1888 BC CPE: Chinese superstition

chinese chicken oath

Chinese chicken oath, Nanaimo, BC, 1913 (image credit: Courthouse Libraries BC)

Also in the department of “Other Pidgin Languages on the West Coast”…

Here is a Chinese immigrant in late-frontier Richfield [sic], British Columbia (near Barkerville), quoted in a sort of Chinese Pidgin English that’s been made to resemble literary English, by standardization of spellings, greater employment of “the”, and the use of a fancy word or two like “else”.

It’s also of real interest that the Chinese witness spoken of here was allowed to swear his oath in a Canadian court by a Chinese custom involving decapitating a chicken. Accepted variants of this included the Paper Oath and the Broken Dish Oath.

Read and learn…

chinese superestition

Ah,” said a Chinese merchant near, “that man tell big lie over the cock’s head and the blood. He die in one month or six week. No more Chinaman tell lie over cock’s head in Cariboo. Else he very quick die. Chinaman sabbee.

[Sabbee = ‘know’.]

— from the Astoria (OR) Daily Morning Astorian of October 5, 1888, page 2, column 2

What do you think?