Interesting bit about pidgin languages. I didn’t realize they gave clues to the rise of (or creation of) more full languages.
Perhaps we can learn that its ok to not be doing the same thing linguistically as another group? Long live diversity
Yes, this is awesome. Here in the NW, the Chinookan villages had up to 10 different languages. Each village was practically indistinguishable from the next. We’re talking villages on the same river! It’s amazing to think of the range of languages, even within a language family (like Dutch and German?).
I'm curious about it now too Peter. And about some of the details as well, like, does the Wawa have "to be"? What about genderfied pronouns? Other aspects that are inherent/endemic to civilized languages? Does it still feel more important to folks to learn pidgins than to try to rewild English?
Funny, that post above I made 4 years ago before I was Chinuk Wawa literate. My spelling is way off. And my grammar is kind of funny. Very English sounding. It’s nice to see I’ve improved a bit in that regard. Yes, I still think Chinuk Wawa does not have a “To Be” verb. It has a verb that functions as the to-be verb, but without the baggage of to-be (as described by the general semantics movement and B-English). There are no gender specific pronouns. One of the best and most used words is “kakwa.” This word can simply mean “in this way”. But it is so much deeper than that. It’s hard to even put it into words in english. One of my teachers translated the word early on to me as, “in this way that has been done since the beginning of time…” which always kind of tripped me out. It isn’t really used in that way, but if you interpret it that way it makes a lot more sense for its usage in the language.
This last winter (you can only tell chinookan myths in winter) we did translations of chinookan myths. I chose “The Raccoon and His Grandmother”. This tale is about a raccoon who doesn’t listen to his grandmother and eats all their acorns. Translating the old myths, along side Chinookan people, gave me more insight into the culture (pre-contact) here than I have ever received from anywhere else. It was a real treasure. I’m so thankful to the friends and community in the language group. It’s hard sometimes accepting that Native people who don’t know you and your intentions will dislike you as a white person interested in their culture, but it is worth it and necessary if we are to show more Native people that we are not there to appropriate, but learn, help, share, and create something new together.