About CHINOOK JARGON!: This site is my way of sharing my ongoing discoveries about the Pacific Northwest’s unique, historic “national language”, Chinuk Wawa a.k.a. Chinook Jargon — and making a living using my education.


About me: I’m a linguist.  My mentor was the late, inimitable Robert Austerlitz, who demonstrated every day that linguistics is fun.  My PhD dissertation is about a British Columbia (Canada) pidgin dialect ‘Kamloops Chinuk Wawa’, and its writing system ‘Chinuk pipa’.  It analyzes around 150 of the Aboriginal-written texts I’ve located. This is the first full grammar of a CW variety, and perhaps of any pidgin language in the world. 

I’m interested in — and write about —

  • language contact, especially pidgins and The West: 
    • Chinook Jargon
    • the distinct West Coast variety of Chinese Pidgin English
    • pidgin Heiltsuk
    • so-called Nootka Jargon
  • Métis languages, including:
    • CJ
    • BC’s ‘French of the Mountains’/Michif French
    • the Cree-French mixed language known as (Southern/Heritage) Michif
  • aboriginal Pacific Northwest languages, with an emphasis on:
    • Salish (I do a lot of work on the neglected ɬəw’ál’məš / Lower Chehalis language)
    • Chinookan (particularly Natítanui / Clatsop / Shoalwater Lower Chinookan)
  • language revitalization
  • historical documents
  • anthropological study of language
  • writing systems
  • missionary linguistics
  • ‘Basic Linguistic Theory’ (grammatical description + lexicography + text collection)
  • names (onomastics)

as well as…

  • words that can’t be spelled (for example what I might approximate as “cazh”, 1980s slang for “casual; cool”)
  • invented languages — conlangs — artificial languages — science-fiction languages — movie languages

Job offers are welcome, my friend.  Freelance to full-time.

Klahawiam x naika nim x Dave