Chinook language resources – Language Links Database

Chinook Jargon (also known as chinuk wawa) – originated as a pidgin trade language of the Pacific Northwest, and spread during the 19th century from the lower Columbia River, first to other areas in modern Oregon and Washington, then British Columbia and as far as Alaska and Yukon Territory, sometimes taking on characteristics of a creole language.

It is related to, but not the same as, the aboriginal language of the Chinook people, upon which much of its vocabulary is based. 

More informationWikipedia

Native speakers: 640 in US (2010 census), unknown number in Canada

Native to: Canada, United States


Chinook Grammar and Pronunciation



  1. A Brief History of Jargon Dictionaries - with bibliography
  2. The Origins and Evolution of the Jargon
  3. Jargon Sentence Structure
  4. The Barclay Sound Vocabulary - an early record.
  5. Dr. Tolmie’s Notes, and other views of the Jargon from the Era
  6. Canoe and Saddle - perhaps the best-known book referring to the Jargon
  7. A Chipmunk and His Mother - one of the tales recorded in Jargon by Melville Jacobs
  8. Judge” Swan and “Three Years’ Residence in Washington Territory - an historical figure and his well-known book
  9. Jargon Words in Other Languages - several are absorbed into Native American languages, and one finds its way into Canadian Japanese
  10. The Jargon’s Role in the Treaties of 1855
  11. A “Jargon” of Our Own - duane and a friend make their own jargon from various languages
  12. Epilog to the “Tenas Wawa - Duane’s 1995 closing letter to subscribers (Background on the “Tenas Wawa,” and an overview of available Jargon materials.)


Digitized Grammar Books



  • Eco.canadiana.ca - a Chinook as spoken by the Indians of Washington Territory, British Columbia and Alaska : for the use of traders, tourists and others who have business intercourse with the Indians : Chinook-English, English-Chinook  by C.M. Tate


Chinook Vocabulary




Vocabulary-related (and digitized) E-books




Chinook Reading Materials



  • Sacred-texts.com - Chinook Text
  • Rjholton.com - in the Tenas Wawa section are excerpts from a Chinook Jargon magazine published in the 1990s by Duane Pasco, which serves as a tutorial in Chinook Jargon


Chinook Dictionaries



  • http://www.rjholton.com/cj/ - presented on this site are four Chinook Jargon dictionaries from the past which are not available elsewhere on-line in convenient form, for the benefit of students or for reference by distant scholars


Digitized Dictionaries



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