Indian names

Presented, for your consideration: outsiders’ folk-linguistic perceptions of Indian names.  White folks love thinking about them. They have weird phonology… We have found that the easiest way to pronounce certain Indian names is to… Continue reading

Pigeon Indian, or, how to talk to the Chinese

From an 1887 article titled “Siwash potlatches”, a novel theory of why Chinese immigrants speak Chinook Jargon: It was while I was in Ta- coma, by the way, that a very gifted and… Continue reading

The hoary anecdote of the Spotted Tails

Newspapers have a custom of printing stories from sources far away. In the 21st century, that’s because they get so much from online sources.  In the 20th, it was wire services like AP… Continue reading

Soapology and washology velly chep

Chinese Pidgin English in the Northwest language mix. It makes another appearance in stereotyped Chinese-laundry form in this ad: SOAPOLOGY and WASH OLOGY Velly Chep WASHTUBS WASHBOARDS BLUEING SOAP WASHING POWDER AMMONIA BORAX… Continue reading

1800s slang words from Barkerville, BC

Somebody asked about “1800s slang words from Barkerville, BC“. That’s a legitimate language-contact question.  Barkerville, for its whole existence as a real town, was a new community that was populated by people from… Continue reading

Fort Vancouver mobile app

A key venue in the history of Chinook Jargon, the fur trade and the Pacific Northwest now has “an app for that”: Fort Vancouver Mobile.  It looks promising! I quote: The Fort Vancouver Mobile… Continue reading

CHINOOK BOOK: El Comancho would like your style, dudes

There’s a progressive coupon-book company in the West who go by “Chinook Book“. The story of that name is an interesting historical tie-in… Our Purpose The original Chinook Book was published in Seattle… Continue reading

Shit’s Chinook, chittim ain’t

I keep noticing odd-smelling claims around the Internet that “chittim” is a word from Chinook Jargon.  I haven’t found proof.  I think it ain’t. Chittim (or chittem or chittam) is said to be… Continue reading

Bone River, by Megan Chance

An interesting kind of literature now added to the Chinook Jargon archive is the audiobook–for example Megan Chance’s “Bone River”. Listen to a sample, read by well-known narrator and voiceover artist Amy Rubinate.… Continue reading

Video: The Chinook Jargon we never knew…but will!

This talk was fun to give! “The Chinook Jargon We Never Knew–But Will“ David Robertson speaks at Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon, April 3rd, 2013.