|Money & Work | Getting Around | Trade Goods & Food | Phrases|
|As Chinook's origins lay in trade and communications between tribes of radically differing linguistic roots, and the jargon developed in the course of trade between native peoples and non-natives, it is only natural that words for trade and commerce were important and common parts of the vocabulary, as were words used in the course of travel. Most words here for buying and selling products and modes of travel; for effective bargaining, of course, numbers would be needed, as would common greetings and courtesies. and the usual interrogatives and interjections. Sample phrases for doing business or asking directions will be found towards the bottom of this page.|
Dolla, tolla, tollah - dollar, money
Pil dolla - gold. Chickamin dolla - silver. Dolla seahhost - spectacles.
Sitkum dolla, etc. - half-dollar, fifty cents
Kwatah, kwahtah - quarter, two bits
Bit, pit, mit - a dime or shilling (i.e. "one bit")
Chickamin, Chickaminnie - metal (esp. iron) money, valuables
Pil Chickamin, Chickamin Pil - gold ("red metal"), money, also copper. T'kope Chickamin - silver. Chickamin lope - wire, chain
Klikwallie, Klokewallie - brass, brass wire, or an armlet or braclet of brass wire.
Kunsih, kunjih, kunjuk, kunjie - how many (also when)
|See also Numbers.|
|Hiyu, hiu, hyiu - many, lots, a multitude, enough (to go around),
Gibbs notes that Jewitt gives hyo as meaning "ten" at Nootka Sound. Tenas hiyu - some, a few. Wake hiyu - not many, not much.
Huy-huy, hui-hui - exchange, bargain, trade, do business
Mamook huyhuy - to strike a deal
Mamook - do, work
|See Mamook Compounds.|
|Kumptus, kumtux - to know, to understand, to sympathize|
|See Kumtux Compounds.|
|Tumtum - to feel, to believe, to think, to know
Also means "heart", and may also be used for sympathy. See Tumtum Compounds.
Mahkook - buy, sell, trade (usually "buy"; means "do business")
Hyas mahkook - expensive, a high price
Mahish, mahah - sell, let go, to leave
Iskum - hold, possess, take, receive
Tikegh, tikke, ticky - to want, to desire, to love, to wish, to like, to need
Potlatch - give, to share (as a verb)
Also "a gift", but also the great gift-feasts that were central to native society and economics, especially on the Coast.
Kapswalla - steal
Kliminawhit - lie, liar. Klimmin ("smooth") by itself can also mean "lie", but properly it is an adjective.
Moola, moolah - mill (from Fr. moulin).
The latter syllable may or may not be accented. This word may be the origin of the English slang meaning of "moolah" as "money", as mills are even today equated with income in the Northwest Stick moola - a lumber-mill. Chickamin moola - a mine mill. Pehpah mill - paper or pulp mill.
Ship - ship or vessel
As distinct from boats and canoes. NB Stick ship - sailing vessel (i.e. with masts; large sailing vessels in the inland waters of Puget Sound and Georgia Strait were generally under tow and did not have their sails unfurled), piah ship or pish ship - steamer, ship-man - sailor, ship stick or mitwhit stick - mast.
Boat, laboat - boat
Laboat is from the English-French hybrid "la boat". This word would originally have referred to the giant canoe-like "York boat" or the fur company voyageurs, and eventually was used to refer to dinghies, dorys, etc. and other small craft. See also Canim (below in Not Quite English Loan-words). Boat nose - the prow or bow of a boat. Boat Opoots - a rudder, the stern.
Canim - canoe
An Indian log dugout, or one of the great cedar canoes of the coastal tribes. The birchbark or skin stick-frame canoes of the eastern part of the continent were unknown west of the Rockies, except for the giant York Boat, which was the hallmark of the fur company voyageurs and would have been referred to by "laboat" or hyas canim. The published lexicons give the Chinookan language as the source for this word, but it bears close resemblance to canoe, which is a Cree or Algonkian word adopted into English. NB canim stick - cedar, the wood from which the great split-log canoes of the coastal peoples were most commonly made.
