Salishan Languages

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Salishan Languages


a group of approximately 20 closely related American Indian languages, including Chehalis, Squawmish, Kalispel, Bellacoola, and Coeur d’Alene, spoken on the Pacific coast of Canada and the USA. The Salishan languages are sometimes included hypothetically in an Algon-quian-Wakashan macrofamily.

Phonetically, the Salishan languages are characterized by a simple vowel system (4–6 vowels) and a well-developed consonant system (30–35 consonants), the latter having a two-way or three-way system of oppositions based on the operation of the vocal cords and/or the presence of aspiration. Suffixation is considerably more frequent than prefixation. Stem reduplication is used to form the plural of substantives and the intensive mode of action in verbs. Verb morphology is quite well developed, whereas noun morphology is not. Transitive and intransitive verb conjugations are distinguished according to subject and subject-object principles. Sentence typology is mainly of the ergative type. The usual word order is predicate-subject-object. The vocabulary is characterized by deverbative nouns formed by suffixes or prefixes. Conversion is widely used.


Vogt, H. The Kalispel Language. Oslo, 1940.
Kuipers, A. H. The Squamish Language. The Hague-Paris, 1967.
Kuipers, A. H. The Shuswap Language. The Hague-Paris, 1974.


References in periodicals archive ?
Pauline Flett, noted Spokane tribal linguist, pointed out to members of her Salish language class, the bead lines of a fully contoured beaded bag.
That's why, in a closed-door ceremony in February 2008, we (the Four Host First Nations) bestowed upon Jack the name "Pool Warrior", with the Salish language name of Eskwukwela * akalh Stamsh, or "provider for the people.
Halkomelem, a Central Coast Salish language spoken in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, (1) displays split-ergative properties.
of British Columbia) presents the personal reminiscences of four female St'at'imc elders who are among the last remaining fluent speakers of St'at'imcets, a Northern Interior Salish language spoken in British Columbia.
On Vancouver Island and its offshore islands are the Sa-thloo-tuwh, or Island Comox, a group who spoke a closely related dialect of the Comox Coast Salish language that is known as "Eye a jo sum" in their dialect (the last speaker of the Island Comox dialect died in 1995).
These people speak several distinct languages belonging to the Salish language family.
The first people to claim the Nicola Valley as their home were the Okanagan and Thompson Indian tribes - part of the Salish language group.
This article is an exploration of causative constructions in Halkomelem, a Central Salish language of British Columbia.
Nile Robert Thompson wrote about his translation of the "shortest story" in Twana, a Salish language once spoken in western Washington State.
Some of the Salish languages are experiencing a similar resurgence-although the number of people speaking some of the smaller Salish languages as their first language declined five per cent between 1996 and 2001, the number of second language speakers increased by 17 per cent during the same time period.