Novel choices in Chinuk-wawa

One way of passing evenings when a talking pig looks like being the highlight of the televisual entertainment is to improvise stories on the basis of collections of found words. Here is a short Chinuk-wawa glossary, taken from an article by Nancy Bartley on the language revival which appeared in the Seattle Times:

chinuk-wawa english
QHata Nayka How are you?
Lush nayka I am good
LaXayfN nayka shiks Hello my friend
Nayka qat mayka I love you
Salt-tsfqw Ocean or saltwater
Taqwfla Hazelnuts, or nuts of any kind
PHaya-TsikTsik Automobile (literally, fire wagon)
TilixaN People, friend or family

I think you will agree with me that this skeleton can be enfleshed in a number of ways. At first I was inclined to see in it a tragedy:

Gypsy Eric the Beerstainvoyant was sitting at his folding table on main street, waiting for his first customer, when Handyman Jimmy got out of his truck and headed towards the hardware store. Gypsy Eric’s heart skipped a couple of beats at 134/min.
– QHata Nayka, he said shyly.
– Lush nayka, countered Handyman Jimmy automatically, trying hard to remember the Chinuk-wawa for nuts. Then he saw a half-open bag next to Gypsy Eric’s chair.
– LaXayfN nayka shiks, he said.
Gypsy Eric completely mistook the expression on Handyman Jimmy’s face and he trembled. It was now or never.
– Nayka qat mayka, he murmured, his eyes filling with Salt-tsfqw.
– Taqwfla! said Handyman Jimmy, gesturing at the bag of hazelnuts which Gypsy Eric, having skipped breakfast, had been cracking between his molars. Taqwfl! he repeated, and he crossed the road to the hardware store, the morning’s lexical challenge resolved.
Gypsy Eric paused for a moment in despair and then rose in pursuit of Handyman Jimmy.
– PHaya-TsikTsik! shouted Mrs Jones the Token Welshwoman, but it was too late.
– TilixaN only, breathed Gypsy Eric, and his life and his Taqwfla flowed softly down the street and out of town.

Now I am inclined to go and do something else, but a romantic comedy set on Wall Street is on its way.

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Comments

  1. No, you’re enskeleting the flesh. Who is Gypsy Eric? Anything to do with Belle de Jour?

  2. The handyman’s name changes from Jimmy to Eric, while the gypsy remains Eric the whole time. Which, naturally, leads to confusion.

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