Théwelhem is the Halq’eméylem word for a ‘to spawn’. Literally, it means ‘to beach one’s offspring’…
Théwelhem sounds like THOO-wull-um, except that instead of l you say the Halq’eméylem ‘hissy l‘ (lh).
To make the lh, start with a regular l, but ‘hiss’ a bit to create more friction, and stop the vibration in your throat.
Audio: Elizabeth Herrling, Elizabeth Phillips
If you want to talk about spawning as an ongoing action (e.g. they are spawning now), then you can use a special form of théwelhem:
- Some elders say thethéwelhem for spawning (with partial doubling of the word).
- Others say tháwelhem for spawning (with a vowel change instead).
Both ways of making the –ing form are ‘correct’. Audio for both forms is here.
Théwelhem appears to come from a root word chéw, which appears in many words related to the shore, sand, and beaches, as for example in:
- Cháchew – beach
- Chewōlhp – cottonwood tree (these are common towards the shore)
- Chowéthel – a place name, now on Katz reserve land
The reason théwelhem does not start with ch may be because at one point the word was borrowed from the Squamish language: where Halq’eméylem has th, Squamish has ch.