Hopinka, who is fluent in Chinuk Wawa
, has been an active participant in its revival in the Pacific Northwest, and language occupies a central role in his films.
Zenk for sharing their extensive knowledge of Kiksht and Chinuk Wawa
; their assistance is greatly appreciated.
So he does his best to ask for it - in Chinuk Wawa, the only language spoken in his immersion preschool.
Chinuk Wawa evolved as a pidgin language, a pared-down, intertribal tongue that facilitated trade among Northwest bands speaking dozens of languages and hundreds of dialects.
"Eight different main tribal languages and more than two dozen dialects were once spoken here," said Henry Zenk, a Portland anthropologist who did his doctoral dissertation on Chinuk Wawa after interviewing Grand Ronde elders in the early 1980s.
"Chinuk Wawa is the last indigenous language left here," agreed Zenk, now working with Johnson on a Chinuk Wawa dictionary.
Language institute participants from the Yakama, Wasco, Warm Springs, Paiute and Klamath tribes learned language-teaching techniques from Tony Johnson, director of the Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa
immersion program, and Yakama elder Virginia Beavert, who teaches Sahaptin.