Flying Sheet #2

Here’s a quick sheet to show you how the pronouns are written!

Standard Chinuk Pipa Transliteration

In the most fluent Chinook “iaka” does not mean ‘it’. There is another pronoun specifically for inanimate things – NOTHING AT ALL! Often when “it” or “them” is the object or subject of the sentence ‘it’ is left out entirely. Time and time again you will see this is the case in fluent Chinook Jargon. For example, from Thomas Paul’s SAMETL, look at this story and pay close attention to footnote 29 & 55. Here’s the relevant sentence (put into normal BC Learners Alphabet spellings):

yaka iskum iht, yaka wuẖt mamook kakwa; pos yaka kopit mamook kakwa, pi yaka lolo

he took the other one, he again did like that; when he finished doing like that, then he carried (“SILENT IT”)

kopa tlaẖani; iskum okok mokst tenes-wolf, yaka lolo kopa tlaẖani.

outside; taking those two wolf cubs, he carried (“SILENT IT”) outside.

2 thoughts on “Flying Sheet #2

  1. In the second example of “silent it”, yaka lolo kopa tlaẖani, is he carrying the wolf cubs outside? I guess it makes sense, but it does seem a little odd to more modern sensibilities, as those wolf cubs are living creatures, not inanimate objects.

    Okay, actually looked up the footnote and sentence, and it does state that it was an unusual use of “silent it” to refer to animate objects, living creatures. So it probably was a bit oddly phrased back in the day, but understandable.


    1. Yes it’s a bit strange here. I suppose maybe Thomas Paul thought of them not quite human-like enough to deserve a tlaska hahaha. Perhaps kinda like “he took (those things) outside.”

      Theres a really great example in “the Origin of Death” where you can see an animate boy go from having a yaka to not after he dies. Check out footnote 9 and the lead up to it in this story:

      You can see it goes from

      “alta yaka mimaloos, tenas-man”
      “Then he died, the boy”


      “Wel, yaka mash kopa ilahi”
      “Well, he put [SILENT IT] into the ground”

      The “silent it” there is the boy / his now inanimate body.


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