Category Archive: Chinook Jargon

Chinook saw

I’m blogging this for the name “Chinook saw”.  This was a mystery we discussed 16 years ago on the CHINOOK listserv. The phrase “Chinook saw” turns up in the Thompson River Salish dictionary,… Continue reading

Tobacco: not just an Indian weed

Tobacco‘s but an Indian weed, said a moralistic Elizabethan song: But it sure was popular. Chinook Jargon had many words for it… I want to add one to the documentation. You’ll never guess it. Will… Continue reading

Prosch’s ms. dictionary: a critical find

Washington territory pioneer Thomas Wickham Prosch (1850-1915 and yes, a son of early [1857] North Oregon settler, Steilacoom newspaper editor, and official territorial publisher, Charles Prosch) published a Chinook Jargon dictionary in 1888 that I… Continue reading

Til mamuk: a Kamloops idiom

Til mamuk: literally “heavy work”: an expressive idiom for violent mayhem. You’re only going to discover this one if you take the trouble to dig into Kamloops Chinook Jargon, shorthand alphabet and all. First of… Continue reading

Kata meaning “messed up” outside of Grand Ronde creole

One use of qʰáta, literally ‘how’, that’s always seemed to me an idiom characteristic of the Grand Ronde (Oregon) creole variety of Chinuk Wawa is as a predicative adjective (or stative verb, it… Continue reading

What do saying a Catholic mass & a near-death experience have in common?

What do saying a Catholic mass & a near-death experience have in common? I’m sorry to say there is a sad answer to that, for many who went through the residential-school experience, but… Continue reading

Alcoholism and the first literate generation

I’m not intentionally connecting alcoholism with the introduction of literacy to people who had never known it, but you’ll often find the two subjects cheek-by-jowl in the letters of the Oblate missionary priests. One… Continue reading

A weird duck from Duflot de Mofras

Eugène Duflot de Mofras authored another of the French-language sources that are less well-known in the Pacific Northwest, but very valuable for researching our history. It’s his 1844 book “Exploration du territoire de l’Orégon, de… Continue reading

A long(,) lost Jesuit manuscript of Jargon?

Nous avons vu, entre les mains d’un Père Jésuite de Saint-Paul, un dictionnaire manuscrit assez volumineux sur la langue Tchinook, qu’il s’était, pendant quinze années, donné la fastidieuse peine de rédiger pour l’usage… Continue reading

How to say “copy machine” in Chinuk Wawa

(Just don’t say kaupy machine.)* Here is the moment when Chinook Jargon office work was born 🙂 As pictured above, issue #9 of the young Kamloops Wawa newspaper set several standards for the new literate culture that… Continue reading