Tsimshianic languages

Tsimshianic languages

Infobox Language family
region=British Columbia, Alaska
child1=Maritime Tsimshian

map_caption=Pre-contact distribution of Tsimshianic languages

The Tsimshianic languages are a family of languages spoken in northwestern British Columbia and in southern Alaska on Annette Island and Ketchikan. About 2,170 people of the ethnic Tsimshian population in Canada still speak the Tsimshian languages [ [http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/topics/RetrieveProductTable.cfm?Temporal=2006&APATH=3&PID=89149&THEME=73&PTYPE=88971&VID=0&GK=NA&GC=99&FL=0&RL=0&FREE=0&METH=0&S=1 Statistics Canada 2006] ] ; about 50 of the 1,300 Tsimshian people living in Alaska still speak Coast Tsimshian.Alaska Native Language Center. (2001-12-07). [http://www.uaf.edu/anlc/langs/ts.html "Tsimshian."] University of Alaska Fairbanks. Retrieved on 2007-04-11.] Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.). (2005). [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tsi "Tsimshian."] [http://www.ethnologue.com/ "Ethnologue: Languages of the World", 15th ed. (online version).] Dallas, TX: SIL International Retrieved on 2007-04-11.] Tsimshianic languages are considered by most linguists to be an isolate group of languages, with four main languages or lects: Coast Tsimshian, Southern Tsimshian, Nisga’a, and Gitksan.Alaska Native Heritage Center. (2000). [http://www.alaskanative.net/38.asp "Eyak, Haida, Tlingit & Tsimshian."] Retrieved on 2007-04-11.]

The Tsimshianic languages were included by Edward Sapir in his Penutian hypothesis, a theory which is currently not widely accepted, but is undergoing investigation by M.-L. Tarpent.

Another linguist, John A. Dunn, is the proponent of the hypothesis that the Tsimshianic family is a branch of the Indo-European languagesDunn, John A. (2002). [http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/D/John.A.Dunn-1/text/p1.htm "Proto-Tsimshian: A New World Indo-European Language."] Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, San Francisco, January 2002.] .

Family division

Tsimshianic consists of 4 lects:

# Tsimshian (a.k.a. Maritime Tsimshianic, Lower Tsimshian, Northern Tsimshian)
#* Coast Tsimshian (a.k.a. Tsimshian proper, Sm’algyax̣, Sm’algax)
#* Southern Tsimshian (a.k.a. Sgüüx̣s)
# Nass-Gitksan (a.k.a. Interior Tsimshianic, Inland Tsimshianic)
#* Nisga’a (a.k.a. Nisqa’a, Nisg̱a’a, Nishga, Nisgha, Niska, Nass, Nishka)
#* Gitksan (a.k.a. Gitxsan, Gitksanimx̣)

Coast Tsimshian is spoken along the lower Skeena River in Northwestern British Columbia, on some neighbouring islands, and to the north at New Metlakatla, Alaska. Southern Tsimshian is spoken on an island quite far South of the Skeena River, in the village of Klemtu. Southern Tsimshian is severely endangered, nearing extinction. Nisga’a is spoken along the Nass River. Gitksan is spoken along the upper Skeena River with communities around Hazelton and other areas.

Nisga’a and Gitksan are very closely related and are usually considered dialects of the same language by linguists. However, speakers from both groups consider themselves ethnically separate from each other and from the Tsimshian and thus consider Nisga’a and Gitksan to be separate languages. Coast and Southern Tsimshian are also often regarded as dialects of the same language.

ee also

* Tsimshian



* Boas, Franz. (1902). "Tsimshian Texts." Washington: Bureau of American Ethnology. Bulletin 27.
* Boas, Franz. (1911). "Tsimshian." "Handbook of American Indian Languages" Bulletin No. 40, part I, pp. 287-422.
* Mithun, Marianne. (1999). "The languages of Native North America". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.
* Tarpent, Marie-Lucie. (1997). "Tsimshianic and Penutian: Problems, Methods, Results, and Implications." "International Journal of American Linguistics" 63.52-244.

External links

* [http://www.ydli.org/bcother/bclist.htm#tsim Tsimshianic languages] (YDLI)
* [http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/images/map2.jpgmap of Northwest Coast First Nations] (including Tsimshian and Nisga’a)
* [http://www.kitsumkalum.bc.ca/language.html Sm'algyax - "The Real Language"]
* [http://www.dumbaaldum.org/ Dum Baal-dum]
* [http://www.sealaskaheritage.org/ Sealaska Heritage Institute]
* [http://www.ydli.org/biblios/coasbib.htm Bibliography of Materials on the Coast Tsimshian Language] (YDLI)
* [http://www.ydli.org/biblios/soubib.htm Bibliography of Materials on the South Tsimshian Language] (YDLI)
* [http://www.ydli.org/biblios/gitbib.htm Bibliography of Materials on the Gitksan Language] (YDLI)
* [http://www.ydli.org/biblios/nisbib.htm Bibliography of Materials on the Nisga'a Language] (YDLI)

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