Siwash, sometimes spelled Sywash is not the name of any particular language. It is the Chinook Jargon word for "Indian" and in context may refer to any First Nations language. It comes from the French word sauvage "wild" and so originally had a somewhat pejorative sense, though it should be noted that French sauvage is more accurately translated "wild", in the sense of "undomesticated", than by the similar-looking "savage". Horses that live on their own, for example, are chevaux sauvages, "wild horses", which does not suggest fierceness or savagery. In Chinook Jargon it did not necessarily have a pejorative sense and was sometimes used by First Nations people to refer to themselves, but at present it is generally considered offensive.


Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006