Analogy between the Nootkan and Columbian or Chinook

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Dr. Scouler’s analogy between the Nootkan and “Columbian,” or Chinook, was founded on the following words:


Tlaoquatch and Nutka


plenty *aya *haya
no *wik *wake
water tchaak chuck
good *hooleish *closh
bad *peishakeis *peshak
man *tchuckoop tillicham
woman *tlootsemin *clootchamen
child *tanassis *tanass
now tlahowieh clahowiah
come *tchooqua *sacko
slave mischemas *mischemas
what are you doing *akoots-ka-*mamook ekta-*mammok
what are you saying *au-kaak-*wawa ekta-*wawa
let me see *nannanitch *nannanitch
sun *opeth ootlach
sky *sieya  *saya
fruit  *chamas *camas
to sell *makok *makok
understand *commatax *commatax

* But of these, none marked with an asterisk belong to the Chinook or any of its dialects.

The greater part of them are undoubtedly Nootkan, though there are errors in the spelling and, in some instances, in the meaning. Of the rest, the Nootkan “tchaak” and the Chinook “tl’tsuk” alone presents an analogy. “Klahowiah” does not mean “now,” nor do I believe it is Nootkan, in any sense. It is, as explained in the dictionary, the Chinook salutation, “How do you,” “Good-bye,” and is supposed to be derived from the word for “poor”, “miserable”. “Mischemas” is not Chinook, and is probably not Nootkan. With the exception of Franchere, whose short vocabulary was published by Mr. Gallatin, and Mr. Hale, all the writers mentioned by Ludwig who have given specimens of the Chinook language, have presented it in its Jargon form, more or less mixed with the neighboring ones, and with corruptions of French and English words. Mr. Swan, among others, has been led into this error. The place of his residence, Shoalwater Bay, is common ground of the Chinook and Chihalis Indians, and the degraded remnants of the two tribes are closely intermarried, and use both languages almost indifferently.

MLA Source Citation:

Gibbs, George. Dictionary of the Chinook Jargon or Trade Language of Oregon. New York: Cramoisy Press. 1853. Web. 26 January 2015. - Last updated on Apr 27th, 2013

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