The first person to connect Chinook and shorthand

Railways and Rapid Writing 01

This is almost uncanny.

In the “Beaten to the Punch” Dept.: Today’s article was published half a decade before the Oblate Catholic missionaries in British Columbia even discussed whether it could be possible to write Chinuk Wawa in shorthand — which went on to actually become the first literacy of many Indigenous communities.

To add to my feeling of “dang it, I wish I’d known of this article when I was working on my dissertation about Kamloops Chinuk Wawa”: this writer also makes a connection with Industrial Revolution-era efficiency concerns. Which was the subject of a section of my diss.

Another fashionable idea of the time is invoked, social Darwinism, the survival of the fittest cultural adaptation.

Oh well. You always have to pick an arbitrary point to say “I’m done paying tuition”. But add this interesting little 1885 piece to the file. Here’s just a snippet that’s relevant to Chinook, but you can click to go read the whole essay (and the fascinating ads written in shorthand).

Railways and Rapid Writing 02

— from the Phonetic Journal 16(44) (April 18, 1885), pages 190-191

What do you think?

Advertisements