Chinook Jargon Phrasebook

Kahta Mamook Kopa Chinook Wawa - How to speak Chinook

Shaw's English-Chinook Reference (A-B)

(with annotations)

NB: This page is currently being edited and annotated.  Edited sections show the Chinook Jargon words in italics, with direct translations, comments and annotations in purple.  Purple items in italics within parentheses are direct translations of Chinook words or compounds where such translations are necessary.  Where the words are shown by Shaw with their direct translated meaning, and/or are native or English loan-words that require no further comment, they are omitted from the parentheses.  In other words, if there are several items in Shaw's Chinook translation, only one or two may be translated by way of explanation within the parentheses following.  There are numerous OCR mistakes in unedited sections, and I have left intact idiosyncracies in Shaw's text (or Harper's transcription of it) - double entries, odd capitalizations, the occasional misspelling, etc.   Comments and corrections are welcome.

In working on some parts of the English-Chinook sections of the phrasebook, I have realized the divisions I have made for the Chinook-English sections do not correlate well for an easy-to-use organization for reference from English.  Until that is figured out, I am posting a direct copy of Shaw's English-Chinook Reference (as rendered by Edward Harper Thomas), which is in alphabetical form.  I am intending on having a CGI or Javascript translator system installed here in the future as well.

Shaw's usages here must be understood to reflect the state of English meanings in 1908 (Harper Thomas made no changes in his 1934 reprinting of this reference), as well as the state of the Jargon and Shaw's own context within the frame of reference of the United States and the Jargon as it was spoken there, as well as English ideom of the period.  Shaw's own cultural biases are also often evident, and many of the concepts represented seem to be English-oriented ones that he felt a need to find translations of, rather than actual Jargon usages per se.  I have therefore added comments and annotations to some of the items below, including literal renderings of some of the Chinook phrases provided in translation of English concepts; my additions are given in purple, Shaw's definitions in the regular black.  In time, I will augment this abecediary to the point where it will no longer be a simple reproduction and annotation from Shaw.

