Chez vous

chez vous

(Image credit: Yelp)

One use of the all-purpose preposition < kopa > (kʰapa) that may trace back to French influence is the “chez vous” expression.

French “chez” is a preposition that, like Russian “u”, expresses ‘in the sphere of influence of’. (That’s how my brainy Russian teachers in college put it.) Mainly, you hear “chez vous” and “chez toi” meaning ‘at your place’ etc.

< Kopa mika > (kʰapa máyka) in Chinuk Wawa can mean just the same as this. George Gibbs recognized this quite a long time ago:

In my experience of Chinook Jargon, just as in French, this can express a location ‘at your place/home’ or a direction ‘to your place/home’.

Some occurrences of this expression will be ambiguous, because you can often understand < kopa > as ‘with’. Gibbs’s example shown above is like that.

For speakers who use the distinct preposition < konamoxt > (kʰánumákwst) ‘with’ less than others, then, the chez vous expression will be a little harder to spot.

But it’s there.

And I suspect it’s more evidence of Canadian/Métis French influence on early Chinuk Wawa.

It seems distinctly un-English. I have to admit, I don’t yet know whether a parallel structure exists in the local Indigenous languages, so, I don’t lack for further research to do.

What do you think?