Chinook Jargon in Haller diary 1855 (Sharon Seal guest blogging)

Reader Sharon Seal has thoughtfully sent along some interesting Chinook Jargon material that she’s found in her resarch. The following relates to the diary of Major Granville Owen Haller. I especially appreciate this anecdote because, unlike Ruby & Brown’s published version (p. 206 of “The Cayuse Indians: Imperial Tribesmen of Old Oregon”, it specifies that this dialogue occurred in CJ. Also, it’s a nice example of how a pidgin language is perfectly usable for performing indirect speech acts like backhanded compliments! — Dave Robertson

Cayuse Indians Imperial Tribesmen of Old Oregon
The published version

“Hi, Just processing some transcriptions of notes from Dr. Ruby Research material reviewed by me at the MAC in Spokane last October. Dr. Ruby made these notes in the 1960’s as he was researching for the books he and John Brown wrote on the Columbia Plateau. The Haller diaries are archived at University of Washington, and I plan to look at them in person, “someday”. This was kind of a cute entry in an otherwise serious episode of history. Quote below is verbatim from Dr. Ruby notes, section in quotes should be verbatim from the Haller diary.

“There is a small black Diary marked “Haller, G. O. Diary 1855 (it has to do with campaign after Snakes in the Boise area.) Just after they got to the Grande Ronde camp he writes Friday July 6 1855 “Soon after my arrival Peo-peo-mox-mox and Winnap Shoot came to call on me. Afterwards came Stickus and Yun-how-litz, then some others. I entertained them with Lemon Syrop , and gave these Chiefs 5 rounds of musket cartridges. Peo-peo-mox-mox asked repeatedly for whiskey, which I declined giving: He called the Lemon Syrop I gave him “High-ash close Klutcheman muck-muck.” [In Chinook Jargon:] “ Very good woman’s drink.” “

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