Nuxalk (ItNuxalkmc)

Nuxalk [nuχalk] is a Salishan language spoken in Bella Coola in British Colombia in Canada. In 2014 there were 17 Nuxalk speakers, all of whom were elderly. The language is also known as Bella Coola, although Nuxalk is the preferred name, particularly for the Nuxalk Nation government. The name Bella Coola comes from bḷ́xʷlá, which means "stranger" in Heiltsuk, a Wakashan language also spoken in British Colombia.

Nuxalk is taught in a number of provincial schools in British Colombia and in Nuxalk Nation's school, Acwsalcta.

There are two ways of writing Nuxalk: the Americanist orthography developed by Philip Davis and Ross Saunders, and a practical orthography used in Hank Nater's The Bella Coola Language (1984) and his Nuxalk-English Dictionary (1990).

Nuxalk alphabet and pronunciation

The practical orthography is shown first, then the Americanist orthography, where they differ. For example, in the practical orthography the phoneme /xʲ/ is written C, and it's written X in the Americanist orthography.

Nuxalk alphabet and pronunciation

Download a Nuxalk pronunciation chart in PDF or Excel format.

Some details of Nuxalk pronunciation supplied by Wolfram Siegel


clhp'xwlhtlhplhhskwts' / xłp̓χʷłtłpłłskʷc̓

IPA transcription



Then he had had in his possession a bunchberry plant.

This is an example of a word with no vowels, something that is quite common in Nuxalk.

Souce: Nater, Hank F. (1984). The Bella Coola Language. Mercury Series; Canadian Ethnology Service (No. 92). Ottawa: National Museums of Canada.

Sample videos in Nuxalk


Information about the Nuxalk Language

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: 03.07.23


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