Klallam (Nəxʷsƛʼayʼəmúcən)

Klallam is a member of the Salishan family of languages and was once spoken on the north shore of Washington's Olympic Peninsula in the USA, and also at Becher Bay on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The last known native speaker of Klallam, Hazel Sampson, died in 2014 at the age of 103. However, efforts are being made to revive the language, and increasing numbers of people are learning Klallam as a second language.

A spelling system for Klallam was devised by linguist Timothy Montler of the University of North Texas during the 1990s. He also documented the language and helped the remaining speakers of Klallam to produce teaching materials. A dictionary of Klallam was published in 1992, a grammar in 2015, and in 2020, classes in Klallam started at Peninsula College in Port Angeles.

The language is also known as Clallam, S'Klallam or Na'Klallam. It is related to the Northern Straits Salish dialects of Sooke, Lekwungen, Saanich, Lummi and Samish.

Klallam alphabet and pronunciation

Klallam alphabet and pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Klallam

Sample text in Klallam

hiyáʔ č̕ə ƛ̕ácu cə čáʔsəʔ sq̕ʷiyiʔáʔən̕ suʔwə́y̕qəʔ. níɬ č̕ə suʔčəm̕əsnə́kʷis. suʔkʷčáŋəts cə náʔc̕uʔ, "tx̣ʷéyn cxʷ ʔuč? hiyáʔ u cxʷ? hiyáʔ u cxʷ ƛ̕ácu?" suʔqʷáys cə náʔc̕uʔ ʔaʔ "ʔə́wə. hiyáʔ cən ƛ̕ácu." suʔƛ̕áys qʷáy cə náʔc̕uʔ, "o, nəx̣čŋín tə či n̕shiyáʔ ƛ̕ácu"


It seems two deaf men were going fishing. They met. Then one hollered, "Where are you going? Are you going? Are you going fishing?" The other one said, "No. I'm going fishing." Again the other one spoke, "Oh, I thought you were going fishing."

Source: http://www.ling.unt.edu/~montler/Klallam/Fishermen/

Videos in and about Klallam

Information about Klallam | Numbers


Information about Klallam

Salishan languages

Coeur d'Alene, Comox, Halkomelem, Klallam, Lushootseed, Lillooet, Nooksack, Nuxalk, Okanagan, Saanich, Salish, she shashishalhem, Shuswap, Squamish, Nlaka’pamux (Thompson)

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 11.06.23


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