Nooksack (Nooksack: Lhéchelesem, /'ɬə.t͡ʃə.lə.səm/)[3][4] is a Coast Salish language of the Salishan language family. Nooksack is spoken by the Nooksack people, who reside primarily along the Nooksack River in Whatcom County, Washington.

RegionWhatcom County, Washington
EthnicityNooksack people
Extinct1988, with the death of Sindick Jimmy[1]
Revival1 fluent L2 speaker in 2020[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3nok
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Linguistically, Nooksack is most closely related to the Squamish, shíshálh and Halkomelem languages, which are all spoken in nearby parts of British Columbia, Canada. Some researchers have questioned whether the Nooksack language is simply a divergent dialect of Halkomelem, but research has proved that Nooksack is in fact a distinct language.[5]

The Nooksack language has only one fluent speaker as of 2020.[2]

Usage and revitalization efforts edit

In the 1970s, the linguist Brent Galloway worked closely with the last remaining native speaker, Sindick Jimmy, to compile a dictionary of the Nooksack language. His book, Nooksack Place Names: Geography, Culture, and Language, was published in 2011. In 1988, Nooksack became extinct with the death of Sindick Jimmy.

Now, the Nooksack Indian Tribe has offered classes in the language.[6] As of 2020, one fluent speaker remained, a Nooksack tribal member who has been part of the Lhéchelesem Teacher Training Language Immersion Project.[2][6] In the project, students will spend mornings in language immersion, and afternoons working on special projects, focusing on the language use in one aspect of local native culture such as fishing or crafts. After two years, the students will obtain a certificate similar to an Associate Degree, and after four years they will be fully qualified language teachers, with the equivalent of a Bachelor of Arts. The aim is to revive the use of the Lhéchelesem language in all aspects of daily life. The program has an annual budget of $110,000, with 60 percent funded by the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) and 40 percent funded by the Nooksack Indian Tribe.[7]

Phonology edit

Vowels edit

The following table includes all the vowel sounds found in the Nooksack language.

Front Central Back
Close i (u)
Mid ə o
Open æ a

Consonants edit

The following table includes all the consonant sounds found in the Nooksack language.

Labial Alveolar Post-
Velar Uvular Glottal
plain sibilant lateral plain lab. plain lab.
Stop plain p t t͡s t͡ʃ k q ʔ
ejective t͡sʼ t͡ɬʼ t͡ʃʼ k'ʷ q'ʷ
Fricative plain s ɬ ʃ x χ χʷ h
ejective ɬʼ
Sonorant plain m n l j w

Orthography edit

Letter IPA
a /æ/
ch //
ch' /tʃʼ/
e /ə//
h /h/
i /i/
k /k/
kw /kʷ/
kw' /k'ʷ/
l /l/
lh /ɬ/
m /m/
n /n/
o /o/
p /p/
p' /pʼ/
q /q/
q' /qʼ/
qw /qʷ/
qw' /qʼʷ/
s /s/
sh /ʃ/
t /t/
t' /tʼ/
th /θ/[4]
th' /θʼ/[4]
tl' /t͡ɬʼ/
ts /t͡s/
ts' /t͡sʼ/
u [u] (allophone of /o/)[4]
w /w/
x /xʲ/[4]
xw /xʷ/
x̱w /χʷ/
y /j/
7 /ʔ/

In addition, the diacritic "ː" indicates that the preceding sound is long (e.g. , ). An acute accent (´) is placed on the accented syllable.

References edit

  1. ^ Nooksack at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Hu, Jane C (2020-02-01). "One woman took a stand against tribal disenrollment and paid for it". High Country News. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  3. ^ "About Us". Nooksack Indian Tribe. 2023-09-21. Retrieved 2023-09-22.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Richardson, Allan (2011). Nooksack Place Names: Geography, Culture, and Language. Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN 9780774820455.
  5. ^ Galloway, Brent D. (1984). "A Look at Nooksack Phonology". Anthropological Linguistics. 26 (1): 13–41. JSTOR 30027696.
  6. ^ a b "Nooksack program revives a nearly extinct language". Canku Ota. 2002-02-23. Archived from the original on 2014-11-27. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  7. ^ Adkinson, Brita. "Revitalization project hopes to revive Nooksack language". Foothills Gazette. Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2013-09-15.

External links edit