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Duolingo in Chinook Jargon!

I want to request that Duolingo allow us to create a course for English speakers to learn Chinook Jargon (aka "chinuk wawa"), so please vote or submit feedback here if you're also interested.

Chinook Jargon started as an indigenous pidgin (now creole) language in the Pacific Northwest of North America, that is to say Alaska, Western Canada, Vancouver Island, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Northern California etc. It exploded as a lingua franca between settlers (from Russia, France, China, England...) and natives of all types (from Puget Sound, Alaska...). There were native speakers from at least the 1800 to 1900's, and it was used to varying degrees in schools, churches, newspaper articles, court houses, shops and all manner of daily life up until around 1910-1930. When America "bought" the local land from the natives, they actually did it in Chinook Jargon in many cases, so this is an extremely historically important language to the area.

Then a variety of things happened including the forced removal of natives to what we call reservations, which removed the daily usage of Chinook Jargon as well. Today the language is highly endangered, with an estimated less than 300 speakers, although the numbers have been growing in recent years thanks to the internet, various revival activities, and new attention brought to the language in the media.

Even today you can see an incredible number of Chinook Jargon words left in the local area whether as place, company, festival or even family names, for example:

Tukwila ("Nuts" - a town name) Skookum ("Strong" - used for various rivers, waterfalls and as slang for "awesome" in Canada) HiYu - ("Very, Much" - a festival and winery name, among others) Salt Chuck - ("salt water" - local "slang" for the ocean, which you might hear on the local radio) Memaloose - ("dead, still, stagnant" - used for various pond names and past cemetaries) Cultus - "crappy, worthless" - used in both personal names and location names)

On top of being a local, indigenous, "original" language, Chinook Jargon is extremely easy to learn. Words don't change form according to person or number — there are no plurals, genders, cases or sound changes to memorize. It would be very easy to create a Duolingo course for it and learners would get a real sense of accomplishment from being able to pick it up fast. And it would really help out our low population of current speakers a ton, and would help revive one of America's many indigenous languages that are on the way to extinction. Here's a sample of Chinook Jargon:

klahowya! - Hello / Goodbye! klush tenas san! - Good Morning! tomala naika klatawa siks yaka haws - Tomorrow I'm going to my friend's house. chinuk wawa klush! - Chinook Jargon is good! duolingo qwelqwel hayas kakawak! - The Duolingo owl is really green!

Please vote or leave feedback so we can get a course for Chinook Jargon approved! If you're already familiar with Chinook Jargon, please comment on which orthography you'd prefer the course to be in.

November 8, 2019, 4:11 PM


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