Chinuk Wawa

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Language known as: Chinook Jargon

The trade language known as Chinuk Wawa, or Chinook Jargon, was spoken extensively in British Columbia and much of the Pacific Northwest for most of the 1800s and the early 1900s. It provided a means of communication between speakers of different First Nations’ languages, as well as between First Nations speakers and Europeans. Chinuk Wawa includes vocabulary from several languages - mainly Chinook (a sleeping language whose speakers once occupied territory on the lower reaches of the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon) followed by Nuučaan̓uɫ, French, and English. Chinuk Wawa also contains words borrowed from other First Nations’ languages.

State of the Language