Chinuk Wawa

kakwa nsayka ulman-tilixam laska munk-kemteks nsayka / As Our Elders Teach Us to Speak It

The Chinuk Wawa Dictionary Project

  • $29.95 paperback (9780295991863) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2012
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 400 pp., 25 illus., 7 x 10 in.
  • Distributed for: Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon
  • Contents

Chinuk Wawa (also known as Jargon and Chinook Jargon) is a hybrid lingua franca consisting of simplified Chinookan, combined with contributions from Nuuchahnulth (Nootkan), Canadian French, English, and other languages. It originated on the lower Columbia River, where it once was the predominant medium of intertribal and interethnic communication. Even after English came into general use on the lower Columbia, Chinuk Wawa survived for generations in families and communities shaped by the meeting of the region's historically diverse tribes and races. This Chinuk Wawa dictionary is based primarily on records from one such community, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Oregon, where Chinuk Wawa is taught as a community heritage language.

"A treasure trove of knowledge about Wawa in Grand Ronde, this dictionary is also a monument to the vital role it has played and plays in the lives of people there, and across the Northwest."
-George Lang, author of Making Wawa: The Genesis of Chinook Jargon

Chiuk Wawa and its speakers
How to sse this dictionary
Key to the alphabets
The grammar of Chinuk Wawa

Key to Abbreviations

chinuk-wawa kakwa nsayka ulman tilixam laska munk-kemteks nsayka
Chinuk Wawa as our elders teach us to speak it

hayu chinuk-wawa wext khapa "ul chinuk-ili?i"
more Chinuk Wawa from the general lower Columbia

English Finder
Special Conventions

t'sem ya?im/ Texts

Picture gallery
Biographical sketches of the speakers
Note on transcription
Texts from Hudson family members
Texts from Wacheno extended-family members
A text in Tualatin Northern Kalapuya and Chinuk Wawa
Texts from Clara Riggs
A letter from Esther LaBonte
Examples of lower Columbia Chinuk Wawa from beyond the Grand Ronde community
Appendix: field transcripts of remaining texts recorded by Jacobs from John B. Hudson and Victoria Howard


"[A]n excellent overview of the structure and history of the language. . . . [M]onuments for the language-in both sense of the word. The dictionary is a great resource, for creolists as well as for those in the community. . . in their continued efforts to revive the language in the school and the reservation community."
-Peter Bakker, Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages