The priest explains capitalism

I thought this extended selection, where Father Le Jeune of the Kamloops Wawa responds to a reader’s complaints about his newspaper’s price, was a really great illustration of the kinds of education you can do in Chinook Jargon.

(There is other stuff of note going on in this passage — but I’m keeping the focus on how expressive this pidgin language can be in the right hands.)

Read on:

Father Le Jeune explains capitalism (2)

Pus ukuk man komtaks kata hwait man mamuk klaska pipa,
If this gentleman knew how the white men make their newspapers,

pi kata nsaika mamuk ukuk Chinuk pipa, wik kata iaka
and how we make this Chinook newspaper, there’s not a chance he 

mamuk cim kakwa.
would write such a thing.

Nanich hwait man iaka pipa. Iht pipa klatwa kopa <1 000>
Look at the white man’s newspaper.  [If] one newspaper goes out to 1,000 

tilikom, aias makuk ukuk pipa, klunas tlun tala iht sno
people, that newspaper is expensive, maybe $3 a year.  

Pus pipa klatwa kopa <2 000>, klunas mokst tala iht sno
If a newspaper goes out to 2,000, it might be $2 a year [for] 

ukuk pipa Iht pipa klatwa kopa <10 000> tilikom, klunas
that paper.  Another paper goes out to 10,000 people, it might 

Father Le Jeune explains capitalism (3)

iht tala iht sno ukuk pipa. Iht pipa klatwa kopa
be $1 a year [for] that paper.  Another newspaper goes out to

<25 000>, iht pipa kopa <70 000> tilikom, kakwa kopit
25,000, another paper to 70,000 people, so it’s only

sitkom tala iht sno, pi iaka tolo ayu chikmin. Iht pipa
a half dollar a year, and it earns lots of money.  Another paper

klatwa kopa <100 000> tilikom, klunas sitkom tala
goes out to 100,000 people, it might be a half dollar

iht sno, pi chako aias ukuk pipa, kopa ukuk drit ayu
a year, and that newspaper grows big, from those numerous

tilikom piii kopa ukuk pipa.
people subscribing to the paper.

Nanich ukuk pipa iaka klatwa kopa <50 000> tilikom
Look at the paper that goes out to 50,000 people,

iht man sitkom tala iht man sitkom tala. Ukuk kanamokst
a half dollar per person, another half dollar per another person. This together

kanawi chako <25 000> chikmin. Klunas ukuk man iaka
all comes to 25,000 dollars of money.  Maybe this person

lost <350> tala iht Sondi kopa ukuk pipa, pi <52>
loses [spends] $350 in one week on this newspaper, and there are 52

Sondi kopa iht sno kakwa iaka lost <18 000> tala kopa
weeks in a year so he loses $18,000 on

ukuk pipa, pi iaka tlap <25 000>, kakwa iaka tolo
that newspaper, but he gets $25,000, so he earns

<7 000> tala kopa ukuk.
$7,000 out of this.

Iht pipa chako kopa Chikago. Drit aias ukuk pipa, wik
There’s one particular newspaper that comes out of Chicago.  This paper is really big,

saia iht pawn iht pipa. Klaska mamuk kakwa pipa kanawi
nearly a pound [in weight] per copy. They issue a paper like that every

Sondi. Ilip ayu kopa <100 000> tilikom iskom ukuk pipa
week. Over 100,000 people take that paper

pi klaska piii mokst tala iht man kopa iht sno. Kakwa
and they pay $2 a person for a year. So

<200 000> tala iht sno iaka tlap ukuk pipa Wiht
that’s $200,000 a year that that newspaper gets. In addition,

ukuk pipa iaka kanamokst iht pipa iaka klatwa kanawi son
that newspaper is partners with another paper that goes out daily

kopa <75 000> tilikom, pi klaska piii kopa ukuk
to 75,000 people, and they pay for that

siks tala iht man kopa iht sno iaka chako <300 000>
$6 a person for a year, which comes to $300,000

tala wiht. Wiht ayu chikmin iaka tolo ukuk pipa pus
more. That newspaper also earns a lot of money when

iaka mamuk cim ikta kopa hwait man  Hwait man tiki sil iaka
it writes things for the white people.  A white man wants to sell his

ilihi, iaka mamuk cim kopa ukuk pi[pa] iaka piii klunas <5>,
land, he writes it in that paper, he pays maybe 5

klunas <10> tala kopa ukuk pipa pi aiak iaka sil iaka ilihi
or 10 dollars to the newspaper and he’s able to quickly sell his land.

Drit ayu <1 000> tala iaka tolo ukuk pipa.
That newspaper earns quite a few thousands of dollars.

Pus ayu tilikom kakwa iskom ukuk Chinuk pipa, aiak
If lots of people like that took this Chinook newspaper, soon

msaika nanich drit aias tlus pipa kopa drit tanas chikmin,
you folks would see a really excellent paper for really little money,

pi wik kata pus ayu tilikom kakwa iskom ukuk pipa, klunas
but it’s not going to happen that lots of people like that are going to take this paper, maybe

wik saia <1 000> Sawash tilikom iskom ukuk pipa alta;
about 1,000 Indian people take this newspaper currently;

pi ayu klaska ilo aiak piii klaska pipa, klunas klaska ilo
and many of them are slow to pay for their paper, maybe it’s that they can’t

aiak tlap chikmin, klunas klaska lisi pus piii …
easily get money, maybe they’re too lazy to pay…

Le Jeune’s explanation goes on on the following page of his paper, but you can see how methodically he explains the ideas involved — and I think with real success.

This isn’t the first post I’ve done about education in Chinuk Wawa, and rest assured there will be more. This is a theme that has enormous relevance in these modern times of revitalization, both of the Jargon and of other Indigenous languages of the Northwest.

Stay tuned.

Cheers from

David Douglas ROBERTSON, PhD
exploding myths about Chinook Jargon & Indigenous languages since 1998 🙂