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Chinook Jargon (Tsinuk Wawa)

The Chinook Jargon was a major pidgin trade language based on Chinook, the Penutian language of a prominent Indian tribe of what is now the Washington coast. Though this pidgin almost certainly existed in some form in pre-Columbian times (west-coast Indian oral histories make mention of it, accusing the Chinook of being too haughty to teach members of other tribes the true form of their language), it truly took off after the arrival of Europeans put increased communication pressures on the linguistically diverse tribes of the west. At its heyday in the 1800's the Chinook Jargon was spoken by some 100,000 people, and in fact there are native elders in British Columbia and Washington state who still remember some of the jargon, even though the Chinook language itself had died out by 1930.

Chinook Jargon Language Resources

Chinook Jargon Vocabulary:
    Our list of vocabulary words in the Chinook Jargon, with comparison to words in other Penutian languages.
Chinook Wawa:
    Description and history of the Chinook Jargon, with language lessons, grammar, and vocabulary.
Chinook Trade Jargon:
    Online collection of Chinook Jargon language materials including four dictionaries and a language map.
Kamloops Wawa:
    Chinook Wawa vocabulary written in Duployan script characters ("shorthand").
Yinka Dene Language Institute: Chinook Jargon:
    Article on the Chinook trade jargon, with a linguistic bibliography.
Chinook Language:
    Quicktime videos of a Chinook man describing the old Chinook language and its influence on Chinook Wawa.
Wikipedia: Chinook Jargon:
    Encyclopedia article on the Chinook trade language.
The Wawa Shorthand:
    List of symbols used in writing the Chinook Jargon.
Chinook Placenames:
    Chart of place names in Chinook and Wasco-Wishram.
Chinook Wawa Prayers:
    Chinook Jargon translation of the Lord's Prayer and other Christian prayers.
House of Languages: Chinook Jargon:
    Information about Chinook Wawa language usage.
Chinook Jargon:
    Demographic information about the Chinook Jargon from the Ethnologue of Languages.
Chinook Jargon Language Tree:
    Theories about Chinook Jargon's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.

Books For Sale On The Chinook Jargon

Chinook Jargon: The Hidden Language of the Pacific Northwest * Chinook: A History and Dictionary:
    Two books about the Chinook Jargon, with vocabulary, history, and cultural background.
The Chinook Jargon: A Complete and Exhaustive Lexicon:
    Dictionary of the Chinook Jargon language for sale.

Links, References, and Additional Information

Lengua Jerga Chinook * Le Jargon Chinook:
Information on the Chinook Jargon language in Spanish and French.



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