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ABASE-mamook keekwulee.(to make low)
ABDOMEN-yakwahtin; kwahtin.
ABED-kopa bed.
ABJECT-cultus. Tumtum sick and klahowyum must also be considered as possible translations of abject.
ABLE-skookum. This is an adjectival meaning, not to be confused with the verbal sense, which would be better conveyed by kumtux (to know how to).
ABOARD-kopa boat, (or kopa ship or kopa canim).
ABOLISH-mamook halo. (to make not).  Mamook wake is also possible.
ABORIGINES- siwash. Shaw here means the native people, rather than any anthropological context.  In direct translation, the term elip tillikum(s) (first people, the before people) is far more accurate, but in native lore refers to the people who occupied the world before the coming/creation of the native peoples themselves.
ABOUND-hiyu mitlite. (there are many)
ABOUT-wake siah kopa. (not far from)
ABOVE- saghalie. Kopa saghalie would also have been used depending on context.
ABOARD- klahanie. This is in Shaw, apparently  a misprint for abroad.   Klahanie normally means outside, the out-of-doors. I would suggest the term klahanie illahee, perhaps, or kopa huloima illahee as a better rendering of abroad.
ABSENT- halo mitlite. (is not there/hereWake mitlite is also possible.
ABSOLVE-mamook stoh; mamook mahsh. (both mean to let go, to release)
ACCIDENT-nika tumtum halo yaka chako kahkwa. (I do not know how this came to pass)
ACCOMPANY-klatawa kunamokst; chako kunamokst. (to both go, to both come)
ACCOMPLISH-mamook. (to do, to make)
ACCUMULATE-iskum hiyu. (to have many)
ACCURATE-delate. (true, straight)
ACHIEVE-mamook. (to do, to make)
ACKNOWLEDGE-wawa nowitka. (to say 'indeed', to say yes)
ACQUAINT-mamook kumtux. (to make known)
ACROSS-enati; inati.
ACT, ACTION-mamook.
ACTIVE-delate halo lazy. (truly not lazy)
ADD-mahsh kunamokst. (to put together, to throw together)
ADJOIN-wake siah kopa. (not far from) As far as I know there is no Jargon term for next to; perhaps an French loan-word such as ploshe (from proche) might work as a less clumsy construction.
ADMIRE-mitlite kloshe tumtum kopa. (to be of good feelings for)
ADMONISH-potlatch kloshe wawa. (to give good words, to give good advice) The meaning here is obviously not to scold, which admonish geneerally means in modern English.
ADORE-mitlite delate kloshe tumtum kopa; atole. (to be of really good feelings for)
ADORN-mamook kloshe. (to make good, to fix up)
ADRIFT-cultus mitlite kopa chuck. (to be idle/aimelss on the water)
ADULTERATE-mamook mesachie; mahmook mesachie kunamokst.(to put badly together, to do badly) The meaning here of mamook mesachie kunamoxt also seems to refer to miscegenation.
ADULTERER-man yaka kumtux kapswalla klootchman. (he who knows how to steal women) This phrase would also seem to be ideal for seducer.
ADULTERESS-klootchman yaka kumtux: kapswalla man. (she who knows how to steal men) This phrase would also seem to be ideal for seductress.
ADVICE, ADVISE- cultus potlatch tumtum. (to give worthless thoughts)  Either Shaw intends that advice was regarded humbly by the natives, or this is an indication of what natives thought of advice.
AFAR- siah. Or siah-siah - very far.
AFFIRM-wawa delate. (to say truly, to speak truthWawa nawitka is an equivalent.
AFFLICT-mamook trouble; mamook sick tumtum. (to make trouble for, to make feel sick) The use of the English loan-word trouble here is a late Jargon feature, and is not given in the earlier lexicons.
AFOOT- kopa lapee.
AGED-oleman. Or ole. Oleman typically referred to something worn out or decrepit (including human)
AGREE-tumtum kunamokst. (to feel together, to both think)
AGROUND-kopa illahee. To me, this would mean ashore rather than aground.
AGUE-cole sick.
AH! (ADMIRATION)-wah! hah!
AH! (IN PAIN)-anah.
AID, HELP-elan. The English loan-word help was also used.
ALARM-mamook kwass. (to make fear, to make afraid)  The passive would be mitlite kwass or iskum kwass.
ALIKE-kahkwa. The English here seems archaic - an older equivalent to like or as.  The phrase they are alike would be better put as kunamoxt kahkwa.
ALIVE-mitlite wind. (to have breath, to be breathing)
ALMIGHTY, THE-Saghalie Tyee.
ALMOST-wake siah. (not far)
ALMS, TO GIVE-mamook klahowyum, or klahowya; potlatch dolla. (to make mercy or to ask mercy, to give money)
ALOFT-kopa saghalie. There is little difference between this and the Jargon given for above (saghalie without the kopa).  I think here Shaw may have been trying to do with the newfangled concept of flight, or making a reference to being much higher up than simply "above".
ALONE-kopet ikt. (but one, only one)
ALTER-mamook huloima. (to make different, to make strange)
ALTHOUGH-keschi.  The term pe (but, and) may have been more common; some lexicons note keschi as having been a local word in the Puget Sound region only.
AM-mitlite is sometimes used; sometimes no word is used.
AMEN-kloshe kahkwa. (be good; said at the closing of a sermon or prayer)
AMERICAN-Boston. This is an adjectival form in the early Jargon, although by Shaw's day the full Boston man may have dropped the man when referring to persons, which was not originally the case.
