Twenty-one Analogies between the Chinook and other Native Languages

Setting aside interjections, common in a more or less modified form to several adjoining tribes, twenty-one words of those given in this vocabulary present noticeable analogies between the Chinook and other native languages. They are as follows:

EnglishChinookHailtzuk and Belbella
salmon berriesklalilliolalli


EnglishChinook and ClatsopNootka (Jewitt and Cook)
watertl’tsuk: tl’chukwchauk: chahak




gladkwankwal (“tame”)
black beareitchhut,chetwut
game of “hands”itlokumsetlokum


EnglishChinookYakama and Klikatat
younger sisteratsatse
roadwehutwiet (“far”)
coyoteitálipustalipa (“gray fox”)
needleokwépowakapus (“a pin”)

The Clatsop (Klátsop) is merely a dialect of the Chinook (Tchinúk); the Cowlitz (Káualitsk), Kwantlen, Chihalis (Tsihélis), and Nisqually (N’skwáli), are severally languages belonging to the Sélish family. The Yakama and Klikatat are dialects of one of the Sahaptin languages; and the Tokwaht (Tokwát), Nittinat, and Makah (Maká), quoted in the dictionary, are dialects of the Nootka (Nútka), of which the Hailtzuk or Belbella (variously spelled Haeeltzuk and Hailtsa) is probably the northern type. It thus appears that, with two or three exceptions, the analogies of the Chinook, as contained in this vocabulary, are to be sought in the immediately adjoining tongues, or those of languages belonging to the same families with them; that these analogies, with perhaps one or two exceptions, can by no means be considered radical, and that their correspondence, or rather adoption, is easily accounted for by neighborhood and habits of intermarriage. A much more remarkable coincidence is the fact that two words included in this Jargon,–one from the Nootkan, viz., “Mawitch”, a deer, venison; and the other Chinook, “Mooluk”, an elk,–are also to be found in the Kowilth, the language of Humboldt Bay, in California. As this bay was first discovered in the winter of 1849-50, the words could not have been introduced by the fur trappers.

With regard to the form into which this dictionary has been thrown, an explanation is necessary. The Jargon must in some degree be regarded as a written language, the orthography of which is English. In Mr. Hale’s vocabulary alone has one more scientific been attempted, and of several other printed, and numerous manuscript dictionaries in circulation, M. Lionnet’s alone, that I have met with, is according to the French. Although no fixed system of spelling exists among them, I have therefore deemed it best to preserve for the Jargon words that which most distinctly represents the common English pronunciation; while for the Indian derivations, I have adopted that recommended by the Smithsonian Institution in collecting Indian vocabularies, using the Italian sounds of the vowels, and representing the guttural of the German “ich” by “kh”. This seemed the more proper, as the work would thereby be rendered of practical use, independent of what philological value it may possess.

In collating the words of the present work and obtaining their derivations, I have been assisted by a number of friends; among whom I should specially mention Mr. Alexander C. Anderson, of Victoria, V.I., and Mr. Solomon H. Smith, of Clatsop, Oregon.

Gibbs, George. Dictionary of the Chinook Jargon or Trade Language of Oregon. New York: Cramoisy Press. 1853.

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