Johny English

johnny english atkinson

No, not this Johnny English. Less funny.

An untranslated post-frontier new article brings a bit of attempted humor in Chinuk Wawa.

I don’t know what “the F.F.W.” was meant as, and I hope it’s not bad…

…because there’s already a couple of shocking racial insults darkening the atmosphere of this piece.

johnny english 01

THE following report of a society event of the F. F. W. is given by the Snohomish Tribune in the classical Chinook:

Johny English yaka midlite copa Tulalip; yaka iskum Mary Swan tolka sun koqua Boston tillicum: yaka iskum license copa Peter Leque, pe clatawa copa Judge Smith’s illihe pe claska wawa copa Judge icta claska tika, pe Judge Smith yaka mamook cow caska [sic] delate skookum. Kimta Judge Smith copet wawa yaka mamook haul okok kloochman yaka lama, pe mamook klosh copa yaka lapush, pe Johny English yaka chaco tenas solix Copa Judge, pe alki Johny nantich [sic] Judge delate klale man pe Johny yaka hoey-hoey tumtum pe yaka mamook he-he, pe yaka wawa cultus copa nika. Johny, pe vaka [sic] klotchman, claska kelipie copa Tulalip okok sun pe claska quanisum sing alta.

— from the Olympia (WA) Washington Standard of August 2, 1895, page 2, column 1

Looking in more detail at that fluent but mean-spirited Chinook Jargon:

Johny English yaka midlite copa Tulalip; yaka iskum Mary Swan tolka sun koqua
Johny English yaka míłayt kʰupa Tulalip; yáka ískam Mary Swan táʔanłkʰi-sán kákwa
Johny English he live at Tulalip; he take Mary Swan yesterday-day like
Johny English lives at Tulalip; he took Mary Swan yesterday (in marriage) like’

Boston tillicum: yaka iskum license copa Peter Leque, pe clatawa copa Judge
bástən-tílixam: yáka ískam license kʰupa Peter Leque, pi łátwa kʰupa Judge
American-people; he get license from Peter Leque, and go to Judge
‘the White people do: he got a license from Peter Leque, and went to Judge’

Smith’s illihe pe claska wawa copa Judge icta claska tika, pe Judge Smith yaka
Smith’s ílihi pi łáska wáwa kʰupa Judge íkta łáska tíki, pi Judge Smith yaka
Smith’s place and they say to Judge what they want, and Judge Smith he
‘Smith’s place and they told the Judge what they wanted, and Judge Smith’

mamook cow caska [sic] delate skookum. Kimta Judge Smith copet wawa yaka
mamuk-k’áw łáska dlét skúkum. kʰimt’á Judge Smith kapit-wáwa yaka
make-tied them really strong. after Judge Smith finish-talk he
‘hitched them good and firm. After Judge Smith finished talking, he’

mamook haul okok kloochman yaka lama, pe mamook klosh [Ø] copa yaka
mamuk-hál úkuk łúchmən yaka líma, pi mamuk-łúsh [Ø] kʰupa yaka
make-pull that woman her hand, and make-good (it) with his
‘grabbed that woman’s hand, and kissed it with his’

lapush, pe Johny English yaka chaco tenas solix Copa Judge, pe alki Johny
labúsh, pi Johny English yaka chaku-tənəs-sáliks kʰupa Judge, pi áłqi Johny
mouth, and Johny English he get-little-angry at Judge, but eventually Johny
‘mouth, and Johny English got perturbed at the Judge, but in a while Johny’

nantich [sic] Judge delate klale man pe Johny yaka hoey-hoey tumtum pe yaka
nánich Judge dlét łíʔil-mán pi Johny yaka húyhuy-tə́mtəm pi yaka
see Judge really black-man and Johny he change-heart and he
‘saw the Judge was a regular black man and Johny had a change of heart and he’

mamook he-he, pe yaka wawa cultus copa nika. Johny, pe vaka [sic] klotchman,
mamuk-híhi, pi yaka wáwa kʰə́ltəs kʰupa náyka. Johny pi yaka łúchmən
make-laugh, and he say no.matter to me. Johny and his woman
‘lightened up, and he said “I don’t care.” Johny and his wife’

claska kelipie copa Tulalip okok sun pe claska quanisum sing alta.
łaska k’ílapay kʰupa Tulalip úkuk sán pi łáska kwánsəm síng álta.
they return to Tulalip this day and they always sing now.
‘went back to Tulalip today and the people are singing and singing (in celebration) now.’

(Note — “license” is also found in Chinook Jargon of the Kamloops, BC area.)

It sounds to me like Judge Smith took a liberty, and that the White newspaper editor is insulting the Indigenous man Johny English for defending his wife’s honor. The disdain comes across loud and clear in Chinook as it would in English, when a pun is made on the American English praise “he’s a real white man” / “mighty white of you”: the Judge is said to be a “real N-word” — by implication, just like Johny and his wife. (Yes, that word was and is used in reference to Native people.)

What do you think?
qʰáta máyka tə́mtəm?

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