Isick - paddle
Laham, lahahm- oar, paddle
Lapehsh - a pole, the sitting-pole of a boat or canoe, from la perche ("the perch")
Itlan, it-hlan - a fathom, the length of an extended arm
This latter phrase is Gibbs'. In my estimation a fathom would be the length of both extended arms, that of one being a cubit.
Chuck - water, river, stream
Skookumchuck - "big water", "powerful water", i.e. rapids, maybe
Latleh - train
Lolo - carry, lift
Klahanie - outside, the out-of-doors
Wawa - talk, say, tell, haggle, language
|See also People.|
Muckamuck - food, to eat, dinner, to bite
Mamook muckamuck - to cook, to prepare food, to serve dinner. See Mamook Compounds.
Glease - grease
Also laklay from Fr. la graisse , but this could be confused with lakleh - key. Although the English loan-word became a generic term for greases, it also became used for "oolichan grease", the highly-prized rotten-mash preserve made from oolichans was one of the most widely-traded products in the native economy. Trade routes were often marked by grease drippings as a result of centuries of deposition. One of these, traversing the Chilcotin Plateau, is now a heritage hiking route and was used by explorer Alexander Mackenzie to travel from the Fraser to the coastal inlets. The oolichan runs in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet were so large that the city's mills ran for years using oolichan grease as their sole lubricant.
Lum - rum, booze in general
Chuck - water, fluids
Pahtl chuck - wet
Polallie - gunpowder, sand, flour, dust
Pish polallie - gunpowder. Klimmin polallie - fine flour, fine sand.
Pish stick, piah stick, kalapeen, callipeen - rifle, carabine
Musket - musket
Label, laball - bullet, ball-shot, pellet
Shot - shot, a shot-ball
Poo - the sound of a gun
Moxt poo - double-barreled rifle or shotgun. Taghum poo - six-shooter. Opoo - to break wind.
Opitlkegh - a bow
Kalitan - an arrow, shot, or bullet
Kalitan lesak - a quiver
Poh - blow, a puff of breath
Coop-coop - the dentalium shell, shell-money
Pepah, pehpah - paper. Also contracts, documents, writing
|See also Food & Domestic Life.|
|As with most Chinook conversation, simplicity was the general rule of grammar, although meaning might seem ambiguous in some cases. Tone of voice and inflection is everything. Please see Grammar for more examples of Chinook phraseology.|
|Maika mamook moolah? - Do you work at the mill? Literally
"do you do the mill?"
Maika mamook mahish? - Are you selling something? or Are you a salesman?
Potlatch - wake mahish. - It's a gift, I'm not selling it. Also Naika Potlatch - "I give" or Potlatch maika - "give to you".
Potlatch - wake mahkook. - Give it to me, I don't want to buy/pay for it. Also Maika Potlatch or Potlatch naika (as above).
Naika iskum - wake mahish. - I'm keeping it, it's not for sale. Maika iskum (I keep) - wake mahkook (no buy) - Keep it, I'm not buying it.
Tumtum huyhuy? - do you want to bargain? Feel like making a deal?
Mamook huyhuy. - Let's make a deal, let's do business. Mamook mahish - Sold, it's sold ("the sale is made").
Kunjih rice? Kunjih sapolillie? - How much for rice? How much for flour?
|Greetings & Salutations | Common Phrases | Money, Trade, & Travel | Time & the Elements|
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|Chinook-English reference (by category)|
|Kamloops Wawa Word List - NEW|
|Jim Holton's Chinook Jargon Book (draft)|
|George Lang's Chinook Jargon Website|
|Dakelh (Carrier) Chinook Jargon Website|
|Jeff Kopp's Chinook Wawa Website|
|Duane Pasco's Tenas Wawa On-Line|
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|Chinook Lord's Prayer & Hymns|
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