Edna Ferber’s connection with Chinook Jargon

“Ferber’s works often concerned small subsets of American culture, and sometimes took place in exotic locations she had visited but was not intimately familiar with, like Texas or Alaska. She thus helped to highlight the diversity of American culture to those who did not have the opportunity to experience it. Some novels are set in places she hadn’t visited.” — Wikipedia


Thanks to my colleague John Lyon for bringing a trace of Chinuk Wawa in great American writer Edna Ferber’s novels to my attention.

In her book “Great Son” (1945), the CW loan into Pacific NW English, tillicum, turns up in one family’s baby talk:

tikum 1

tikum 2

In another Ferber novel, “Ice Palace” (1958; movie 1960), we find another common PNW term from Jargon, in the novel spelling “cheechawker”: 


Not a lot of Jargon, but at the time, these had very great public visibility; Edna Ferber sold a ton of books.

And this second one was made into an all-star film (Richard Burton! George Takei!), so somewhere out there we should be able to snag a GIF of some Hollywood biggie saying “cheechawker”!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?