Chinook Jargon



Language known as: Chinuk Wawa

The trade language known as Chinook Jargon, or Chinuk Wawa, 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. Chinook Jargon 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. Chinook Jargon also contains words borrowed from other First Nations’ languages.

State of the Language