Saanich is a member of the Salishan or Salish family of languages spoken by about 20 people mainly on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island in Canada, and also in Washington State in the USA. Efforts are currently being made to preserve the language and to pass it on to Saanich children.
The Saanich alphabet was designed by Saanich elder Dave Eliot in the 1970s. He realized that without the lack of a standard written form of the language might lead to it's eventually extinction, so he set about devising one, with help from a Victoria linguist. Previous spelling systems for Saanich used a number of letters to represent some of the sounds, resulting in very long, complicated words. Dave Eliot decided to design an alphabet that used a single letter to represent each sound. His invention was adopted by the Saanich Indian School Board in 1984.
Information about the Saanich Language
SENĆOŦEN Community Portal
Saalich Indian School Board
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