More of Fred Mock’s Idaho Chinook Jargon

Many thanks to reader Jeff Wade of Idahistory Tours for this one!

I’ve written about author Fred “Ogal Allah” Mock’s fictional Chinuk Wawa previously.

Now here we have a quotation of him expressing his own sentiments in CW, showing that some subjects are timeless in Idaho.

As I’ve said before, his Jargon isn’t very good. Don’t try imitating it at home. I’ll place the provided English translation between the lines of his CW…


     NAMPAH, Moxt Tahkum Alchee. — 
     ‘Nampa, 12th Month. — ‘

Tyee Deputy Newell, Nika Talis Tilakum: Nika potlatch kopa mika kopa 
‘Chief Deputy Newell: My Dear Friend — I send you with’ 

okoke wawa papeh, sitkum chickamin pa kahta okoke kol. Pe huloimee sit-
‘this talk paper, half the tax money for this year. The other half’ 

kum nika tumtum potlatch nika winapee. Pekacto okoke mamook nika 
‘I will give you by and by. But it makes me’

sick kopa sitkum kopa okoke. Mika 
‘sick to part with it. You’ 

tikeh konaway. Mika ooskan iskum 
‘want everything. You can take it.’

okoke. Kal tum tum okoke konaway
‘Where will it all’ 

wauksee! Konsee tumtum okoke kon-
‘go? When will it all’ 

away opoots! Pe, tumtum okoke 
‘end? Or, will it’

wauksee kopa kwonesum. Spose pot-
‘go on forever? If

latch chickamin iskum klaxta sahalee, 
‘taxes get any higher,’

komooks round. Pe kahta pe nika 
‘it will be the same as kicking my dog around. For, then I

tumtum iskum mesahchee tumtum, pe
‘will get an evil mind, and  

pittuck mika tumtum kishkish nika 
‘maybe you will drive me’ 

pelton. Kopet okoke. 
‘crazy. That is all.’

     Klahowya.     OGAL ALLA, 
     ‘Good-bye. OGAL ALLA,’

Kadeena Tyee Okoke Nampah Siwash.
‘War Chief of the Nampa Tribe.’

— from the Boise (ID) Idaho Statesman of 30 Dec 1918, page 6, columns 1? & 2?

I’m not going to go into details about how terrible Mock’s attempted Jargon is. It’s enough to say that he was taking words out of JK Gill’s dictionary, including many that were marked as “Old Chinook” and were never documented in the Jargon.

And he’s mostly just using Jargon words as a 1-for-1 replacement code for the English that he’s thinking in.

Among the issues with this uncritical, grammar-free usage of Chinuk Wawa —

  • Mock renders ’12’ as if he looked up up the ‘tw-‘ part of the word first, writing moxt tahkum, which is actually ’20’!
  • Mock uses tumtum for a future tense marker ‘will’, whereas in Gill’s dictionary it’s ‘will’ as a noun, i.e. ‘one’s mind, one’s desires’.
  • Mock phrases things like a “Hollywood Indian”, saying for example wawa papeh ‘talking paper’ for a ‘letter’ — I’ve always just seen people say papeh or tzum.

Don’t, please don’t, try to talk Chinuk Wawa like Mr. Mock does! The person who received the letter above wouldn’t have understood it, without the supplied translation.

You need to follow the same grammar as every other actual speaker of this language…

Kahta mika tum-tum? What do you think?