1869: Indian Excitement is the word on the street
What I love about today’s short-but-sweet note is that it’s so demonstrative…
…of how Pacific Northwest English-language newspaper editors during Chinuk Wawa’s heyday would throw in some of the language, spelled any old way, without a translation.
Every element of that picture shows you that CW was a regular street lingo.
Essentially everyone kumtuxed enough of it to get along just closhe.
And they hadn’t yet run into the idea of standardizing the spellings of it, so they didn’t get tripped up when they ran into new ways of writing the words. They were used to just talking it anyway, so they seem to have recognized written CW words by sounding them out. Which also happens to be exactly how Kamloops’s Chinuk Pipa alphabet was learned by most of its Indigenous users.
(This eventually did change. Around 1900, with so very many published Chinook Jargon dictionaries in circulation, certain spellings came to be the most often used among White folks.)
Anyway, here we have a small news item about a rumor of Native unrest, after the Snake Indian War had ended.
INDIAN EXCITEMENT. — That little breeze kicked up in relation to Indian affairs in Idaho, recently, has subsided, and icters are pronounced closh.
— from the Albany (OR) Register of May 8, 1869, page 2, column 2
Icters = íktas = ‘things’.
Closh = łúsh = ‘good’.