From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Salish" redirects here. For the Salish
people, see Coast
- This article is about the Salish/Salishan language. For the
Tacoma, Washington, neighborhood, see Salishan, Tacoma,
The Salishan (also Salish)
languages are a group of languages of the Pacific
Northwest (the Canadian province of British Columbia and the American
states of Washington,
Oregon, Idaho and Montana). They
are characterised by agglutinativity and astonishing consonant clusters—for
instance the Nuxálk word xłp̓x̣ʷłtłpłłskʷc̓
(IPA: [xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]) meaning "he had had a
bunchberry plant" has
13 consonants in a row with no vowels.
The terms Salish and Salishan are used
interchangeably by Salishan linguists and anthropologists. The name
Salish is actually the endonym of the
Flathead Nation. The name was later extended by linguists to
refer to other related languages. Many languages do not have
self-designations and instead have specific names for local
dialects as the local group was more important culturally than
larger tribal relations.
All Salishan languages which are not extinct are endangered—some extremely so with
only three or four speakers left. Practically all languages only
have speakers who are over sixty years of age, and many languages
only have speakers over eighty. Salish is most commonly written
using the Americanist phonetic
notation to account for the various vowels and consonants that
do not exist in most modern alphabets.
The Salishan language family consists of twenty-three languages.
Below is a list of Salishan languages, dialects, and sub-dialects.
This list is a linguistic classification that may not correspond to
political divisions. Many Salishan groups consider their variety of
speech to be a separate language rather than a dialect.
- 1. Nuxálk (a.k.a. Bella Coola,
- A. Central Coast Salish (a.k.a. Central Salish)
- 2. Comox
- Island Comox
(Homalco-Klahoose-Sliammon) (a.k.a. ʔayʔaǰúθəm)
- 3. Halkomelem
(a.k.a. Hulʼq̱ʼumiʼnumʼ, həl̕q̓əmín̓əm̓)
(a.k.a. Upper Sto:lo, Halqʼəméyləm)
- 4. Lushootseed (a.k.a. Puget Salish,
- 5. Nooksack (a.k.a. Nooksack
ɬə́čələsəm, ɬə́čælosəm) (†)
- 6. Pentlatch (a.k.a. Pənƛ̕áč)
- 7. Sháshíshálh (a.k.a.
Sechelt, Seshelt, Shashishalhem, šášíšáɬəm)
- 8. Sḵwxwú7mesh snichim (a.k.a.
Squamish, Sqwxwu7mish, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, sqʷx̣ʷúʔməš)
- i. Straits Salish group (a.k.a. Straits)
- 9. Klallam (a.k.a. Clallam,
- 10. Northern
Straits (a.k.a. Straits)
- Lummi (a.k.a.
Xwlemiʼchosen, xʷləmiʔčósən) (†)
(a.k.a. SENĆOŦEN, sənčáθən, sénəčqən)
- Samish (a.k.a.
- Semiahmoo (a.k.a.
- Sooke (a.k.a.
Tʼsou-ke, c̓awk) (†)
- Songhees (a.k.a.
- 11. Twana (a.k.a. Skokomish,
Sqʷuqʷúʔbəšq, Tuwáduqutšad) (†)
- B. Tsamosan (a.k.a. Olympic)
- i. Inland
- 12. Cowlitz (a.k.a. Lower
Cowlitz, Sƛ̕púlmš) (†)
- 13. Upper Chehalis (a.k.a.
- ii. Maritime
- 14. Lower Chehalis (a.k.a.
- 15. Quinault (a.k.a. Kʷínayɬ)
- C. Tillamook
- 16. Tillamook (a.k.a. Hutyéyu)
- A. Northern
- 17. Shuswap (a.k.a.
- 18. Stʼatʼimcets (a.k.a.
Lillooet, Lilloet, St'át'imcets)
- 19. Thompson River Salish (a.k.a.
Nlakaʼpamux, Ntlakapmuk, nɬeʔkepmxcín, Thompson River, Thompson
Salish, Thompson, known in frontier times as the Hakamaugh,
Klackarpun, Couteau or Knife Indians)
- Spuzzum–Boston Bar
- B. Southern
- 20. Coeur d’Alene (a.k.a.
- 21. Columbian (a.k.a. Columbia,
- 22. Colville-Okanagan (a.k.a.
Okanagan, Nsilxcín, Nsíylxcən, ta nukunaqínxcən)
- 23. Spokane-Kalispel-Flathead
- Flathead (a.k.a.
Pentlatch, Nooksack, Twana, Lower Chehalis, Upper Chehalis,
Cowlitz, and Tillamook are now extinct. Additionally, the Lummi,
Semiahmoo, Songhees, and Sooke dialects of Northern Straits are
No relationship to any other language is well established. The
most plausible connection is with the language isolate Kutenai (Kootenai), which is generally
considered not unlikely but not solidly established.
suggested that the Salishan languages may be related to the Wakashan
and Chimakuan languages in a
hypothetical Mosan family. This proposal persists
primarily due to Sapir's stature. There is little evidence for it
and no progress has been made in reconstructing such a family.
The Salishan languages, principally Chehalis, contributed
greatly to the vocabulary of the Chinook Jargon.
Stanley Evans has written a
series of crime fiction novels that use Salish lore and
An episode of Stargate SG-1 ("Spirits", 2x13) features
a culture of extraterrestrial humans loosely inspired by Pacific
coastal First Nations culture, and who speak a language referred to
as "ancient Salish".
- Boas, Franz, et al. (1917). Folk-Tales of Salishan and
Sahaptin Tribes. Memoirs of the American Folk-lore Society,
11. Lancaster, Pa: American Folk-Lore Society.
- Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa; & Kinkade, M. Dale (Eds.). (1997).
Salish languages and linguistics: Theoretical and descriptive
perspectives. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN
- Flathead Culture Committee. (1981). Common Names of the
Flathead Language. St. Ignatius, Mont: The Committee.
- Kroeber, Paul D. (1999). The Salish language family:
Reconstructing syntax. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press
in cooperation with the American Indian Studies Research Institute,
Indiana University, Bloomington.
- Kuipers, Aert H. (2002).Salish Etymological
Dictionary. Missoula, MT: Linguistics Laboratory, University
of Montana. ISBN 1879763168
- Liedtke, Stefan. (1995). Wakashan, Salishan and Penutian
and Wider Connections Cognate Sets. Linguistic data on
diskette series, no. 09. Munchen: Lincom Europa,z\v1995.
- Pilling, James Constantine. (1893). Bibliography of the
Salishan Languages. Washington: G.P.O..
- Pilling, James Constantine (2007). Bibliography of the
Salishan Languages. Reprint by Gardners Books. ISBN
- Thompson, Laurence C. (1973). The northwest. In T. A. Sebeok
(Ed.), Linguistics in North America (pp. 979-1045).
Current trends in linguistics (Vol. 10). The Hague: Mouton.
- Thompson, Laurence C. (1979). Salishan and the northwest. In L.
Campbell & M. Mithun (Eds.), The languages of native
America: Historical and comparative assessment
(pp. 692-765). Austin: University of Texas Press.