Tehaleh…pronounced TAY-HA-LAY…comes from Chinook jargon


Area’s largest planned housing project set to open after long delay

‘Two decades after it was conceived, Western Washington’s largest planned community will open this summer.

It will be called Tehaleh, though Pierce County residents will be forgiven for hanging on to the name Cascadia for a while longer.

Cascadia, a 5,000-acre planned community of houses, schools and businesses on the Bonney Lake plateau, was the vision of developer Patrick Kuo when he bought the land from Weyerhaeuser in 1991. Kuo lost most of it to foreclosure in 2009, and San Diego-based Newland Communities snapped it up last year for $49 million…

Cascadia’s new name, Tehaleh, is pronounced TAY-HA-LAY. It comes from Chinook jargon and means “high ground, superior land or land of the gods,” according to Sekisui’s website.

“It’s OK if it’s mispronounced,” Jones said. “Puyallup isn’t easy to say. Or Snohomish.” ‘

DDR comments: This is news.   A new word of Chinuk Wawa, in 2012? Tehaleh meaning ‘high ground’?  Or else, guessing from the translations provided, it’s a portmanteau of ‘Saghalie Illahee’.  Which also means ‘heaven’.  Which I’m in when Google Alerts brings in Chinook Jargon news. 🙂

Incidentally, other ‘false friends’–mistaken CJ etymologies–that I can think of include Clark how are you for the greeting ‘klahowya’, and the claim that ‘copacetic’ and ‘chittim [a kind of tree bark]’ somehow started out as Jargon.

Thanks again to my blog readers for bringing up some interesting questions!