A cussin’ political opinion

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‘Melican man damn foolee (image credit: ebay)

In the “Let’s Look at More West Coast Pidgin Languages” Department:

Political commentary in our region’s variety of Chinese Pidgin English about the big national issue of the 1890s.

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There was a Salem gold standard man seen standing on Commercial street, giving a Chinaman a dose of sound money doctrine Saturday, but the Chinaman said: “Me heep sabbee; ‘Melican man no likee silber, ‘Melican man damn foolee.

— from the Salem (OR) Daily Capital Journal of October 12, 1896, page 2, column 1

That translates as ‘I understand very well; Americans don’t like silver, Americans are damn fools.’

The usual observations apply:

  • No translation is given by the newspaper editor, because most folks understood CPE pretty well from actual experience with it, just as we’ve seen with Chinuk Wawa.
  • Chinese speakers of CPE are represented as cussin’.
  • And they’re used for comic relief, even when expressing genuine and solid viewpoints.

What have you learned?