AMID, AMONG-kunamokst; katsuk. (the one means together, the other middle or centre)
AMOUNT-konaway. I am not exactly sure what Shaw means here.  Perhaps from what is the amount? in which case the reference is to the total.  The word kwunnun refers to numbers.
AMUSE-mamook heehee. (to make laughter, to make a joke)
ANCIENT-hyas ahnkuttie. Laly ahnkuttie is another well-known way of saying ancient. Hyas ahnkuttie would seem to mean greatly ancient, although the extended la-a-a-aly ahnkuttie also has the same meaning.
ANGER, ANGRY-solleks. To make angry - mamook solleks To become angry - chako solleks. To be angry - iskum solleks or mitlite solleks.
ANGLER-pish man. A more accurate rendering of the modern sense of angler may be cultus pish man denoting the idle nature of angling as opposed to the active labours of a fisherman.
ANNUAL-ikt cole ikt cole. (year year, a year a year)
ANOTHER- huloima.
ANSWER-killipie wawa. (to return words)
ANTICIPATE-mamook tumtum elip. (to feel before, to think ahead)  This may have been also used as tumtum elip, i.e. without the mamook.
ANXIOUS-hyas ticky. (to greatly want) I do not think Shaw intended the modern connotation of anxious here, as in worrying or fretting, but rather the semi-archaic English to be anxious for.
ANY-klaksta. This is the same pronoun as for which, who or some.
APART-ikt yahwa, ikt yahwa. (one there, one there)  A variant of this would have been ikt yukwa, ikt yahwa (one here, one there).
APPEAL-wawa kopa elip hyas court.(to speak to the first high court Elip hyas here seems to mean more than great, above the mighty.  This ideom is obviously purely legal in its context.
APPEAR-chako kah (nika) nanitch. (to come where I look, i.e. to come to be seen)  Other combinations may be appropriate in varying contexts.
APPLE-lepome; apple.
APPLY-(if in words) wawa; (if of things) mahsh.(i.e. to speak to or to put on)
APPROVE-(nika) tumtum kahkwa. (I feel like thatMamook nawitka (affirm) would also seem appropriate.
APPROACH- chako wake siah. (to come not far) i.e. to not be so distant.
APRON-kehsu; kisu.
ARTIC-kah delate hiyu cole mitlite.  (where truly great cold is, where truly many winters are) Shaw's misspelling of arctic was once common in English.
ARDENT-waum tumtum. (to feel hot, to feel warm)  Shaw must be meaning this in the romantic or passionate sense, rather than in that of belief, which would seem to me to be delate tumtum or hyas delate tumtum - or hyas ticky, for that matter.
ARGUE-hiyu wawa.  (many words) Solleks wawa (angry words, angry talk) might be more appropriate in many contexts, or kilapie solleks wawa (to return angry words) or something similar.
ARISE-mitwit; get up.
ARITHMETIC-book yaka mamook kurntux nesika kopa kwunnun; mamook tzum. (book that makes for us to understand numbers, to make marks on paper) In a modern sense, I would prefer mamook kwunnum or mamook kumtux (kopa) kwunnun (to make numbers, to make understanding numbers), as the sense of arithmetic as a kind of book has long since passed from ordinary English.
ARM-(n.) lemah; (v.) iskum musket; potlatch musket.
ARMY-hiyu sojers. (many soldiers)
AROUND-wake siah kopa. (not far from)
AROUSE-mamook get up. (to make get up, to awaken)
ARREST-mamook haul; mamook kow. (the latter translates as to make tied up; the former is ideomatic, meaning literally to carry or make carried)
ARRIVE, ARRIVE AT-ko; chako; klap. The differences in usage of these three words are ideomatic.
ARROW-kalitan; stick kalitan.
ASCEND-klatawa saghalie. (to go up)
ASH-isick stick. (paddle wood)
ASK-wawa. (to speak)
ASSEMBLE-chako kunamokst. (to come together)  The meaning here has nothing to do with the modern sense of assemble parts, but is specifically in reference to people.  To assemble something, the ideom mahsh kunamokst or maybe mamook kunamokst would have been used.
AS IF-kahkwa spose. The modern slang usage As if! might better be rendered as Nah kahkwa! or Pe kahkwa!
ASSENT-wawa nowitka. (to say yes)
ASSESS-mamook tzum iktas. (to make mark of things, to mark things down)
ASSISTANCE- elahan; help. Elahan is a variant of elan.
ATTACK-pight elip. (fight first)
ATTEND- klatawa. (to go to)  The sense to be at would rather be mitlite kopa.
ATTIRE-iktas. i.e. things, accoutrements.  Interestingly, although the term la west was borrowed from the French la veste, the term vetements (Engl. vestments) was not similarly borrowed.  The term iktas would seem more to refer to finery, a panoply of apparel, jewelry, beads, etc.
AUDIENCE-hiyu tillikums kopa house. (many people in the house)
ARGUMENT-mamook hiyu; mamook hyas. (to make many, to make a big deal) I do not know why Shaw did not use mamook solleks wawa here, or hyas mamook kilapie wawa.
AUNT-kwalk; papa or mama yaka ats, tant; aunt.
AUTUMN-tenas cole illahee. (little winter)
AVERSE-halo ticky. (to not want) Wake ticky would also be appropriate.
AVIDITY-hyas ticky.(to greatly want)
AVOID-klatawa kopa huloima ooahut.(go by a different way)
AWAKE-halo moosum; halo sleep.
AWE-kwass. (fear, which is also an archaic English sense of awe)
AWL-shoes keepwot, or kipuet.

