Swan re ChInuk Wawa and children before 1857

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Sat Mar 6 05:33:37 UTC 1999


You'll be exasperated:  Walking around in the rain today, a thought about
James Swan's account of life among the NW coastal Indians came into my
head.  I haven't found the reference in my files for you...but doesn't he
tell of encountering a group of Chinook kids who were pretending to
baptize one another?  As I recall, he asked them what they were doing, and
was answered, "Nesika mamook heehee leplate!"  ("We're playing priest!")

So if people that young were speaking Chinook Jargon in the 1850's in the
Columbia estuary region, does that have any bearing on our understanding
of the history of native-language acquisition of the Wawa?

A brief look at Hajda, Zenk and Boyd ("The Early Historiography of Chinook
Jargon") shows me no reference to this issue.  I'm still waiting for UMI
to send me my copy of Henry Zenk's dissertation, so I don't really know if
this little anecdote is considered there.  I'll be curious to hear more
about this.

Hayash mersi,

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