Madison S. Beeler
1966 Names  
IN THIS BRIEF ACCOUNT I wish to propose an etymology for the name Hueneme, which is attached to a point, a canyon, and a town (Port Hueneme) on the Pacific Coast in Ventura County, California. The town gained prominence during World War II when it was selected as the site of the United States Naval Construction Battalion ("Seabees") Center on the West Coast, a situation which still prevails. This etymology is put forth with all the reservations which accompanied that which I suggested for
more » ... l in this journal. The name is currently pronounced [wai1nimi], which appears to have been its local pronunciation, at least by speakers of English, for the past century. Gudde 2 tells us that the name of the postoffice there was written Wynema in 1870, the year in which the town was founded. He also tells us that the spelling was changed to its present form in 1874, a change made, I suppose, in order to give the written form of the name a more Spanish appearance. The spelling Hueneme -which first occurred as the name which, Gudde also tells us, was applied by James Alden to the point in 1856must have originated with speakers of Spanish, and gives evidence of a pronunciation (we'neme] by them. This latter form, then, is the one for which we must seek an origin; the English pronun.ciation seems to be based upon the written, rather than the spoken, Spanish name. However, the name Hueneme was not introduced into California by Spaniards. The Indians who lived in this part of the state before the coming of the white man were the Chumash, among whom those who lived in the Oxnard Plain, in the valleys tributary to that plain, and along the seacoasts for some distance to the northwest and southwest from the plain, were speakers of a linguistic subdivision
doi:10.1179/nam.1966.14.1.36 fatcat:2te7drwhczhonfgpiidxrwvari