Purposes & dialect differences

Whether there are dialects in Chinook Jargon used to be an actively debated question……And in my PhD dissertation defense, I was asked to justify my claims about them.

But I think we’ve learned so much more about the language over these past 20-ish years, that there’s simply no question.

Due to historical factors (no fur-trade pun intended!), Chinuk Wawa has many patterned differences in vocabulary and grammar between two main regions, an older southern one versus a newer northern one.

This amounts to a distinction between:

  1. The general lower Columbia River area where CW took form and, quite early, “creolized” from a trade lingo into a home language. (For excellent historical reasons, this includes western Oregon, which even overlaps slightly into northwest California.)
    Examples below come from Grand Ronde’s 2012 dictionary.
  2. Everywhere else that CW eventually took root — northeast Oregon, most of Washingon, British Columbia, southeast Alaska.
    Examples shown will be from Kamloops Wawa.

Here I’ll demonstrate one of the grammar differences that helps you diagnose which dialect someone speaks: how they express purposes.

Lower Columbia River (“southern”) dialect:

NULL — motion for a purpose

áłqi na łátwa ____ nánich ya.
‘I’ll go (to) see him’

nayka cháku ____ ískam mayka.
‘I have come to get you (to give you a ride).’

Pus (spos) — all other purposes (A. nouns & pronouns; B. adverbs; C. verbs)

A. qʰá uk money cháku pus náyka?
   ‘Just where in the world does that money for me come from?’

B. na hayu-wáwa pus kʰə́ltəs.
‘I’ve been talking for nothing (to no effect).’

C. hílu-íkta pus múnk…
   ‘There’s nothing you need do…’ [‘There’s nothing to (be) do(ne)…’]

“Northern” dialect:

NULL — motion for a purpose

…< Pi ikta msaika klatwa ____ nanich? >…
‘…And what do you folks go (to) see?…’

< Klatwa ____ mamuk kopa naika wain olali ilihi. > 
‘Go (to) work in my vineyard.’

Pus (spos) — verbs

… < naika mash naika lisash…, pus iaka mamuk tlus oihat >…
‘…I send my angel…, for him to make a good road…’

< Wik na naika taii pus mamuk kakwa naika tomtom? >
‘Aren’t I the boss to do as I like?’

Kopa — everything else (A. nouns & pronouns; B. adverbs; C. (predicative) adjectives)

A. … < nsaika mamuk oihat kopa iaka. >
‘…we make a path for him.’

B. … < alta pi kopa kwanisim. Amin.>
   ‘…now and for ever. Amen.’

C. … < wik mash [SIC] masachi tolo msaika, tlus msaika tolo masachi kopa tlus. >
‘…don’t let evil beat you folks, you should beat evil for the good.’

What do you think?