1897: Auf nach Alaska

I’m not going to transcribe this German description of Chinook Jargon (any of my readers want to do that)…but…


…I can tell you that it’s drawn more from John Kaye Gill’s popular Chinuk Wawa dictionary than it is from real speech.

The biggest giveaway is the writer’s mistakenly copying “chicamin gold, chicamin silver, chicamin copper” on his page 54 (just before the seam between two of my snips of that page) from Gill, whose dictionary actually shows this:

gill chicamin

(T’kope chick-a-min; silver. Pil chick-a-min; gold, copper or brass.)

This shows some incomprehension of both Jargon and of English, I think.

Other indicators of barely concealed plagiarism from Gill are the Jargon translation of ‘widow’ as kloochman yahka man memaloose (literally ‘woman whose husband is dead’).

On general principles, the following German description of Chinuk Wawa is probably one of the best available at the time. Enjoy it if you know the language and can read Fraktur!

auf nach alaska 1

auf nach alaska 2

auf nach alaska 3

auf nach alaska 4

auf nach alaska 5

— from “Auf nach Alaska: Ein Fuehrer fuer Wagemutige” (Off to Alaska: A Guide for the Daring) by Joachim van Moeller (Charlottenburg: Friedrich Thiel, 1897), pages 53-55

Was denkst du?
What do you think?