BABY-tenas. (little one) The French loan-word bebe was also used.
BAD-mesachchie; peshak, cultus. Mesachchie may be a misprint, or may reflect a variant prononciation of mesachie.
BAD SPIRIT-mesachie tumtum (if in person); mesachie tohmahnawis (if another spirit). What Shaw appears to mean here is that mesachie tumtum means bad spirit in a person (either of humour, or of possession), whereas mesachie tohmanhnawis refers to an evil spirit per se.
BARGAIN-mahkook; huyhuy.
BARLEY-lashey; larch.
BASIN-ketling.  Tamolitsh might also be used, perhaps depending on size and shape. Ketling would be smaller, as its other meaning is kettle.
BASKET-opekwan; basket.
BAT-polakle kalakala. (night bird, bird of darkness)  The other English noun-meaning of bat might be conveyed by skookum stick (big wood/stick), kokshut stick (breaking/crushing wood/stick).  The verbal meaning to bat would be mamook kokshut.  The baseball context probably by ball stick.
BATTLE-pight. (fight) This would appear to be better sued with modifiers as in skookum pight (big fight), hiyu pight (many fight).
BATH-mamook wash.
BE-sometimes mitlite is used, sometimes no word is used.
BE STILL-kopet wawa. (stop talking)
BEACH-polalle illahee; nauits.(sandy earth)
BEAR (black)-itchwoot; chetwoot; itswoot.
BEAR (grizzly)-siam itchwoot. Hyas itswoot was also widely used, and siam might be used by itself; concievably hyas itswoot might also refer to a brown bear.
BEAR (v.)-lolo.
BEARD-tupso. Tupso kopa seeawist or tupso kopa lapush would be more specific.
BEARER-man yaka kumtux lolo. (man who understands how to carry)
BEAT, TO-kokshut; mamook kokshut.
BEAUTIFUL-kloshe. Also hyas kloshe, toketie or hyas toketie, and kloshe nanitch (good to look at).
BECALM-halo wind. Also wake wind, cultus wind.
BECAUSE-kahkwa; kehwa.
BECOME, TO-chako.
BECOME HARD-chako kull. (For other connections of become see chako, in Chinook-English part). This pararanthesized comment is Shaw's.  Equivalent material can be found in this phrasebook in the Chako Compounds section of the Verbs & Concepts page.
BED QUILT-tzum posesse. (spotted cloth) Posesse seems to be Shaw's preferred rendering of the word more commonly spelled as paseese.
BEG-skookum wawa. (big word, big talk)  I do not know why Shaw did not cite mamook klahowyum or mamook wawa klahowyum here, or iskum help or something similar; maybe there is an archaic English context referred to by skookum wawa that escapes me.
BEGIN-chee mamook; mamook elip. (newly make, make first)
BEHAVE-mamook kloshe.
BEHOLD-nah; nanitch.
BELIEVE-iskum wawa; iskum kopa tumtum. (hold words, hold to the heart/mind)
BELL-tintin; dingding. (ring the bell, mamook tintin)
BELOVED-kloshe; kloshe kopa tumtum. (good, good to the heart/mind)
BELLE-kloshe tenas klootchman. (good little girl, i.e. pretty little woman)
BENEFIT-(v.) mamook kloshe. (to make good, to do good for)
BERRIES-olallie; olillie.
BESIDE, BESIDES-kunamokst.
BEST-elip kloshe kopa honoway. (first good out of everything)  The simpler elip kloshe would also suffice, although as noted before this is properly only the comparative rather than the superlative.  The superlative might also be hyas elip kloshe, although even this is only technically much better.
BETTER-elip kloshe.
BETWEEN-kunamokst; katsuk; potsuk. The differences between these three words would have been ideomatic; kunamokst to me would seem to have been used in a context like between us two.
BEYOND-yahwa. (there)
BIBLE-saghalie tyee yaka book. (God his book)
BIG-hyas. Skookum was also very commonly used, although it has other connotations as well.  My feeling of the sense of hyas is more great or mighty.
BIRD-kallakala; kulakula.
BISCUIT-lebiskwee, or labisquee.
BIT or DIME-bit.
BITTER-klikl; klile, mesachie.
BLACKBERRIES-klale olallie; klikamuks.
BLACKBIRDS-klale tenas kalakala.
