Talking Chinook in South Africa with Father Walsh


Father Jolivet (image credit: OMIWorld)

Father Jolivet passes the time pleasantly on a visit to Father Walsh in South Africa of all places, thanks to Chinook!

The following anecdote from a published letter by Jolivet (1826-1903) tells of two Oblate missionary priests finding out, in South Africa, that they both know Chinuk Wawa from time spent in frontier-era British Columbia.

The men involved are James Walsh (a friend of Father Le Jeune’s) and Charles Constant Jolivet (mentioned in a 1915 issue of Le Jeune’s Kamloops Wawa as having been active in interior BC in 1869).

Jolivet reminisces about a couple of titans of BC Chinook Jargon: early missionary Father Fouquet, and Paul Durieu, who taught the Jargon to, among others, Chinuk Pipa inventor Le Jeune.

I’ll show you this in two languages…

south africa 01

— from Annales de la propagation de la foi, volume 54 (1882), page 304

(The contemporaneous English version of the same account) —

south africa 02

–from Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, volume 45(260):264 (1882)

What have you learned?