2015 Emerging Scholar Award Winner

David Robertson (University of Victoria)
Naming Chinook Jargon

The Pacific Northwest “trade language” (pidgin) Chinook Jargon originally lacked a name. As Northwesterners became familiar with it, it gained a variety of glottonyms. This study examines how the standardly recognized name “Chinook Jargon” trumped its competitors. The history that emerges is one of 19th-century incipient recognition of contact languages, and of Euro-American metalinguistic attitudes toward nonstandard varieties of languages. This is the first study of the complicated history of naming of this historically important contact language.

David Robertson, PhD, specializes in the history of language contact in the Pacific Northwest. His 2012 dissertation (University of Victoria) is the first full grammar of Chinook Jargon. He also works to analyze and repatriate neglected primary documents of Native languages, including ɬəw̓ál̓məš/Lower Chehalis (Salish).