More of Bonnycastle Dale’s Chinook Jargon
When the first word in a short article is an offensive use of a Chinuk Wawa word, I’m already skeptical…
…I’m even more on alert when the article purports to feature an action photo of the “leap of a cut-throat trout”; the technology of the time wouldn’t allow that, and the image is laughably contrived:
The photo and the Jargon in the article are comparable. This doesn’t exceed the low expectations we’ve built up from previous exposure to writer Bonnycastle Dale.
As so there’s so little of the latter, I’ll quote pretty fully from page 236.
First you have the “Kwakiutl” Indian guide being represented as having a Chinuk Wawa name. That is, the language isn’t specified, but my readers are likely to recognize < O’poots > as úpuch ‘tail; buttocks’ and by extension ‘stern’. I could always be wrong, but I have strong doubts that there was anyone such named person:
O’POOTS was at the stern…
Then the author throws in a couple of numbers lifted from a dictionary, sínamakwst-táłlam (‘seven tens’) and íxt ták’umunaq (‘one hundred’) :
“Sin-a-mokst taht-le-lum,” grunted the guide.
“Ikt-tak-a-mo-nuk,” laughed Fritz, to show his knowledge of Chinook.
“I think you are both too high,” I answered. The Indian had guessed seventy pounds and Fritz, in his boyish enthusiasm, had hazarded a hundred.
— from “Salmon Fishing in British Columbia” LXXXI:8 (February 21, 1914), pages 236-237
I think all of the above is an instance of a frequent literary trope in the post-frontier era, equating Chinook Jargon with White outdoorsy masculinity and competence.