A visit to the Roslyn, WA museum

On our way back to Spokane from a visit to the coast, we stopped in at Roslyn, Washington, one of my mom’s and late dad’s favorite little towns. This town was founded in… Continue reading

The Land of the Muskeg

“The Land of the Muskeg” by Henry [Charles Augustus] Somers Somerset.  London: William Heinemann, 1895. Another in the rip-roaring fun fin-de-siècle genre of gentleman hunters’ nonfiction travel narratives, “Land of the Muskeg” by Hank,… Continue reading

Help! What does “holy mucky flip” mean?

This question came in to me: “Help! What does ‘holy mucky flip‘ mean?” Can any of you help? Sounds like maybe Utah talk to me.

Recommended: “A new mixed language in the news”

Over at the Language Log, Sally Thomason writes of a new language. It’s not an intentionally constructed one like Klingon.  And it’s not a pidgin / creole like Chinook Jargon. It is a… Continue reading

Dear Tillicum thieves…

Found in someone’s Facebook stream… Dear Tillicum thieves!

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