Chinook Jargon Phrasebook

Kahta Mamook Kopa Chinook Wawa - How to speak Chinook

Interrogatives, Prepositions, & Interjections



Interrogatives | Prepositions & Conjunctions | Interjections & Exclamations
Iktah? - What? (as an interjection or response). Note iktas - things, belongings.
Klaksta? - Who, which one?
Na, nah - who, which one?
Also used as an emphatic or interrogative particle, sometimes as a vocative.  See interjections below.  NB also naha or na'ah - mother.
Ka?  Kah? - where, whence, whither?
Kahta? - How, why, what?
Kunjih, kunsih - how many?
Prepositions & Conjunctions
Klonas, klonass - maybe, perhaps
The usage of this word is similar to the Spanish quien sabe? or kisasz.  e.g. as a reply to a question, means "I don't know".
Kehwa - because, therefore
Was not in common use, atlhough no other words for this exist, although pe in its sense of "then" could function as such.
Spose - suppose, if
Note that "suppose" in colloquial English is often used for "what if", rather than as a verb.
Kloshe-spose - may I, please (i.e. "good if..."). Kahkwa spose - as if.
Pe, pee - and, or, plus, but, if, then, besides
Pe weght - and also, besides which.  Pe kahta? - and why so?  Also for emphasis, as in pe naika wawa wake - but I say, noPe is used for forming 'teens, etc. as in tahtlum pe ikt - eleven. This word is of Indian origin, as it is found in several Salishan and other languages, but note if used as an interjection, even with the meaning "and" and especially at the beginning of a phrase, the source of this usage may be the French of the fur trade era. Most North American dialects of French use "pi" for "puis" as a common interjection.
Keschie, Kehtsie - notwithstanding, although
Kahkwa - like, similar to, as
Weght - even, also, in addition to

Saghalie - above, up. Also means "heaven", "the sky", "holy", "sacred"
Keekwullie, quiggly - under, below.
Also the most widespread name of the earthen-pit house, which were a common form of dwelling for the Plateau Salish and neighbouring peoples.
Enati - across
Kopa - to, in, at, with, by, on - an all-purpose preposition
Although prepositions were not mandatory in most Chinook constructions, kopa might be used for emphasis or to specify a context that might be ambiguous.
Kimta, kimtah - behind, since
As in okook kimta - the one behind, or kimta naika nanitch maika - since I saw you.
Elip - before
Also means best or first.


Interjections & Exclamations
Na, nah - a querying interjection - What? how's that? Isn't that so?
Also used as an empathic:  e.g. cole nah!  "It's really cold!"  Na was also used as an interrogative particle to turn a phrase into a question.  Gibbs says that in Yakima it is used as the vocative, and it also means who or which in both interrogative and pronomial senses.  Usage of this particle is sometimes amazingly similar to ne in Japanese and colloquial German.  Its etymology, however, seems to be related to that of nawitka, although a remote possibility exists it may be a German loan-word, or like wawa have its origins in remote contact with Asia in pre-Contact times.
See also anah (below).
Nawitka - , yes, indeed, right on, that's for sure
In reply to a negative, it generally affirms the negative. e.g. Wake mika nanitc?  Nawitka. - Did you not see?  I did not.
Ah-ha, e-eh - yes, expression of simple assent
Accent on either syllable depending on context/emphasis.
Al-ah - Expression of surprise
Accent on second syllable.
Hwah, hwah-wa - denotes surprise or admiration
Also earnestness or sincerity, as in "no, really!" or "I promise" or "I swear it's true".
Howh - hurry, turn to (an imperative interjection)
Anah, an-ah, ad-de-dah- denoting pain, displeasure, or depreciation
e.g. Anah nawitka maika halo shem - indeed you are without shame.
Nah, na - yes, affirmative interjective
Kweesh, kwish - contemptuous refusal, equivalent to "no, you don't"
Newhah, nehwah - here, hither, bring it here, come
e.g. newhah naika nanitch - here, let me see.
Pe kahta? - and why so?  But why?

Howkwutl - an expression of inability
e.g. howkwutl nika klatawa? - how could I go?  perhaps from kwutl - press, crush, tighten (as in a bundle)

What? - iktah? kahta?
When? - kah?
Where? - kah?
Which? Which one? - klaksta?
Which? Which one? - nah?
Who? - klaksta?
Who? - nah?
Why - kahta?
But why? - pe kahta?
How? - kahta?
How many? - kunjih, kunsih?
How much? - kunjih dolla?
NB "Too much, expensive" - hiyu dolla or hyas mahkook.
Prepositions & Conjunctions
Maybe - klonas
Perhaps - klonas
Because - kehwa, pe
Therefore - kehwa, pe
And - pe
If - spose, pe
But - pe
Then - pe
Than - kahkwa, pe
To - kopa
In - kopa
At - kopa
With - kopa
By - kopa
Upon - kopa, kopa [object] latate
Above - saghalie
Up from - saghalie kopa
Below - keekwullie
Under - keekwullie
Behind - kimta, kimtah
Before - elip
In front of - elip
Across - enati

Like - kahkwa
As - kahkwa
Even - weght
Even so - pe weght
Also - weght
And also - pe weght
Besides - pe (as a conjunction)
Beside - kopa (as a preposition)


Interjections & Exclamations
Wow! - Hwah!
Aha! - A-ha.
Huh? - Nah?
How's that again? - nah?
Oh no! - Kweesh, ad-de-dah
That's too bad! -
No way! - Wake!
For sure! - Nawitka!
Right on! - Nawitka!
Yuck! - Kweesh!

Greetings & Salutations | Common Phrases | Money, Trade, & Travel | Time & the Elements
Food & Domestic Life | Fun & Games | Critters & Livestock | People

The Body | Numbers | Interrogatives, Prepositions, & Interjections

Verbs & Concepts | Adjectives & Adverbs | Grammar & Pronunciation
French loan-words | English & other loan-words
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
Chinook Night Before Christmas
Chinook Lord's Prayer & Hymns

E-mail  |  Chinook Jargon Main Page
Bridge River-Lillooet Country | BC History & Scenery | Clevens & Periards | Poetry