Coeur d'Alene language

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Coeur d'Alene
Native to United States of America
Region northern Idaho
Native speakers
2  (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 crd
Glottolog coeu1236[2]

Coeur d'Alene (Cœur d'Alène, snchitsu'umshtsn) is a Salishan language. It was spoken by only five of the 800 individuals in the Coeur d'Alene Tribe on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation in northern Idaho, United States in 1999.[3] It is considered an endangered language. However, as of 2014, two elders in their 90s remain who grew up with snchitsu'umshtsn as their first language, and the use of the language is spreading among all age groups.[4]

The Coeur d’Alene Names-Places Project visits geographic sites on the reservation recording video, audio, and still photos of Tribal elders who describe the site in both English and Coeur d’Alene languages.[5]

The Coeur d'Alene Tribal Language Program and elders have actively promoted the use of the language,[6][7] and have created computer sounds that use Snchitsu'umshtsn phrases.[8] Radio station KWIS FM 88.3 in Plummer, Idaho offers programming to preserve the Snchitsu'umshtsn language.[9] [4]

Lawrence Nicodemus, "a retired judge and former tribal council member," [4] became a scholar of the language. He had worked with linguist Gladys Reichard in his youth, and went on to create a grammar, dictionary, and instructional materials. Nicodemus taught language classes until his death at age 94. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s language program has "taught classes and worked with the language department to record more than 2,000 hours of audio and video."[4] Classes are also available at North Idaho College.


  1. ^ Coeur d'Alene at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Coeur d'Alene". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul (ed.) (2009). "Coeur d'Alene: Ethnologue report for language code: crd". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16th ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kramer, Becky (2014-01-25). "North Idaho College offers instruction in Coeur d’Alene language". The Spokesman-Review, Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  5. ^ "Native Names: Rural broadband access preserves Native American cultural history". Media Democracy Fund. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  6. ^ "Coeur d' Alene Tribe - Language Dept". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  7. ^ "Coeur d'Alene: Cultural Preservation: Language Center". L³ - The Lewis And Clark Rediscovery Project. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  8. ^ "Audio Alerts in snchitsu'umshtsn for Computers". Coeur d'Alene Tribe. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  9. ^ Becky Kramer (2009-01-09). " Tribe gets OK for radio station". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  • Nicodemus, Lawrence (1975). Snchitsu'umshtsn: The Coeur d'Alene Language : a Modern Course, Albuquerque, NM Southwest Research Associates.

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