1874-1880: Merry Chinook Christmas from BC

Thanks to an amateur artist who was on the scene during British Columbia’s frontier era, we have lively pictures of scenes where Chinuk Wawa almost certainly played a part.

Here’s my pick for this Christmas Day:

coming in for christmas

Coming in for Christmas

From the personal experiences of Harry Bullock-Webster, 1855-1942

I see a Métis-style carriole there — what was called in BC Chinuk Wawa lasléi

ɬúsh nowél!

(southern dialect, reflecting the strong influence of French Canadians)

meri krismas!

(northern dialect, reflecting the strong influence of English Canadians)

Here’s a little extra gift, a stocking-stuffer for you: the perfect Chinuk Wawa dictionary, when it exists, will define every word in Chinuk Wawa, so learners will be thinking in CW as they learn more words. When I think of how to define nowél or krismas using the language’s resources, I’m pooling the resources of both dialects to come up with: sán qʰá djísəs yaka chaku-tílixam (‘the day where Jesus was born’), or djísəs yaka t’ɬáp-sán (‘Jesus’s birthday’).

What do you think?