1893: Chinook chat with BC Natives in Chicago

An excerpt from still another published account of talking Chinook with BC Native people who were on exhibit (yup) at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.


Kwakwaka’wakw people at 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (image credit: “Theirs or Ours?” at Vassar.edu)

The hometown paper seems to have made a point not to translate the quoted Jargon. Local pride, eh. Plus, most Victorians understood Chinuk Wawa in 1893.

Linguistics 101 question:

Does “manage, manage, manage” (nánich nánich nánich ‘look look look’) count as reduplication? You can infer my answer from what you see below.

Here’s the relevant snipping from the article:


…We saw totem poles in the distance and hurrying up came to Mr. James Deans and his British Columbia Indians. I poked my head in at the entrance with, “Klahowyah, tillicum!” and before I was well inside I was surrounded by men and squaws, tenass men and maidens. Even a little pappoose cried out joyfully so did their hearts warm to the classic Chinook. “Cah mika illahie?” demanded one stalwart Siwash. “Victoria,” I meekly replied. His broad face opened up in one expansive smile of approbation. “Victoria delate hias kloosh,” was his verdict. Then his face darkened and he added, “Chicago wake kloosh. Boston man hiyu wa-wa, hiyu manage, manage, manage.” Their chief grief was that Lake Michigan, by being “halo salt chuck,” was therefore something of a fraud, which coupled with a clam and a salmon famine made them long for a real juicy humped-back or dogfish, their ancestral muck-a-muck and the freedom of native heath where they would not be troubled by the ill-bred gaze of the ignoble vulgar…

— from the Victoria (BC) Daily Times of August 28, 1893, page 4, column 5


“Klahowyah, tillicum!”
= ɬax̣á(w)ya(m), tílixam!
‘hello, friend!’
The use of tillicum (fundamentally ‘person, people’) as ‘friend’ always seems more of a Settler style than a way that other folks would talk. 

tenass men
= tənəs-mán
‘young men’. 

= papús*
‘baby, small child’.
As a Chinook Jargon word, it’s more typical of BC than of other places. 

“Cah mika illahie?”
qʰá mayka ílihi
‘Where is your (home) place?’
In some situations, this common question is functionally synonymous with qʰá mayka cháku? ‘Where do you come from?’ But because the latter has an active verb in it, it can easily be used as, and understood as, the more present-moment-oriented ‘Where have you come from? / Where are you coming from?’ 

= sáwásh

“Victoria delate hias kloosh”
= Victoria dlé(y)t hayas-ɬúsh
‘Victoria is really wonderful.’

“Chicago wake kloosh. Boston man hiyu wa-wa, hiyu manage, manage, manage.”
= shikágo* wík-ɬúsh. bástən-mán hayu(-)wáwa, hayu(-)nánich, nánich, nánich.
‘Chicago is bad. The Americans talk a lot (and) stare, stare, stare.’ 

“halo salt chuck”
= hílu sáltsəqw
‘not the ocean / not saltwater.’ 

= mə́kʰmək

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?