Salishan Language Family


Alternate Names: Salish

The Salishan 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 Salish 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 International Phonetic Alphabet 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 with all but two of them being concentrated together in a single large area. Below is a list of Salishan tribes, languages, dialects, and subdialects.

Neighboring groups have communicated often, to the point that it is difficult to untangle the influence each dialect and language has upon others.

A 1969 study found that "language relationships are highest and closest among the Interior Division, whereas they are most distant among the Coast Division.

The Salishan languages, principally Chehalis, contributed greatly to the vocabulary of the Chinook Jargon.


Bella Coola

1. Nuxálk (a.k.a. Bella Coola, Salmon River)

        Kimsquit
        Bella Coola
        Kwatna
        Tallheo

Coast Salish

A. Central Coast Salish (a.k.a. Central Salish)

2. Comox

         Comox (a.k.a. Qʼómox̣ʷs)
         Sliammon (Homalco-Klahoose-Sliammon) (a.k.a. ʔayʔaǰúθəm)

3. Halkomelem

        Island (a.k.a. Hulʼq̱ʼumiʼnumʼ, həl̕q̓əmín̓əm̓)

        Cowichan
        Snuneymuxw/Nanaimo

Downriver (a.k.a. Hunqʼumʔiʔnumʔ)

      Musqueam

      Upriver (a.k.a. Upper Sto:lo, Halqʼəméyləm)

      Katzie
      Kwantlen
      Chehalis (Canada)
      Chilliwack
      Tait
      Skway

4. Lushootseed (a.k.a. Puget Salish, Skagit-Nisqually, Dxʷləšúcid)

        Northern

             Skagit (a.k.a. Skaǰət)
             Snohomish (a.k.a. Sduhubš)

         Southern

              Duwamish-Suquamish (a.k.a. Dxʷduʔabš)
              Puyallup (a.k.a. Spuyaləpubš)
              Nisqually (a.k.a. Sqʷaliʔabš)

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, Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̓emúcən)

     Becher Bay
          Eastern
          Western

10. Northern Straits (a.k.a. Straits)

           Lummi (a.k.a. Xwlemiʼchosen, xʷləmiʔčósən) (†)
           Saanich (a.k.a. SENĆOŦEN, sənčáθən, sénəčqən)
           Samish (a.k.a. Siʔneməš)
           Semiahmoo (a.k.a. Tah-tu-lo) (†)
           Sooke (a.k.a. Tʼsou-ke, c̓awk) (†)
           Songhees (a.k.a. Lək̓ʷəŋín̓əŋ) (†)

11. Twana (a.k.a. Skokomish, Sqʷuqʷúʔbəšq, Tuwáduqutšad) (†)

           Quilcene
           Skokomish (a.k.a. Sqʷuqʷúʔbəšq)

B. Tsamosan (a.k.a. Olympic)

      i. Inland

12. Cowlitz (a.k.a. Lower Cowlitz, Sƛ̕púlmš) (†)
13. Upper Chehalis (a.k.a. Q̉ʷay̓áyiɬq̉) (†)

           Oakville Chehalis
           Satsop
           Tenino Chehalis

       ii. Maritime

14. Lower Chehalis (a.k.a. ɬəw̓ál̕məš) (†)

          Humptulips
          Westport-Shoalwater
          Wynoochee

15. Quinault (a.k.a. Kʷínayɬ)

           Queets
           Quinault

C. Tillamook

16. Tillamook (a.k.a. Hutyéyu) (†)

            Siletz

            Tillamook

            Garibaldi-Nestucca

            Nehalem

Interior Salish

A. Northern

       17. Shuswap (a.k.a. Secwepemctsín, səxwəpməxcín)

B. Eastern

          Kinbasket
          Shuswap Lake

C. Western

          Canim Lake
          Chu Chua
          Deadman's Creek–Kamloops
          Fraser River
          Pavilion-Bonaparte

18. Stʼatʼimcets (a.k.a. Lillooet, Lilloet, St'át'imcets)

Lillooet-Fountain
Mount Currie–Douglas

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)

      Lytton
      Nicola Valley
      Spuzzum–Boston Bar
      Thompson Canyon

B. Southern

20. Coeur d’Alene (a.k.a. Snchitsuʼumshtsn, snčícuʔumšcn)
21. Columbian (a.k.a. Columbia, Nxaʔamxcín)

Chelan
Entiat
Columbia-Moses
Wenatchee (a.k.a. Pesquous)

22. Colville-Okanagan (a.k.a. Okanagan, Nsilxcín, Nsíylxcən, ta nukunaqínxcən)

Northern

Quilchena & Spaxomin
Head of the Lakes
Penticton
Similkameen
Vernon

Southern

Lakes-Colville-Inchelium
Methow
San Poil–Nespelem
Southern Okanogan

23. Spokane-Kalispel-Flathead (a.k.a. Kalispel)

Flathead (a.k.a. Séliš)
Kalispel (a.k.a. Qalispé)

Chewelah
Kalispel

Spokane (a.k.a. Npoqínišcn)

(†) 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 also extinct.

 

Subcategories

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Nooksack Place Names

The names remembered and recorded for places in the original Nooksack language, Lhéchalosem, tie the modern Nooksack Indian people to their traditional lands.

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