“Quiggly hole”, “quiggly town” and “kick willy”

Acknowledgments are due to Mike Cleven for making me aware of these Canadianisms borrowed from Chinook Jargon.  Here’s another good online discussion of uniquely Canadian words. There are a lot of ways to… Continue reading

Nisbet, “David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work”

Nisbet, Jack.  2012.  David Douglas: A naturalist at work / An illustrated exploration across two centuries in the Pacific Northwest.  Seattle: Sasquatch. I was given a superb holiday present by my wife: a… Continue reading

“Head hunting jargon”: fair warning

If you’ve found your way to this blog by typing “head hunting jargon” into a search engine, let me say, Beware. Two reasons: First: Head hunting was never a big thing in the… Continue reading

Reader poll: how to write in Chinook Jargon?

How to write in Chinook Jargon? Thanks for voting! Share with friends so they can vote too! –David Douglas ROBERTSON–


Chinookers will recognize “callipeen” as a Jargon word for “rifle”–or generically for “gun”.  I’m more used to the synonym “maskit” (musket), but both are valid. Like a lot of languages’ words for this… Continue reading


Do check out Omniglot.com. It’s an extensive collection of the world’s writing systems. There’s something fascinating and eye-opening about seeing the many ways humans have invented to write their languages. I’ll have a… Continue reading

Grade-school Chinuk Wawa words?

If you were going to give a talk about Chinook Jargon at an elementary school, What would be your shortlist of grade-school Chinuk Wawa Words? I might for example go to the most… Continue reading

Reviewing a reviewer of Making Wawa

I have just read a long JPCL review of Geo Lang’s “Making Wawa” book. The reviewer lists every page where George could have cited him.  (The reviewer.) I’d like to find copies of… Continue reading

What makes western Canadian English unique?

The textbook for a linguistics course I’m teaching notes a distinct western Canadian dialect of English. For distinct lexical features, it pretty much only mentions “skookum”. I enjoyed the opportunity to expand on… Continue reading

New: A biography of Edward Curtis

National Public Radio ran an interview this morning with Timothy Egan, the author of a new biography of Edward Curtis.  It was fascinating, and it’s worth a listen. The book is titled Short Nights of… Continue reading