Bull teams and steam engines

(Edited 06/08/2016, to correct the year from 1897 to 1896.)

This is the colophon of the Kamloops Wawa  newspaper, from the first issue that ran it.  That’d be November 1897, top of page 1.

Kamloops Wawa November 1897 page 1 colophon

It’s dense with Chinuk pipa (shorthand alphabet) Chinook Jargon.

Lots here to sink your teeth into–care to practice your reading skills?  It even includes a handy key to the alphabet, well, kind of handy.  You’ll see once you click the image to start in.

Here’s a foot in the door: the bottom of the left-hand column ends with the least offensive Muhammad Ali-ism ever.  (Who knew pidgins could swagger?)

“Tkop man pipa kakwa bul tim, Chinuk pipa kakwa stim kar.”
(The white man’s writing is like a team of oxen, Chinook writing is like a steam engine.)

Team of oxen in British Columbiasteam_engine_fort_steele_llYes!

I’ve figured out what the whole thing says, except for the French in the right column.  Now, I read standard French, but in shorthand it might as well be Sumerian, eh?

Send me your attempts!

–Dave–

Advertisements