About CHINOOK JARGON!: This site and newsletter are my way of sharing my ongoing discoveries about the Pacific Northwest’s unique, historic “national language”, 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 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.

I’m interested in — and write about —

  • language contact (esp. pidgins and The West)
  • Chinook Jargon
  • ‘French of the Mountains’
  • aboriginal Pacific Northwest languages
  • Salish
  • 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  • historical documents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