What was Chinook Jargon and How was Chinook Jargon used during the Maritime Fur Trade?

The Maritime Fur Trade brought together traders from Russia, England, France, and many Indian nations.

To make deals, they had to be able to negotiate with one another, but nobody knew everyone else’s language. So that they could speak with one another, at least enough to trade, they developed a special language called Chinook Jargon.

It took words from English, French, and several Indian languages, including Chinook, Nootka, and Salish, and combined them to make new words and phrases. Anyone who spoke one of these languages could learn Chinook Jargon quickly and easily.

Although Chinook Jargon speakers could not communicate complicated ideas, the simple language allowed many different peoples to do business together.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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