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Interior Salish languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Interior Salish
Linguistic classificationSalishan
  • Northern
  • Southern

The Interior Salish languages are one of the two main branches of the Salishan language family, the other being Coast Salish. It can be further divided into Northern and Southern subbranches. The first Salishan people encountered by American explorers were the Flathead people (Selish or seliš), among the most easternly of the group.


  • Northern
    • Shuswap (also known as Secwepemctsín, səxwəpməxcín)
    • Lillooet (also known as Lillooet, Sttt'tcets)
    • Thompson River Salish (also known as Nlakaʼpamux, Ntlakapmuk, nɬeʔkepmxcín, Thompson River, Thompson Salish, Thompson, known in frontier
  • Southern
    • Coeur d’Alene (also known as Snchitsuʼumshtsn, snčícuʔumšcn)
    • Columbia-Moses (also known as Columbia, Nxaʔamxcín)
    • Colville-Okanagan (also known as Okanagan, Nxsəlxcin, Nsilxcín, Nsíylxcən, ta nukunaqínxcən)
    • Montana Salish (Spokane-Kalispel-Flathead, Kalispel–Pend d'Oreille language, Spokane–Kalispel–Bitterroot Salish–Upper Pend d'Oreille)

The Southern Interior Salish languages share many common phonemic values but are separated by both vowel and consonant shifts (for example k k̓ x > č č' š).

Peoples speaking an Interior Salish language

The Interior Salish languages are closely related, with a structural diversity comparable to West Germanic.[1] The speakers of Interior Salish most likely expanded into the areal in which they were historically found during the first millennium, expanding from the coastal area and pushing southward. They only partially displaced the indigenous populations, which had been present since the mid 6th millennium BC. In the second millennium, in the time leading up to European contact (1793), the Interior Salish were strongly influenced by the spread of culture from the Northwest Coast.[2]


  • Secwepemc, also known as Shuswap, Secwepemctsín, səxwəpməxcín (ʃəxwəpməxtʃín)
  • St̓át̓imc, also known as Lillooet, Stlʼatlʼimx, Stlʼatlʼimc, Sƛ’aƛ’imxǝc (St̓át̓imcets, also known as Úcwalmicwts)
  • Nlaka'pamux, also known as Thompson River Salish, Ntlakapmuk, Ntleʼkepmxcín, Thompson River, Thompson Salish, Thompson, known in frontier times as the Hakamaugh, Klackarpun, Couteau or Knife Indians


Many speakers and students of these languages live near the city of Spokane and for the past three years have gathered at the Celebrating Salish Conference which is hosted by the Kalispel Tribe at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

See also


  1. ^ M. Dale Kinkade, Prehistory of Salishan languages, University of British Columbia (2009).
  2. ^ Sanger, D. (1967). "Prehistory of the Pacific Northwest Plateau as Seen from the Interior of British Columbia". American Antiquity, 32(02), 186–197. doi:10.2307/277903.

Further reading

  • Flucke, A. F. Interior Salish. 1952.
  • Hanna, Darwin, and Mamie Henry. Our Tellings: Interior Salish Stories of the Nlhaʼkapmx People. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1995. ISBN 0-7748-0525-0
  • Orser, Brenda I. L. Stem-Initial Pharyngeal Resonants [Symbol for Central Pharyngeal Fricative, Followed by Symbol for Labialized Central Pharyngeal Fricative], in Spokane, Interior Salish. Ottawa: National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, 1993.
  • Pickford, Arthur E. Interior Salish. British Columbia heritage series, v. 3. Victoria, [B.C.]: Province of British Columbia, Dept. of Education, Division of Curriculum, 1971.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 May 2021, at 23:27
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