Wakashan languages


Wakashan languages

Infobox Language family
name=Wakashan
region=British Columbia, Canada
familycolor=American
family=One of the world's primary language families
child1=Northern Wakashan
*Haisla
*Kwak'wala
*Heiltsuk-Oowekyala
**Heiltsuk
**Oowekyala
child2=Southern Wakashan
*Makah
*Nitinaht
*Nuu-chah-nulth


map_caption=Pre-contact distribution of Wakashan languages

Wakashan is a family of languages spoken in British Columbia around and on Vancouver Island, and in the northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, on the south side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

As typical of the Northwest Coast, Wakashan languages have large consonant inventories—the consonants often occurring in complex clusters.

Family division

Wakashan consists of 7 languages:

I. Northern Wakashan: 1. Haisla (a.k.a. Xaʔislak’ala): 2. Kwak'wala (a.k.a. Kwakiutl, spoken by Southern Kwakiutl, Kwakwaka'wakw people): A. Heiltsuk-Oowekyala (a.k.a. Bella Bella):: 3. Heiltsuk:: 4. Oowekyala

II. Southern Wakashan: 5. Makah: 6. Nitinaht (a.k.a. Nitinat, Ditidaht, Southern Nootkan): 7. Nuu-chah-nulth (a.k.a. Nootka, Nutka, Aht, West Coast, T’aat’aaqsapa)

Further reading


* Liedtke, Stefan. Wakashan, Salishan and Penutian and Wider Connections Cognate Sets. "Linguistic data on diskette series, no. 09. M unchen: Lincom Europa,zv1995, 1995". ISBN 3929075245

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