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.
1. Nuxálk (a.k.a. Bella Coola, Salmon River)
A. Central Coast Salish (a.k.a. Central Salish)
Comox (a.k.a. Qʼómox̣ʷs)
Sliammon (Homalco-Klahoose-Sliammon) (a.k.a. ʔayʔaǰúθəm)
Island (a.k.a. Hulʼq̱ʼumiʼnumʼ, həl̕q̓əmín̓əm̓)
Downriver (a.k.a. Hunqʼumʔiʔnumʔ)
Upriver (a.k.a. Upper Sto:lo, Halqʼəméyləm)
4. Lushootseed (a.k.a. Puget Salish, Skagit-Nisqually, Dxʷləšúcid)
Skagit (a.k.a. Skaǰət)
Snohomish (a.k.a. Sduhubš)
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)
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) (†)
Skokomish (a.k.a. Sqʷuqʷúʔbəšq)
B. Tsamosan (a.k.a. Olympic)
12. Cowlitz (a.k.a. Lower Cowlitz, Sƛ̕púlmš) (†)
13. Upper Chehalis (a.k.a. Q̉ʷay̓áyiɬq̉) (†)
14. Lower Chehalis (a.k.a. ɬəw̓ál̕məš) (†)
15. Quinault (a.k.a. Kʷínayɬ)
16. Tillamook (a.k.a. Hutyéyu) (†)
17. Shuswap (a.k.a. Secwepemctsín, səxwəpməxcín)
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)
20. Coeur d’Alene (a.k.a. Snchitsuʼumshtsn, snčícuʔumšcn)
21. Columbian (a.k.a. Columbia, Nxaʔamxcín)
Wenatchee (a.k.a. Pesquous)
22. Colville-Okanagan (a.k.a. Okanagan, Nsilxcín, Nsíylxcən, ta nukunaqínxcən)
Quilchena & Spaxomin
Head of the Lakes
23. Spokane-Kalispel-Flathead (a.k.a. Kalispel)
Flathead (a.k.a. Séliš)
Kalispel (a.k.a. Qalispé)
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.
The names remembered and recorded for places in the original Nooksack language, Lhéchalosem, tie the modern Nooksack Indian people to their traditional lands.