Métis French is part English :)

metis circa 1825

Métis, circa 1825 (image credit: Wikipedia)

When I look through a dictionary of Michif (mixed Cree-French language of Métis people, just possibly one of Chinuk Wawa’s ancestor languages), I see a good deal of French + English blending…

And this has implications for Chinuk Wawa’s several words that have possible etymologies in both languages, similar to what I recently wrote about tanis ‘dance’.

Here are some beautiful samples from Laverdure & Allard’s dictionary of Michif (hayu masi to Dale McCreery for a copy).

One category of such blends, it turns out, are key terms in Métis history, so I’m thinking they go way back to Red River Colony days if not earlier:

  • ‘jig’ (a dance style): la jig
  • ‘a reel’ (a dance style): en ril
  • ‘wagon’: li wawgoon
  • ‘a sleigh’: en slee
  • ‘farm’: la farm

And there are more recent words:

  • ‘polka’: li poka [sic]
  • ‘job’: la job
  • ‘a forget-me-not’ (a flower): aen forget-me-not

I suspect it’s worth pointing out that there’s probably been a bit of English in Métis speech for a long time, and it could’ve affected the course of Chinook Jargon’s development to some extent.

What do you think?