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

Hard hardwood, creolization, deviltree, and pissed-off voyageurs

Ah, some deviltree! Just in time for Halloweeeen! 🙂 q̓ə́l-q̓əl stík:  Literally ‘hard-hard wood’. Finding this in C. Snow’s field notes with the meaning ‘oak’, I checked his sometimes interesting CJ phonetics against the Grand Ronde dictionary. Surprising… Continue reading

Same-sex marriage in Chinuk Wawa, 1876

I’m reposting this because, in the course of my work, I’ve revisited it and come up with what I think is the intended translation. Enjoy this lovely, elusive unicorn of a Chinuk Wawa sentence!… Continue reading

Basket Maker, West Coast Kloochman

Maybe she’s łəw̓ál̓məš — Lower Chehalis: Basket Maker, West Coast Kloochman (click to embiggen)

“Across the Wide Missouri” needs a script

Thanks to the powers that be, I have a copy of “Across the Wide Missouri“, the famous Hollywood movie with lots of Chinuk Wawa dialogue and a weirdly ingratiating Clark Gable. It would… Continue reading

An actual 1st-person, near-death experience (Le Jacq’s letter)

I hope you’re able to follow along when I present these little texts of Chinook Jargon. There is so much there. I try to give an English translation that suggests what an actual… Continue reading

Pooty good!

Just the bullets: New Chinuk Wawa word discovered: “pooty”.*. (As usual this only means we’ve just now noticed it). *Rendered in a Huckleberry Finn spelling to help you guess what it means. Got… Continue reading