HIS BOOK is written with the object of reducing to understandable English one of the most flexible of primitive languages ever known. In a few years the men who have spoken this unwritten jargon and depended on it as a means of communication with savage peoples will have crossed the great divide and with them will go the only authority on Chinook. Having talked Chinook for nearly thirty years, with both Indians and whites, and being a trained writer for all these years, I thought it "up to me" to record the Chinook jargon in as nearly an authoritative way as it is possible to do it in English.

 This I have done in this little book as well as I am able and I have taken care to record the REAL Chinook spoken sounds by giving like English sounds in example words instead of depending on English sound symbols to fix the Chinook sounds.

 If this book is taken as a Chinook standard of spelling there should be no further confusion in recording anything in Chinook and I hope for the sake of the jargon that this will be done.

 Contrary to common belief, the Chinook jargon is not a product of the Hudson Bay Company, but is a spontaneous growth that started first among the old fur traders of Nootka when the Spanish first made a fur port of Nootka, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, many years before the Hudson Bay Company existed. The jargon grew slowly until the Hudson Bay Company began to use it as a trade medium. This company enlarged it and used it but it was the Astor fur people at Astoria who finally developed it into the present excellent terse medium of transferring intelligence.

 Herein I have recorded the words and meaning of the fully developed jargon with the idea of preserving it for all time for it is too good an "infant language" to be lost to the world.

 May those who come after us develop it still further until it becomes a world language, for it is easily understood and spoken by men of many tongues and has a flexible quality that is really remarkable.


Dedicated to



and to all the


of the Pacific Coast who
have used this queer speech
in pioneer work for the
American people.

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