but that’s sort of the vibration that you’re looking for. Hey-go-lem’. 

Poor Georgiana Trull: [necklace sound] Hey-go-lem’ (x3)

Brit: Hey-go-lem’. 

For more Yurok phonics tips like how to make the s you’re hearing in kues, how to make the -ew- sound, and how to make that clicky k’ sound you’re hearing in k’ew, jump back to Episode 2 at 8:59.

Survival Phrase 2: ‘ey-lekw “I don’t know” 5:46-6:35

Let’s move on to Survival Phrase #2: ‘ey-lekw “I don’t know.” ‘Ey-lekw.

Poor Aileen Figueroa: [necklace sound] ‘ey-lekw

Poor Jessie Exline: ‘ey-lekw

Poor Georgiana Trull: ‘ey-lekw 

Brit: “I don’t know” ‘ey-lekw. (x3)

Careful for the end of this word. A lot of English speakers might think it’s ‘ey-lekw with a k, but it’s actually a kw., and it does matter, sometimes it can even change the meaning of what you’re saying if you’re using a k or a kw at the end. ‘Ey-lekw, kw, kw, ‘ey-lekw.

Comprehension Check Intro 6:36-7:36

Alright. So the two survival phrases you’re going to need are Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “How do you say it?” and ‘ey-lekw “I don’t know.” Now that you’ve had your No Pressure Refresher from Episode 2 and you’ve learned the Survival Phrase: “How do you say it?” Kues soo hey-go-lem’ and the Survival Phrase: “I don’t know.” ‘ey-lekw–let’s use what you’ve learned. When you hear this sound [respond tone] it means rather than copying the word, you’re going to respond. So it should sound something like this: “Kues soo hey-go-lem’ I am called?” You would answer with: ‘new. If you feel like you need a little more practice you can jump back to timestamp 1:34 to the beginning of the No Pressure Refresher. 

Comp Check 1 begins 7:37-9:44

Ready to give it a shot? You got this. 

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “I am called?” [respond tone] ‘new

Did you get that one? Let’s keep going.

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “you are called” [respond tone] k’ew

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “he is called” [respond tone] ‘wew

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “she is called” [respond tone] ‘wew

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “it is called” [respond tone] ‘wew

Remember, Yurok is not gendered in the 3rd person so you can use ‘wew for he, she, or it is called. Skuy’ k’e-son’ let’s finish up this comprehension check with some questions.

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “What am I called?” [respond tone] Kues ‘new?

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “What are you called? [respond tone] Kues k’ew?

Kues soo hey-go-lem’ “What is he/she/it called?” [respond tone] Kues ‘wew?

Skue-yen’! Recall that adding Kues to any of the terms we’ve learned turns it from a statement to a question. We’ll learn more about the four ways to make a question in Yurok in later episodes. So, how did it go? Were you able to answer the questions or did it feel like you need a little more practice? Again, if you need it, that No Pressure Refresher is back there at 1:34. 

Resource Spotlight: Yurok Language Request Form 9:45-10:18

We’re gonna round out the end of this episode with our first Resource Spotlight. If you visit www.yuroklanguage.com you can find a tab called “Yurok Language Requests.” These are from real Yurok language learners who have questions about a specific phrase or translation. We try our best to help as many people as possible and this is just one of the ways that you can reach out and get some help learning Yurok language.

Yurok Language Request: How to greet someone in Yurok 10:19-12:05

We have a few requests on the list for greetings, both informal and formal, and also how to spell them. First it’s important to remember that Yurok has always been an oral language and spelling and writing things down is so new for us compared to how long we’ve been speaking the language. The Yurok Tribe, as an organization and also as our employer, does have a formalized writing system, an orthography, that was created by elder speakers. In late 2019 a resolution was passed to make the Yurok language the official language of the Yurok Tribe as an organization. This applies to anyone working as an employee of the Yurok Tribe and it states that they should use the New Yurok Alphabet that was laid out by a group of elder speakers as their official writing system when putting out any information written in the Yurok language. However, there are many other Yurok speaking factions outside of the Yurok Tribe. There are lots of tribal members that don’t work for the Tribe (as an organization). There are also Yurok descendents and other Yurok groups, maybe part of rancherias and such, that also speak and write the Yurok language. So there isn’t one uniform spelling system for all of Yurok language and we usually just tell people listen first. It’s important that you spend time listening to elder audio as much as possible and the spelling can come later. 

Now, as far as greetings go, I wouldn’t say that Yurok has formal or informal greetings, but there are some that are a little bit heavier. Let’s listen to our Collections Coordinator, Barbara talk a little bit about that.

