Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Klonas


[klo’-NASS] — adverb. 

Meaning: Perhaps; probably; doubtful; might; may; maybe so; I do not know; who knows

Origin: Chinook tlunas ‘maybe,’ ‘don’t know’

Klonas (sometimes spelled as klonass) is a word used as an expression of indecision, uncertainty, or doubt in the mind of the speaker, and in many ways equivalent to the Spanish term quién sabe, “who knows?”.

A conditional or suppositive meaning is given to a sentence by the word ‘klonas’, though it should be noted that ‘klonas’ is used differently from ‘spose’ (suppose; if), something which is sometimes confused by novice learners of Chinook Wawa.

An unknown person would simply be identified as “klonas klaksta” (somebody), while finding your hotel room requires looking for a specific “klonas kunsih” (number).

If someone were to ask you if it was going to rain today, you could respond “klonas halo” (probably not) or “klonas nowitka” ( probably so, perhaps so; maybe). If both of something could equally apply to a situation, one could simply say “klonas klonas” (either-or).


“Kah mika kahpho?” (Where is your brother?)

“Klonas.” (I don’t know; who knows?)

“Klonas yaka chako tomollo.” (Perhaps he will come tomorrow)

“Klonas nika klatawa.” (Perhaps I shall go; maybe I’ll go)

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