Krismas (nowél) (Christmas)

łúsh nowél pi miri krismas to my faithful daily readers!

Here’s a Chinuk Wawa stocking stuffer for you!

christmas chinuk wawa

(Image credit: Vancouver Métis Citizens Society(Click link to read a Jargon version of “The Night Before Christmas”)

Adding to this website’s contributions towards talking about Christmas in Chinook Jargon…

…here’s how you write the word in Chinuk pipa (shorthand):

xmas 1



And here’s a little discussion of the meaning of the day, from the perspective of a frontier Catholic missionary. The punctuation is unclear, though:

xmas 2

ShK chako tanas pus nsaika[.]
sesukʰli chaku-tənás pus nsáyka[.]
‘Jesus Christ is born for us[.]’

Chako: tlus nsaika mamuk haha iaka.
cháku: łúsh nsáyka mamuk-x̣aʔx̣aʔ yáka.
Come: let us adore him.

It would be more clear, possibly, to say …chako tanas kopa nsaika…, because in the Kamloops area it was way more common to use kopa to say ‘for’ + NOUN. Up there, pus usually meant ‘for’ + VERB, expressing a purpose or reason. I would guess that the writer, Father J.M.R. Le Jeune, here just makes a tiny mistake that’s typical for him, writing one letter or short word for a conceptually related one.

Okay, a little further definition of Christmas in Chinuk Wawa:

xmas 3

Ikta ukuk, Krismas? = Iaka ukuk 
íkta úkuk Krismas? = yáka úkuk 
‘What is this Christmas? = It’s the’

aias tlus son kah ShK chako tanas 
(h)ayas(h)-łúsh sán qʰá(x̣) Sesukʰli chaku-tənás 
‘wonderful day where Jesus Christ was born’

kopa ukuk ilihi.
kʰapa úkuk ílihi.
‘on this earth.’ 

qʰáta máyka tə́mtəm?
What do you think?