What Chinook do you remember? “shmamuk”

What memories do you have of Chinook Jargon? Here’s a great one from reader Hugh Ryder:


(Image credit: Twitter)

How about the word “shmamuk”? That is no doubt bad spelling, but I think that it has the same meaning as “musem”. i don’t know if it is Chinook jargon or interior Salish or what.

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In the mid 70s I worked at the Gang Ranch in the Chilcotin of B.C. and often the crew was mostly natives from Dog Creek and Canoe Creek. The older fellows used to tease me alot and even though I couldn’t understand their native accent well I knew enough to blush, which they thought very funny. Shmamuk was one word that stuck with a teenage boy! It just meant to have sex.I found out that it was fairly universal in the area. Unfortunately I didn’t learn many words but that one seemed important.

My response to Hugh, because this all started as Comments to another article on my site:

I see. Thanks for adding this information, it really brings the picture into lively focus, Hugh. You’ve just taught me that those fellas seem to have taken Chinook Jargon mamuk into their Shuswap language. (Secwepemctsín Salish.) In that language you can turn a verb into a noun by putting s- at the start of it. So s-mamuk would be the act of having sex. And it’d be pronounced “shmamuk”, in a Secwépemc accent. Excellent thing to learn, hayu masi to you!

(Mamuk = ‘to do’.)
What a neat discovery! All because one of my readers shared. 😎

ikta chinuk-wawa mayka kəmtəks kʰapa anqati?

Put it into a Comment here,
or email me,
or message me on the Facebook “Chinook Jargon” group.
— Dave Robertson