Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa in the “Kalapuya Texts” (part 3: “English” words)


siyápuł-íłwəli-típsu, Kalapuya brunnea (image credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve seen a bunch of obviously Chinuk Wawa words sprinkled into K’alapuyan in the first two installments of this mini-series; now, quite a few that are disguised as English…

Read on to see what I mean.


There are many words in the texts that are labeled by Jacobs as (E.) for ‘loaned from English’.

His reasons for that label seem to boil down to this: they are pronounced very similarly to the English originals, and carry fewer indications of being assimilated to Indigenous phonology than does the above list of “Chinook Jargon words”.

This is a pretty subjective distinction, and I’d differ with Jacobs over it.

It’s near-guaranteed that all of these same words were in common use in the speakers’ Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa, whether they’ve been previously documented as such or not.

Look how many are names of places in the vicinity, not to mention names of people who these K’alapuyan speakers personally encountered.

Then there are “Adam” and “Eve”, who would’ve been spoken of in Chinuk Wawa preaching by Father Adrian Croquet, among others.

For many or most of these (most obviously with acculturated and foreign personal and place names), you’ll find that there just is no other known clear Jargon word for the concept — such as “yoke” and “agent” and “acre”.

Certainly “hops”, “quarter”, “soldiers”, and “steamboat” are already known to be Chinuk Wawa words.

So let’s make a list of these (E.) items, with the forewarning to my readers that Jacobs did not record these words in detailed phonetics — only in standard English spellings — due to his assumptions:

acre (page 171)

Adam (page 341)

agent (page 337)

Alsea (348)

Brownsville (340)

Cayuse (page 337)

Charley (page 193)

Columbia (page 338)

Corvallis (page 337)

Dick (page 193)

Donald McCoy (page 337)  (note the informal local pronunciation of “McKay”)

Eugene (page 338)

Eve (page 341)

General Palmer (page 168)

Grand Ronde (page 171)

hops (page 338)

Jack (page 172)

James (page 172)

Jim (page 339)

Joe (page 172)

John (page 192) 

McCloud (page 165) (McLeod?)

McKenzie (page 339) (place name near Eugene, cf. page 341)

Mitchell (page 337)

Palmer (page 171)

quarter (page 191)

Salem (page 338)

Sam (page 171)

soldiers (page 337)

steamboat (page 293)

vote (page 171)

WarmSpring (page 337) (written as one word)

Yakima (page 337)

yoke (page 171) (Cf. /yuG/ in part 1 of this mini-series!)

Some words that I think Jacobs intended to mark as English are missing from this list, like on page 30: rheumatis [sic]. (“Rheumatiz” is an oldtime folksy pronunciation of the disease “rheumatism”.)

There’s also a slave named ‘Chamberlain’, tci’mbəlin, with a plain “b”, used without K’alapuyan noun prefixes; for personal names, this appears to be normal.

I think it’s not unnecessary boldness to claim that every word listed above qualifies as Chinuk Wawa instead of English.

There’s plenty more coming…stay tuned to this mini-series!

What have you learned?