“Digger” Jargon keeps surfacing

From Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine, Vol. IV no. 4 (October 1859), column “Our Social Chair”, page 185: the popular verse “Lo! The Poor Indian” (originally a section of Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Man“, and well-known enough to inspire both imitations like this and the derogatory ethnic term “the Lo’s“) with a broad translation into California Pidgin Spanish/English (we’ve seen it mixed with Chinuk Wawa too) —

“White man’s beep (beef,) beeskit (biscuit,) and wheeskey, belly (very) good for chemuck [food]. Heep wano [very good]. Grass-hoppers, acorns, mucho malo [very bad] — Injun man no caree.”

A neat question: the occurrences I’ve so far found of this lingo suggest it was a successor to an older Spanish/Native pidgin, taking on English and Chinook Jargon words.

What should it be called, then?

To call it California Pidgin Spanish preserves its historical origins but fails to capture its 1859 essence.

This is similar to the inadequacy of calling Kamloops Chinook Jargon of the 1890s “Chinook Jargon”. Much less Chinookan, much more English vocabulary.

Advertisements