St'at'imcets language

St'at'imcets language

region=British Columbia
speakers=200 (native)
fam2=Interior Salish

St'at'imcets (also Lillooet, Lilloet, St’át’imcets) is an Interior Salishan language spoken in southern British Columbia, Canada around the middle Fraser and Lillooet rivers by the St'at'imc people. The dialect of the Lower Lillooet people uses the name Ucwalmícwts [ [ BCGNIS listing "Perrets Indian Reserve" - one of seven references in BCGNIS to "Ucwalmícwts"] ] as St'at'imcets properly means "the language of the people of Sat', i.e. the Upper Lillooet of the Fraser River.

St'at'imcets is an endangered language with as few as 200 native speakers practically all of whom are over 60 years of age (Gordon 2005).

Regional varieties

St'at'imcets has two main dialects:

* "Upper St’at’imcets" (a.k.a. St’aá’imcets, Fountain)
* "Lower St’at’imcets" (a.k.a. Lil'wat7úlmec, Mount Currie)

Upper St'at'imcets is spoken around Fountain, Pavilion, Lillooet, and neighboring areas. Lower St'at'imcets is spoken around Mount Currie and neighboring areas. An additional subdialect called Skookumchuck is spoken within the Lower St'at'imcets dialect area, but there is no information available in van Eijk (1981, 1997) (which are the main references for this article).



St'at'imcets has 44 consonants:

Phonological processes

* epenthetic /ə/.

Post-velar Harmony (retraction):

* Within roots, there is a restriction that all consonant and vowel retracted-nonretracted pairs must be of the same type. That is, a root may not contain both a retracted and a nonretracted vowel or consonant. This is a type of "Retraced Tongue Root harmony" (also called "pharyngeal harmony") involving both vowels and consonants that is an areal feature of this region of North America, shared by other Interior Salishan and non-Salishan languages (for example see Chilcotin vowel flattening).

* In addition to the root harmony restriction, some suffixes harmonize with the root to which they are attached. For instance, the inchoative suffix IPA|/-ɣʷélʼx/ "-gwil’c":


More than one reduplicative process can occur in a given word:

St’át’imcets has several other variants of the above types. Reduplication is further complicated by consonant glottalization (see van Eijk (1997) for details).


The following is a portion of a story in van Eijk (1981:87) told by Rosie Joseph of Mount Currie.


English translation:

This time it is Máma I am going to talk about. She went that way to get some food from her roothouse. So she took along her bucket. She got there, and she stayed around, taking potatoes. She was doing that, and then a mouse ran by there. So she grabbed it, she squeezed it. So she said: "You get all squashed now!" So she opened her hand and she let go of what turned out to be a potato, it was a rotten potato that she had caught....


External links

* [ Audio sample of spoken Lower St'at'imcets and a few Lil'wat songs]
* [ of Northwest Coast First Nations] (including St'at'imc)
* [ Bibliography of Materials on the Lillooet Language] (YDLI)
* [ The Lillooet Language] (YDLI)
* [ St'at'imcets - The Lillooet Language]
* [ The St’at’imcets Language] (Native Language, Font, & Keyboard)
* [ USLCES webpages] (USLCES webpages)
* [ Ethnologue: Lillooet]


* Frank, Beverley, Rose Whitley, and Jan van Eijk. "Nqwaluttenlhkalha English to Statimcets Dictionary". Volume One. 2002. ISBN 189671918X
* Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (Ed.). (2005). "Ethnologue: Languages of the world" (15th ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International. ISBN 1-55671-159-X. (Online version:
* Joseph, Marie. (1979). "Cuystwí malh Ucwalmícwts: Ucwalmícwts curriculum for beginners". Mount Currie, B.C.: Ts’zil Publishing House. ISBN 0-920938-00-0.
* Larochell, Martina; van Eijk, Jan P.; & Williams, Lorna. (1981). "Cuystwí malh Ucwalmícwts: Lillooet legends and stories". Mount Currie, B.C.: Ts’zil Publishing House. ISBN 0-920938-03-5.
* Lillooet Tribal Council. (1993). "Introducing St'at'imcets (Fraser River Dialect): A primer". Lillooet, British Columbia: Lillooet Tribal Council.
* Matthewson, Lisa, and Beverley Frank. " [ When I was small = I wan kwikws : a grammatical analysis of St'át'imc oral narratives] ". First nations languages. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005. ISBN 0774810904
* Poser, William J. (2003). The status of documentation for British Columbia native languages. Yinka Dene Language Institute Technical Report (No. 2). Vanderhoof, British Columbia: Yinka Dene Language Institute. (2003 updated version).
* van Eijk, Jan P. (1981). "Cuystwí malh Ucwalmícwts: Teach yourself Lillooet: Ucwalmícwts curriculum for advanced learners". Mount Currie, B.C.: Ts’zil Publishing House. ISBN 0-920938-02-7.
* van Eijk, Jan P. (1985). "The Lillooet language: Phonology, morphology, syntax". Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam.
* van Eijk, Jan P. (1988). Lillooet forms for 'pretending' and 'acting like'. "International Journal of Linguistics", "54", 106-110.
* van Eijk, Jan P. (1990). Intransitivity, transitivity and control in Lillooet Salish. In H. Pinkster & I. Grenee (Eds.), "Unity in diversity: Papers presented to Simon C. Dik on his 50th birthday" (pp. 47-64). Dordrecht, Holland: Foris.
* van Eijk, Jan P. (1993). CVC reduplication and infixation in Lillooet. In A. Mattina & T. Montler (Eds.), "American Indian linguistics and ethnography in honor of Laurence C. Thompson" (pp. 317-326). University of Montana occasional papers in linguistics (No. 10). Missoula: University of Montana.
* van Eijk, Jan P. (1997). "The Lillooet language: Phonology, morphology, syntax". Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN 0-7748-0625-7. (Revised version of van Eijk 1985).
* Williams, Lorna; van Eijk, Jan P.; & Turner, Gordon. (1979). "Cuystwí malh Ucwalmícwts: Ucwalmícwts curriculum for intermediates". Mount Currie, B.C.: Ts’zil Publishing House. ISBN 0-920938-01-9.

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