The Mallery Drug Co. ad, 1902

[Edited with more info 11/20/2016 — see end of article.]

I’ve been running a thread of Chinook Jargon advertisements, which will be continuing for quite a while due to the plenitude of spots like this one:


For Rough Skin

    Some people like Olive Oil;
it is too greasy for many, though.
Some people prefer glycerine;
but that is too sticky for others.
Then, there are some who use
benzoin and rose water. But more
people are learning about
     Our Cutilave ~~~
Every day, more people are using
it. It isn’t sticky or greasy, and
it softens and heals. 25 cents.>

     Kopa naika haws kanawi tilikom tlap kanawi ikta
At my place [of business] everyone can get any kind of

mitsin kopa kanawi ikta sik: msaika
of medicine for any kind of affliction: you folks

komtaks naika: naika nim Malri.
know me: my name is Mallery.

— Kamloops Wawa #201 (June 1902), page 143

A note about the Chinook-shorthand spelling of Malri: between the l and r in this name, there occurs the rare Chinuk pipa diacritic of a hash mark delineating consecutive straight-line letters. Without this slash across the letters, we’d seem to have a single long line in the upward-and-rightward direction, so the name would be read as Mari — very confusingly to the readers of this Catholic paper, who were used to reading about Mari the mother of Jesus in practically every issue!

Usually, this diacritic is superfluous, separating two identical letters in an original English spelling that are not reflected in actual pronunciation. By that I mean that Chinook Jargon never pronounces consonants as “doubled” / “long” / “geminate”.  In hymns that were published in this newspaper, alliluia “alleluia” with its two consecutive L’s is sung as [aleluya].  In a winter greeting, Mirri Krismas “Merry Christmas” is said as in English, [meri krisməs].  If they followed the stated rule of Chinuk pipa, to write as you speak, these two words could and should be rendered as aliluia and Miri.

But in today’s ad, the hash-mark between L and R in Malri has a purpose.  Both letters need to be pronounced in order for the reader to recognize the name of the storekeeper.

I notice that the Kipp-Mallery Pharmacy still exists to this day in Kamloops; is this in the original location, I wonder?

Mallery pharmacy.png

The Mallery Drug Co. comes down in history as the civic-minded (boosteristic at least) publisher of 1889’s Souvenir Album of Kamloops…, with its views of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, the CPR yards and such.


Was our Mallery the George T. Mallery who appears advertising his Central Drug Co. –featuring his Cutilave –in a San Bernardino, California newspaper in 1908? Maybe life in the California of Canada, where I’ve tripped over both prickly-pear cactuses and rattlesnakes,  wasn’t quite warm enough for him 🙂

[Edit of 11/20/2016:] The top line in the following snippet shows the far more usual way of joining two straight-line-shaped Chinuk pipa letters without causing confusion.  The line reads “<4. I.> Wi. | Sin Sharls Boromi, bishop.”  With this information, find the name Sharls (Charles).  It contains the upward-and-rightward-tilting straight line that is shorthand r, immediately followed by the upward-and-rightward-tilting straight line that is shorthand l.  The trick that keeps these two from running seamlessly together, giving just an r, is that the second of them receives an additional rightward tilt.  This approach was infinitely more common than the tick-through-the-line-of-writing diacritic, which in fact never shows up in Aboriginal people’s use of Chinuk pipa.]