John Muir’s somewhat funky Alaskan Chinuk Wawa
An oldie and a goodie —
Muir’s Glacier Bay, Alaska, cabin (image credit: National Park Service)
Famed naturalist and environmentalist John Muir (1838-1914) spent some time in southeast Alaskan Lingít (“Tlingit”) country in 1879, 1880, 1890, & 1899, and in his memoir, “Travels in Alaska” (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1915), he published a:
of Words in the Chinook Jargon
Chuck: Water, stream.
Delait: Very, or very good.
Friday: Shoreward. [DDR–this one’s what we call a weirdie where I come from. Nobody else has such as word in their Chinuk Wawa documentation! See also Tucktay below.]
Hi yu: A great quantity of, plenty of.
Hootchenoo: A native liquor. See page 202 [of Muir’s book]. [DDR: Muir is pretty much the only person to overtly connect this word, a.k.a. “hooch“, with the Jargon.]
Hyas: Big, very.
Kumtux: Know, understand.
Mica: You, your (singular).
Poogh: Shoot, shooting.
Sagh-a-ya: How do you do. [DDR — a unique spelling, tending to indicate that it’s from Muir’s genuine experience of the Jargon, not copied from someone else’s book]
Tola [i.e. lolo]: Lead (verb).
Tucktay: Seaward. [DDR — a word from Lingít! See also Friday above.]
Tumtum: Mind, heart.
Wawa: Talk (noun or verb).
On pages 98 & 284, for example, Muir specifies that he was no genius of the Jargon, so make of this word list what you will!