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

I was saying about “railroad” being Chinuk Wawa…

…and here’s a real example in the Jargon of an Aboriginal fella. Joseph Thompson, probably recently surnamed thus for his Salish tribal affiliation, contributed a letter to issue #94 (03 September 1893) of Kamloops Wawa,… Continue reading

A second word for ‘sailor’

I talked yesterday about a word for “sailor”, shipman, that most likely jumped ship from the S.S. Chinook Jargon and took up residence in Hul’q’umi’num’ Salish of southwestern Vancouver Island, Canada — so today let’s pursue the… Continue reading

1907 letter in Chinook to Edmond Meany

James “Jim” A. Wood‘s letter in Chinook Jargon to Professor Edmond Meany, June 25, 1907, regarding the upcoming (1909) Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. Typically for the West, we were in a rush: the expo was planned… Continue reading

A Salish word for talking pidgin

So I take it: <hwshupmenqun> in Hul’q’umi’num’ of Vancouver Island, BC is said to mean “speak broken English”. In Americanist notation, that’d be xʷšəpménqən. It’s thought to be “probably from ‘shipman’ “. (With… Continue reading

A metaphor: “to eat” as “to hold a grudge”?

I’ve noticed this expression a few times through the years in my travels through the expansive Chinuk pipa shorthand world: makmak, with a human as its direct object. Nowhere have I found this term overtly… Continue reading

An American Indian pidgin in a Top 20 song

I heard a Native American pidgin in an old Top 20 song today! Or I was hearing a creole of French that’s native to Louisiana! Or it was an amazing but believable African… Continue reading

Earliest use of “law” in Chinook Jargon?

“Law”, like most English-origin loanwords in Chinook Jargon, was studiously omitted from the frontier-era vocabularies. You have to figure: reasons of economy. Paper was expensive, ink too. Both were rare. Anyone who could… Continue reading

Chinuk-wawa in education: The solar system

Chinuk-wawa was used to educate people about science, social studies and more — over 100 years before the revitalization and immersion program at Grand Ronde. In his Kamloops Wawa newspaper, Father Le Jeune himself didn’t… Continue reading