Salishan languages


  • well-established language family of the Pacific Northwest of North America
  • 23 languages in B.C., Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana
  • most languages in the family are severely endangered
  • well-known for large consonantal inventories and complex clusters of obstruents
  • also known for a weak distinction between nouns and verbs
  • most languages in the family have few or no bare transitive verbs and make use of a large inventory of valency-regulating affixes
  • languages also make use of a variety of lexical suffixes—bound morphemes refering to bodyparts, plants, animals, materials, and implements

Further reading:

Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa, and M. Dale Kinkade (1998) Salish languages and linguistics. In Salish Languages and Linguistics: Theoretical and Descriptive Perspectives, Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins and M. Dale Kinkade (eds.), 1–68. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Kroeber, Paul D. (1999) The Salishan Language Family: Reconstructing Syntax. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press.