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The Wakashan Linguistics Page

ʔux̌uˑʔaƛaˑk? / ʔux̣ʷaʔƛak? / ʔuḥʔaƛḥak? / Yo! / Yau! / Yawc̓!

Welcome! The Wakashan Linguistics Page is dedicated to connecting members of native communities, researchers, and the public to information having to do with the Wakashan languages: Haisla, Heiltsukvla, Wuikala, Kwak'wala, Nuu-chah-nulth, Ditidaht, and Makah. Read more about the site below, or follow one of the links at the top of the page to access electronic resources, general information on the Wakashan languages, or our bibliography.

This site was created in 2002 by student linguists at the University of British Columbia, the University of Washington, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It is hosted by the University of Washington.

What are the Wakashan languages?

The Wakashan languages are a family of related languages spoken among several First Nations on the Pacific Ocean coasts of British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, USA. The family is divided into two distinct branches: northern (Haisla, Heiltsukvla, Oowekyala, and Kwak'wala) and southern (Nuu-chah-nulth, Ditidaht, and Makah). While Wakashan shows some similarities to other nearby language families - in particular Tsimshian, Chemakuan, and the large Salish family - it exhibits many unique features as well. See the languages page.

What is linguistics?

The science of linguistics is concerned with the patterns in human language, and with all aspects of human behavior that interact with human beings' ability to use language. Contrary to widespread belief, linguistics is a different field from translation, and linguists do not necessarily speak more than one language. Linguistics includes many subfields:

Research on the Wakashan languages has focused mainly on their grammar - that is, their phonology, morphology, and syntax - their history, or how the separate languages have evolved through time, their sociolinguistics, especially regarding their unfortunate decline in use, and efforts to revitalize them, and their phonetics. There is as yet little research, for example, on Wakashan semantics, processing, or acquisition.


December 2009. When the Wakashan Linguistics Page was first established in 2002, it was paired with the Wakashan Linguistics List, which was an e-mail forum and discussion list. However, the List has since been discontinued for lack of use. If you would like to get in touch with a Wakashanist, contact one of the administrators.

May 2006. The Second Wakashan Linguistics Conference was held 5-7 May 2006 at the University of Victoria. Among other events, the participants voted to rename the conference the Wakashan Language Conference.

August 2004. The First Wakashan Linguistics Conference was held 9-11 August 2004, in conjunction with the Thirty-ninth International Conference on Salish and Neighboring Languages, at the University of British Columbia and the Squamish Nation.

Contact and Accessibility

This site is concerned with the study of the Wakashan languages. Because of this, fonts and languages may be used that are not recognized by some computers or reading software (see fonts). We strive to maximize accessibility using easy-to-find buttons and graphics with labeling. If you encounter any difficulties, or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding this site, please contact one of the administrators, replacing ATNOSPAM with the at sign:

last updated January 2010