North America’s nearly forgotten language
Canada Goose Parka Even before I saw the water, I heard the rumble. Sounding like a river or a waterfall, the noise was gently muffled by the sword ferns and step moss as it reverberated through the sky scraping red cedars and Douglas firs. What I was hearing was not a river, and if canada goose outlet eu I come along this trail an hour earlier or later, I have heard nothing at canada goose outlet england all. Canada Goose Parka
I was visiting the Skookumchuck Narrows, one of Canada most famous tidal rapids, which are located a ferry ride north west of Vancouver at the head of Sechelt Inlet on the Sunshine Coast. On a 3m tide as much as 760,000,000 cubic metres of water passes through the narrows, creating imposing white water rapids that diminish to calm canada goose outlet locations in toronto water four times a day as the tide turns. But the reason I was here was not to marvel at the daring kayakers as they surfed the standing waves. Instead, I had come to ask about the name of the place.
Canada Goose Outlet View image of The name of one of Canada’s most famous tidal rapids, Skookumchuck Narrows, was derived from the Chinook Wawa language canada goose outlet new york city (Credit: Credit: Diane Selkirk) Canada Goose Outlet
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Like many from British Columbia, I grew up with an easy familiarity with a handful of strange words. They were terms I always canada goose uk site thought were common English, but they turned out to be unknown beyond the boundaries of my Pacific Coast home. I later learned that words like potlatch, canada goose outlet in canada saltchuck, kanaka, skookum, sticks, muckamuck, tyee and cultus were from a near forgotten language that was once spoken by more than 100,000 people, https://www.winterdownparkas.com from Alaska to the California border, for almost 200 years.
buy canada goose jacket Known as Chinook Jargon or Chinook Wawa ( meaning talk), this was a trade, or pidgin, language that combined simplified words from the First Nations languages of Nuu chah nulth (Nootka), Chinook and others, as well as from French and English. It was used so extensively that it was the language of courts and newspapers in the Pacific Northwest from about 1800 to 1905. Some Chinook Wawa still exists in place names and slang, but the meanings are so deeply buried in Pacific Northwest culture that the words come with more of a feeling than a definition, and most residents can say which language the terms evolved from. buy canada goose jacket
canada goose clearance sale View image of Chinook Wawa was once spoken by more than 100,000 people, from Alaska to the California border (Credit: Credit: Diane Selkirk) canada goose clearance sale
buy canada goose jacket cheap Curious what these visitors to the Skookumchuck Narrows might know about the site name, I waited for a Vancouver kayaker named Jill to step away from the furious water, then asked if she knew what Skookum canada goose outlet online uk means. Almost in canada goose vest outlet chorus, an entire crowd of kayakers answered. means awesome. Big and awesome. And chuck, I asked? the ocean, they canada goose outlet nyc replied. buy canada goose jacket cheap
Canada Goose Jackets They not entirely correct historically, skookum meant strong canada goose outlet or impressive, and chuck meant water (saltchuck meant the sea), but once words become part of a local lingo they can canada goose outlet uk sale change with time. When I asked if they knew where the word Skookumchuck comes from, there was a puzzled silence. Finally Jill answered. think it comes from here, she said, gesturing toward the rocky cliffs and dense green forest. Canada Goose Jackets
The birth of a new language
canadian goose jacket Chinook Wawa was developed to ease trade in a place where there was no common language. On the Pacific Coast at the time, there were dozens of First Nations languages, including Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Nuu chah nulth, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Kwakwaka’wakw, Salishan and Chinook. After European contact, which included Captain Cook arrival in 1778, English, French, Spanish, Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese were gradually added to the mix. canadian goose jacket
While pidgin languages usually draw most of their vocabulary from the prestige language, or colonising culture, unusually, in the case of Chinook Wawa, two thirds of the language is Chinook and Nuu chah nulth with the rest being made up mostly of English and French.
canada goose View image of Some Chinook Wawa still exists in place names and slang (Credit: Credit: Diane Selkirk) canada goose
canada goose coats There are a few different theories about how canada goose factory outlet toronto location Chinook Wawa arose. Some say it existed between linguistically different First Nations groups long before European contact. canada goose coats
Others put its development in the hands of Captain Cook: canada goose shop uk after his 1778 visit to the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Nuu chah nulth words he recorded were sent back to England and subsequently used by European traders on the Pacific Coast. Almost 30 years later and 425km south, explorers Lewis and Clark encountered these Nuu chah nulth words being spoken as part of the trade language in the home region of the Chinook people, present day Oregon Columbia River Valley.
Still other experts say Chinook Wawa was developed by the Hudson Bay Company to be used as the common language of the fur trade.
canada goose deals If you were coming as a missionary, a businessman or for the Fraser canada goose outlet winnipeg Canyon gold rush, you needed two things: warm clothes and a Chinook Jargon dictionary canada goose deals
Canada Goose sale But retired University of British Columbia professor and anthropological linguist Jay Powell believes Chinook Wawa developed canada goose outlet store montreal more organically than this. Powell, who is one of the last fluent speakers of Chinook Wawa, points to the women and children who settled on the Columbia River after the first forts were established in the early 1800s. He explained that many of the European settlers in the area had indigenous wives from a variety of different First Nations. These women and their children rarely shared a common language with their husbands or their neighbours, he said, so the linguistically simple Chinook Wawa became the language of the region. Canada Goose sale
canada goose clearance the time of settlement, everyone knew this, Powell told me, you were coming as a missionary, a businessman or for the Fraser Canyon gold rush, you needed two things: warm clothes and a Chinook Jargon dictionary. By the time England and the US partitioned the Northwest in 1846, the language had followed the retreat of the Hudson Bay Company from Fort Vancouver on the present day border of Oregon and Washington to Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island and further north. canada goose clearance
canada goose black friday sale Chinook Wawa was reaching its peak in the 1860s when the Hastings Sawmill on Burrard Inlet became the birthplace of Vancouver. The managers spoke Chinook Wawa, and Chinese and Japanese immigrants who worked at the mill learned the pidgin language rather than English. Further inland, the Kamloops Wawa newspaper provided the news of the day in English, French and Chinook Wawa from 1891 through 1905. canada goose black friday sale
Searching for the lost language
The new language never did take over. The forces that brought an end to Chinook Wawa were numerous: smallpox and other epidemics decimated the First Nations populations; residential boarding schools for First Nations children destroyed much of the indigenous culture that was left; and the new government brought institutionalised racism, establishing English as canada goose outlet black friday sale the dominant culture and language. Not long after, the young men who used Chinook Wawa to talk, sing and joke were canada goose outlet vip called off to World War One.
By 1962, it is estimated the remaining Chinook Wawa speakers numbered only 100.
View image of Chinook Wawa was reaching its peak in the 1860s when the Hastings Sawmill on canada goose outlet us Burrard Inlet became the birthplace of Vancouver (Credit: Credit: Diane Selkirk).