BLACKFISH-kahkwa klale. I presume that Shaw must be meaning this to be used as pish kahkwa klale.  Blackfish is an archaic name for the killer whale or orca, or for the pilot whale.
BLEED-mamook pilpil. (to make red-red)
BLESS-wawa kloshe wawa. (to speak good words)
BLESSING-kloshe wawa. (good words)
BLIND-halo seeowist; halo nanitch. (without eyes, without sight/seeing)
BLOW-(v.) wind chako; hiyu wind. (wind comes, becoming windy, much wind) I think Shaw here must be speaking in the ideom of the frontier-era Northwest - it's going to blow - rather than in the sense of to blow on something.
BLOW OUT-mamook poh.
BLUE (LIGHT)-spooh.
BLUE (DARK)-klale.
BLUNDER, TO-tseepie.
BLUSH-chako pil kopa yaka seeowist. (to become red in the face)
BOARD-la plash.
BOAST-hyas wawa; skookum wawa. (mighty words, big words)
BOAT-boat. The French loan-word hybrid laboat was also used, particularly in north-central British Columbia.
BOBTAILED-(a bob-tailed horse) siskiyou.
BOIL, TO-(v.) liplip; mamook liplip.
BOLD, BOLDNESS-skookum tumtum; halo kwass. (brave, big feelings; without fear)
BOOTS-stick shoes. (wood shoes, tree shoes)  Boots would have had strong associations in the region to the logging industry, as they still do today.  I would probably associate this term with caulk boots (the kinds with spikes in the soles for walking on logs).
BORE, TO-mamook thalwhop; mamook hole.
BORROW, TO-ayahwhul; iskum dolla; alki pay. (to receive a dollar, to pay in future)
BOSOM-(female) tatoosh; yahwahtin. I think Shaw means here for yahwahtin to refer to the male breast/chest, i.e. as part of the belly.
BOTH-kunamoxt; mokst.
BOTTLE-labooti; labotai.
BOW-opitlkegh; stick musket. (wooden musket)
BOW-(of boat) nose.
BOWL-ooskan; uskan.
BOWL-la casett; la kassett.
BOY-tenas man.
BRACELET-klikwallie, kweokweo.
BRASS-pil chikamin; klikwallie.
BRAVE-skookum tumtum. (to feel big, to feel strong)
BREAD-le pan; sapolil; piah sapolil. (flour; cooked flour)
BREAK, TO-kokshut; mamook kokshut; mamook klimmin. I do not know why the last - to make smooth, to make a lie - is included by Shaw in the context of to break.
BREAKFAST-muckamuck kopa tenas sun. (to eat in the morning)
BREECH CLOUT-opoots sill; opoots sail. (ass cloth)
BRIDE-klootchman yaka chee malieh. (woman she newly married)
BRIDEGROOM-man yaka chee malieh. (man he newly married)
BRIDLE-la bleed.
BRIGHT-towagh; tewagh.
BRING, TO-lolo, mamook chako; newah.
BROKEN LEGGED-kokshut lapea.
BROOK-tenas chuck; tenas cooley chuck. (little water, running little water)
BROTHER-kahpho; elip ow: (if elder than the speaker) kimta ow (if younger) . Male cousins the same.
BROTHER-IN-LAW-ats yaka man; klootchman yaka ow; ekkeh. (sister her man, wife her brother)
BROWN-sitkum klale; tenas klale, klale. (half black, little black)
BUCK-man mowich. (male deer)
BUFFALO-moosmoos; wild moosmoos. Hyas moos-moos was also used.
BUILD-mamook house. This is specifically in the sense of building houses or buildings.  Mamook would have been used in combination with the object being built, i.e. mamook boat, mamook kullaghan (build a boat, build a fence)
BUILDER- laplash man. (lit. board man, one who works with boards or planks)
BULL-man moosmoos.
BULLET-le bal; kalitan; musket yaka ball.
BUNDLE-kow; iktas. (something tied up; things/belongings)
BURN-mamook piah. (make fire)
BURST-kokshut.  This appears to be an adjectival meaning; a verbal form would employ mamook or chako or perhaps mitlite.
BURY-mahsh kopa illahee (put in the earth, throw in the ground)
BUTCHER-man yaka kurntux mamook memaloose moosmoos. (man he knows how to make/do dead cattle) Itlwillie man might also be possible.
BUTTER-totoosh gleese; totoosh lakles. (breast/milk grease)
BUTTONS-chilchil; tsiltsil.
BUY, TO-mamook. This is a misprint in Shaw.  The proper Chinook is mahkook.
BY-wake siah kopa; kopa. (not far from) The first meaning specifies proximity; the second is prepositional
BY-AND-BY-winapie; alki. Also laly alki.

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