Rock stop: BC Wawa

From southern interior British Columbia, good regional Chinuk Wawa:

rock stop

A prospector who had spent several days in this district remarked to his companion that “hiyou chickaman rock stop but nika halo nannach.”

— from the Lillooet (BC) Prospector of July 29, 1898, page 6, column 2

The preceding short quotation strikes me as quite likely accurate for the time and place.

One reason: note that the editor doesn’t translate it! the local readers would understand it perfectly well! Chinook Jargon was alive and well around Lillooet at the time; for instance, Indigenous people there were marking graves with headboards carrying carved Chinuk pipa shorthand text in CJ.


  • There were many brand-new English loans into BC Jargon replacing earlier words, so < rock > is believable.
  • And we already know the expression < chikaman stone > for ‘ore’, corresponding to our < chickaman rock > here.
  • Stop > was a widespread BC Chinook Jargon synonym for the older be-verb míłayt, which might’ve been spelled < mitlite > had it been used here.
  • The use of < but > is totally plausible too, and in fact it’s down south in the old Chinuk Wawa heartland, at Grand Ronde, Oregon, that it seems to have first been documented (as bət). I suspect it’s one of the many English-sourced words that were routinely left out of early Jargon wordlists on the principle that their White readers would “already know” them.

Lower in the same column, and of less Chinuk Wawa interest, there’s a bit of unintended humour:

unintended humour

A little siwash [Indian] boy was thrown from a horse on the [T’it’q’etreservation last Friday afternoon and had both of his wrists broken. He was well attended to until medical aid was received.

That’s all I know today.

What do you think?
Kahta mika tumtum?