Barbara explains more about ‘aiy-ye-kwee’ and other Yurok greetings 12:06-16:38

Barbara: ‘Aiy-ye-kwee’. Everybody probably has heard that word, but a long time ago, traditionally, we didn’t go around, you know, down the trail saying ‘aiy-ye-kwee, ‘aiy-ye-kwee’ to everybody that we seen. ‘Aiy-ye-kwee’ has deeper meaning than just a “hello” as we use it today. It’s more of a feeling, an expression, when you haven’t seen somebody for a really long time, you know, you would say ‘aiy-ye-kwee’, ‘aiy-ye-kwee’.

Brit: and not just to people…

Barbara: It doesn’t even have to be a person that you’re saying that to. It can be like I’m lonesome for a place or somewhere. I’m really happy to see that place or happy to be at that place. When you came to a place that you haven’t been to in a long time and you’re lonesome for that place ‘aiy-ye-kweeee’. And the more feeling you put into it the more deeper it becomes in its meaning, ‘aiy-ye-kweeee’. You know, you’re really, really happy to see somebody or, you know, you haven’t seen them for so long. 

Brit: Will you share a little bit more about how this word can be used even outside of greeting someone or someplace?

Barbara: When somebody passes on it’s kind of like a ‘aiy-ye-kwee’, it’s like a final goodbye to somebody, to say to them, and it can be used that way, ‘aiy-ye-kwee’. Brittany, did you have anything else to add about that?

Brit: So, it’s like I really miss you. More than just a casual “hey.” As you mentioned, the tone can change the meaning of that word. Yurok is kind of unique in that way, that we don’t usually use intonation to derive meaning, but some words, like this one, you can. There is a certain intonation that happens when you’re in prayer, when you’re singing, or when you’re using a word like ‘aiy-ye-kwee’. ‘Aiy-ye-kweeeee’, you know, holding it out longer and longer for as much as you miss the person. It could be happy or sad. Maybe a woman who lost her child could just go down to the river and just cry that word for days. ‘Aiy-ye-kweeeeeee’. So the tone and length that you put into it changes the intensity of the word so it’s not something that is said lightly. Barbara can you share some more about some of the more casual greetings?

Barbara: There’s a greeting that a woman would say to another woman which is ney-en. You can put that ney on the end of a lot of things that you say. Kind of like an endearing thing. Like hehl ney, “hey.”

Brit: So, ‘aiy-ye-kwee’ ney. Chuue’ ney. Like you’re showing a closeness with that other woman.

Barbara: But a woman wouldn’t say that to a man. Between men, the word is now-oh. A man wouldn’t say ney-en, a woman’s greeting, to another man or to a woman. 

Brit: So, one of the words you used in there was hehl. You can use this kind of like a casual “hey,” an attention grabber, and it usually gets used with some other word like neee’n “look, look at it”--hehl neee’n “hey, look!” and that’s a really common way to greet people. And if you wanted to be more specific, if you were a woman you could say hehl ney if you were talking to other women that you feel you have a closeness with, or if you’re a man you can say hehl now if you’re talking to other men. So, those are some of the greetings you can use instead of ‘aiy-ye-kwee’ that are a little bit more casual. Maybe you just saw the person not too long ago but you’re kind of bumping into them again. You could say, Kel’ kem ‘o hey-goom’, literally just, “You’re around again.” Sometimes people will ask us “well, how do you say something in a polite way?” and really that’s more of an English influence, an English construct. It’s already the expectation in Yurok culture that you’re being polite, that you’re being kind. If you weren’t, then you would be expected to make payment to that person, to make it right. It’s not ok to treat people poorly. It’s outside the norm. So you don’t need these additional, extra words like “please,” “I’m sorry” because the words don’t show politeness, your actions do. Nowadays a lot of people really want to say things like “good morning” and “good afternoon.” These also come from English influences, they’re translations of English greetings, but they’re very commonly used and elder speakers would also use them. 

Episode Outro 16:39-17:38

These are just a few of the ways that you can greet each other. If you’re interested, you could always put in a Yurok Language Request: www.yuroklanguage.com and then you can ask questions about greetings or any other questions you have. We hope  you learned a few things today, got some good practice in, and we look forward to sharing more with you in our next episode where we’re going to get some of the Yurok language crew together and do a full conversation in Yurok using the terms that you’ve learned in episodes 2 and 3. This will be a really great opportunity for you to practice listening and see if you can follow along with a full conversation. 

To’ kee tey-ge-rew! “We’ll talk (again)”

[‘Eyk-s’os, Huen-keyk’-s’os outro song]