“Righteous dude”??

Here’s a heck of a further misinterpretation of a Chinuk Wawa-linked linguistic myth.


Image credit: The Digest

In The Digest, “the world’s most widely-read bioeconomy daily”, an article headlined “Raven Tales” reports on a Great Plains energy company called Raven SR.

Looking to pad a slim article, the writer throws in gratuitous CW:

So: concho nika shikhs — the raven is my friend. There, now you know some Chinook jargon, you are one hyas muckamuck, one righteous dude.

Eh? What’s this concho? This would be a new Chinook Jargon word for us — if it were real. It’s not.

And this hyas muckamuck is the urban language legend that I mentioned. We’ve determined that the US English slang expression, a “high muckymuck”, doesn’t come from the Jargon. The analysis of that phrase as CJ háyásh mə́kʰmək shows us Pacific Northwest folks performing a folk etymology to make sense of an odd-sounding phrase.

The journalist, Jim Lane, goes an unwarranted step further, deciding that “high muckymuck” (contrary to the way the expression has always been used) means something positive, a “righteous dude”.

Pretty interesting to see how Chinuk Wawa echoes around the internet these days. Keep your bullshit detectors powered up!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?