David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Sun Mar 28 07:26:02 UTC 1999

Mike, qhata mayka?

Interesting that you'd mention the word "chimo".  The book on Arctic
contact languages contains references to it.  For example, Peter Bakker's
article on "Language Contact and Pidginization in Davis Strait, Hudson
Strait, and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Northeast Canada)" mentions on
page 281 citations from the Ungava area, from the 1750s on, of Inuit
greeting European outsiders with the words "Chimo!  Chimo!  Pillattaa!
Pillattaa!" and variations thereof.

"Chimo" is evidently a pidgin Inuktitut word meaning something like "[are
you] friendly[?]"  It is apparently still used as a greeting by Inuit of
Labrador and Quebec.  The word, fascinatingly, was said in 1821 to be
understood by the Yellowknife Indians too:  Likely further evidence that
it is part of a pidgin.  If anyone knew only a word of "Eskimo" I'd wager
it would be "chimo", just as there are many people who know the word
"klahowya" in ChInuk Wawa; thus the behavior of the dramatic character you

Bakker mentions in passing a Fort Chimo of the Hudsons Bay Company.


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