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Klallam or Clallam (native name: nəxʷsƛ̕ay̕əmúcən) is a nearly extinct Straits Salishan language that was traditionally spoken by the Klallam peoples at Beecher Bay on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Today it has only 4 remaining native speakers, though revival efforts exist.
Klallam is closely related to North Straits Salish, but not mutually intelligible.
Use and revitalization efforts
The first Klallam dictionary appeared in 2012. Port Angeles High School offers Klallam language classes to its students "to meet graduation and college entrance requirements."
The 34 consonants of Klallam written in its orthography, with IPA in brackets when different:
- Glottalized sonorants /mʼ/, /nʼ/, /ɴʼ/, /jʼ/, /wʼ/ are realized either
- with creaky voice: [m̰], [n̰], [ɴ̰], [j̰], [w̰],
- as decomposed glottal stop + sonorant: [ʔm], [ʔn], [ʔɴ], [ʔj], [ʔw], or
- as decomposed sonorant + glottal stop: [mʔ], [nʔ], [ɴʔ], [jʔ], [wʔ]
- /k/ is borrowed from English and occurs in only a few words.
- /l/ also rarely occurs in Klallam.
- The alveolar affricate /t͡s/ contrasts with a sequence of stop + fricative /ts/.
The 5 vowels of Klallam:
- The sound /e/ is rare.
- Vowels may be stressed or unstressed. Unstressed vowels are shorter and lower in intensity than stressed vowels.
- Vowels are lowered when followed by a glottal stop /ʔ/:
- 'bird' /t͡sʼiʔt͡sʼəmʼ/ → [t͡sʼɛʔt͡sʼəmʼ ]
- 'deer' /huʔpt/ → [ hoʔpt ]
- 'salmon backbone' /sχəʔqʷəʔ/ → [ sχaʔqʷaʔ ]
- Vowels are also often lowered when followed by a glottalized sonorant (i.e., /mʼ/, /nʼ/, /ɴʼ/, /jʼ/, /wʼ/).
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