Klallam, Clallam, Ns'Klallam or S'klallam (endonym: Nəxʷsƛ̓ay̓əmúcən), now extinct, was a Straits Salishan language that was traditionally spoken by the Klallam peoples at Becher Bay on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.
|Native to||United States|
|Extinct||2014 (with death of Hazel Sampson)|
|Revival||Klallam Language is still spoken through youth programs.|
Becher Bay Klallam
Jamestown KlallamLittle Boston Klallam
Pre-contact distribution of the Klallam people and language
Klallam was closely related to North Straits Salish, in particular the Saanich dialect of Straits Salish, but the languages are not mutually intelligible. There were several dialects of Klallam, including Elwha Klallam, Becher Bay Klallam, Jamestown S'Klallam and Little Boston S'Klallam.
Use and revitalization effortsEdit
The first Klallam dictionary was published in 2012. Port Angeles High School, in Port Angeles, Washington, offers Klallam classes, taught as a heritage language "to meet graduation and college entrance requirements."
The last native speaker of Klallam as a first language was Hazel Sampson of Port Angeles, who died on February 4, 2014 at the age of 103. Sampson had worked along with Bea Charles (d. 2009) and Adeline Smith (d. 2013), other native speakers of Klallam, and with linguists Jamie Valadez and Timothy Montler from 1990 to compile the Klallam dictionary. In 1999, this effort led to the development of a lesson plan and guidebooks to teach students the basics of the language through storytelling. In 2015, a complete grammar of Klallam was published for second language instruction and preservation of the language.
Bilingual English-Klallam street signs were installed at two intersections in Port Angeles in 2016. In 2020, Donald Sullivan, a member of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, installed street signs in Klallam alongside existing English ones in Little Boston.
Klallam has 5 vowels:
- The sound e is rare, and occurs only before ʔ or y and y'.
- The schwa can be pronounced as /ʌ/, /ɪ/, /ʊ/, or /ɑ/ depending on its environment:
- Before ʔ or h, it becomes /ɑ/.
- Around c and č, it becomes /ɪ/.
- Before rounded dorsal consonants, it becomes /ʊ/.
- Vowels may be stressed or unstressed. Unstressed vowels are shorter and lower in intensity than stressed vowels.
- Unstressed schwas are often deleted. For example 'nətán' ("my mother") is often pronounced as 'ntán'. Schwa deletion is consistent for English-oriented opinion, but "for the best speakers this rule is variable".
- In the case of schwa deletion after a nasal consonant, the nasal consonant is doubled. For example, 'ʔínət' ("what did you say") is pronounced as 'ʔínnt' even in very careful speech.
- Vowels are lowered when followed by a glottal stop /ʔ/:
- 'bird' /t͡sʼiʔt͡sʼəmʼ/ → [t͡sʼɛʔt͡sʼəmʼ ]
- 'deer' /huʔpt/ → [ hoʔpt ]
- 'salmon backbone' /sχəʔqʷəʔ/ → [ sχaʔqʷaʔ ]
|glottalized||mʼ [mˀ]||nʼ [nˀ]||ŋʼ [ɴˀ]|
|glottalized||pʼ||tʼ||kʼʷ [kʷʼ]||qʼ||qʼʷ [qʷʼ]||ʔ|
|Affricate||plain||c [t͡s]||č [t͡ʃ]|
|glottalized||cʼ [t͡sʼ]||ƛʼ [t͡ɬʼ]||čʼ [t͡ʃʼ]|
|Fricative||s||ɬ||š [ʃ]||xʷ||x̣ [χ]||x̣ʷ [χʷ]||h|
|glottalized||yʼ [jˀ]||wʼ [wˀ]|
- Glottalized sonorants /mˀ/, /nˀ/, /ɴˀ/, /jˀ/, /wˀ/ are realized either
- with creaky voice: [m̰], [n̰], [ɴ̰], [j̰], [w̰],
- as decomposed glottal stop + sonorant: [ʔm], [ʔn], [ʔɴ], [ʔj], [ʔw], or
- as decomposed sonorant + glottal stop: [mʔ], [nʔ], [ɴʔ], [jʔ], [wʔ]
- /k/ occurs in only a few borrowed words from Chinook Jargon, English or French.
- /l/ also rarely occurs in Klallam. It often replaces rhotics in loanwords from Chinook Jargon, French, and English, although it does occur in native words like laʔyaʔləmʼtú, meaning a group of small sheep or lambs.
- The alveolar affricate /t͡s/ contrasts with a sequence of stop + fricative /ts/.
- Doubled stops and affricates are pronounced as two separate sounds, but doubled sonorants and fricatives are pronounced as long versions of a single sound.
In Klallam, strings of consonants are acceptable both at the beginning and ends of syllables. In the onset, consonant clusters are rather unstructured, so words like 'ɬq̕čšɬšáʔ' (fifty) can exist without problem. Similarly, codas can contain similar clusters of consonants, as in 'sx̣áʔəstxʷ' (to dislike something, to be no good).
Stress in Klallam defines the quality of the vowel in any given syllable and can occur only once in a word. If a vowel is unstressed, the changes are entirely predictable, as unstressed vowels get reduced to schwas. In turn, unstressed schwas are deleted. Mark Fleischer (1976) argues that schwa may be the only underlying vowel, as all others can be derived from the environment.
Klallam is a polysynthetic language, like the other languages of the Salishan family. Affixation is common for both verbs and nouns, and affixes provide temporal, case, and aspectual information. Every word contains at least one root.
