Twana language

The Twana (tuwaduq)[2] language, also known as Skokomish, is a Coast Salish language of the Salishan language family. It is believed by some elders within the Skokomish community (such as Bruce Subiyay Miller) that the language branched off from Lushootseed (dxwəlšucid) because of the region-wide tradition of not speaking the name of someone who died for a year after their death. Substitute words were found in their place and often became normalizing in the community, generating differences from one community to the next. Subiyay speculated that this process increased the drift rate between languages and separated Twana firmly from xwəlšucid (Lushootseed).

Native toUnited States
RegionEast of Puget Sound, Washington state
Ethnicity350 Twana (1977)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3twa

The last fluent speaker died in 1980.[1]

The Skokomish Indian Tribe released an online Twana dictionary in 2020.[2]

The name "Skokomish" is an Anglicization of the Twana word sqʷuqʷúʔbəš and means "river people" or "people of the river".[3][4][5]


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
central sibilant lateral plain lab. plain lab.
plain p t ts k q ʔ
ejective tsʼ tɬʼ tʃʼ kʷʼ qʷʼ
voiced b d d͡z[a] d͡ʒ[a] ɡ[a] ɡʷ[a]
Fricative s ɬ ʃ x[b] χ χʷ h
Sonorant plain m n l j w
glottalized ˀm ˀl ˀj ˀw
  1. ^ a b c d Found in loan words.
  2. ^ The sound [x] is disputed to be a main sound.

Vowel sounds present are [e ɛ ə o a].

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Twana at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Drachman, Gaberell (2020). tuwaduq: The Twana Language E-Dictionary Project. Skokomish Indian Tribe.
  3. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 452. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  4. ^ Wray, Jacilee (2003). "Skokomish: Twana Descendants". Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula: Who We Are. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-8061-3552-6. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  5. ^ The Skokomish Tribal Nation
  6. ^ Drachman, Gaberell (1969). Twana Phonology. Department of Linguistics, Ohio State University.

External linksEdit