1899: Santa Juanita Club’s motto

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San Juan Islands of Washington state, early post-frontier era: Chinuk Wawa is the new Latin.A new ladies’ social organization called the Santa Juanita Club (get it?!) took a Jargon motto, ‘Alta Copa Alki‘.

One thing I’ll say about that is, it’s not something a speaker of Chinook would ever say.

It’s not grammatically sound. Literally saying ‘Now to Eventually’, it’s bizarre when you think of it from the standpoint of spoken Jargon.

The issue in fact is that the context, a written motto that need not ever be spoken aloud, is more or less the perfect opposite of actual CW usage.

You might know without my saying this, but < Alta Copa Alki > is dictionary Jargon. I mean, these are highly standardized spellings from Settlers’ popular guidebooks to the language. < Copa > is the most idiosyncratic word here, but it’s still a very common alternative to the ubiquitous < kopa >.

In a nutshell, I’d characterize this admittedly snappy slogan as an entry into our bulging files on White Northwesterners using Chinook Wawa as an ipsut wawa (secret code) against the rest of the world.

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— from the Friday Harbor (WA) San Juan Islander of November 23, 1899, page 3, column 3

What do you think?