The Klallam word ɁəsxʷaɁnáɁyaɁŋəs ('smiling') includes prefixes, suffixes and an infix. In its component parts, Ɂəs-xʷ-naɁnáɁ-yaɁ-ŋ-əs means "be in a state of small laughing on the face" or more simply, "smiling".
There are many forms of prefix, suffix, and infix; below are a number of examples. Allomorphy is common; often, a single affix with have multiple phonetic realizations due to stress structure or the phonology of the word it is being added to.
A common form of prefix is the time prefix. These prefixes can be added to nouns, adjectives and verbs to project ideas of time into the root's meaning. Examples include kwɬ- (already), twaw̓ (still), čaɁ (just now), and txʷ- (first, for a while).
Other prefixes add verbal semantics with meanings such as 'have', 'go to', 'go from', and 'be affected by'.
Klallam has lexical suffixes, which are unique to the languages of northwest North America. They have inherently noun-like meanings and can function as the object of a verb, create a compound meaning, and act as the object of a number word. Many refer to body parts, but there are almost 100 lexical suffixes that cover a number of different ideas. Oftentimes, these suffixes can take on metaphorically extended meaning, so 'nose' can also be used to refer to a single point, and 'mouth' can mean 'language'. Below are examples of common lexical suffixes with alternate pronunciation in parentheses. Alternate pronunciations usually depend on the location of the stress in the root.
- -ákʷtxʷ (-aɁítxʷ) – ‘dollar, round object’
- -áw̓txʷ – ‘house, building, room’
- -áy – people
- -éɁqʷ – ‘head’
- -íkʷs (-íkʷən) – ‘body, of a kind’
- -tən (-ən) – ‘instrument, tool’
- -ucən (-cən, -cín, -úc) – ‘mouth, edge, language’
There are also activity suffixes that give more information about an activity, such as 'structured' with -ayu and -ay̓s, 'customary' with -iŋəɬ, or 'habitual' with -ənəq.
Sometimes plurality is marked with an infix (however, there are many ways to mark plurality). This infix marks collective plurality, meaning that instead of strictly marking multiple of a noun, it creates a group of the noun. This infix takes one of the forms -əy̓-, -aɁy-, -éy-, or -éye- depending on the root structure and stress placement proceeding the infix.
There are multiple forms of reduplication in Klallam, and each lends a particular meaning to the word.
Two-consonant reduplication is a way to express plurality in about 10% of Kallam words. The first two consonants are copied and inserted before their location in the stem, and a schwa is inserted between them. For example, ləmətú (sheep) becomes ləmləmətú (bunch of sheep) through this process.
First letter reduplication is one of three ways to create a continuative verb form. The first consonant of a word is inserted after the first vowel, sometimes with a schwa added afterwards; for example, qán̓ cn (I steal) becomes qáqən̓ cn (I am stealing).
To create a diminutive form the first consonant is reduplicated with an additional 'suffix' of -aɁ afterwards and an infix of -Ɂ- later in the word. With this músmes (cow) becomes maɁmúɁsməs (little cow, calf). The diminutive is not limited to noun forms. When used on a verb, the meaning takes on the characteristic of 'just a little' or 'by a small thing'. With an adjective, the meaning is construed to a lesser extent then the original form.
Other forms of reduplication exist with meanings of 'characteristic', 'inceptive', and 'affective' aspects.
The typical word order in Klallam is VSO, but if the subject of the verb is obvious then the object and subject can be in any order. This means that VOS is a very frequent alternative structure. The subject is considered obvious when both participants are human and one possesses the other. For example, in kʷənáŋəts cə swéɁwəs cə táns, literally 'helped the boy his mother' (The boy helped his mother), the mother is possessed by the boy and therefore cannot be the subject. In this case, the sentence could also be written as kʷənáŋəts cə táns cə swéɁwəs, inverting the object and the subject. When an adjective is involved in a noun phrase, it comes before the noun it describes.
After the first verb, either the main verb or an auxiliary verb, often there is one or more enclitic particles "that serve to situate the speech act". These particles will add information about tense and mode or serve as evidential or question markers.
Cases in Klallam use an active-stative distinction. That is the choice of case depends on whether the actor is in control of the action (active) or not (stative). The suffix -t on a verb indicates control by the actor while a bare root implies the action was not on purpose. For example, in ćáɁkʷ cn ɁaɁ cə nətán "I got washed by my mother", the root is unmarked, but in ćáɁkʷt cn ɁaɁ cə nəŋənaɁ "I washed my child", the -t transitive suffix marks that the agent was in control of the action. In a similar manner, -nexʷ indicates a lack of control.
There is additionally a middle voice in which the suffix -eŋ marks the agent of the verb. If no patient is mentioned in the middle voice, it is assumed that the patient and the agent are the same, as in an action being done to oneself. For example, ćáɁkʷeŋ cn would usually be taken to mean "I washed myself", but it is subject to some ambiguity, as it could also mean "I washed (regularly)" or "I did some washing".
In main clauses, Klallam uses an ergative pattern to mark the third person (where they are unmarked) as, in subordinate clauses, all three persons are marked. The first and second persons in the main clause, however, and all persons in subordinate clauses follow an accusative pattern.
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|Klallam language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- Klallam language (Timothy Montler's site) (main page)
- Nancy Kolsti, "Preserving a Culture", University of North Texas, 2003.
- Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
- Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe
- Washington Post: "Northwest Tribe Struggles to Revive Its Language"
- Elaine Grinnell, Klallam storyteller and basket & drum maker