|Native to||United States|
|Region||Northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, on the south side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca|
|Ethnicity||2,220 Makah people (2000 census)|
|Extinct||2002, with the death of Ruth E. Claplanhoo|
The Makah language is the indigenous language spoken by the Makah people. Makah has been extinct as a first language since 2002, when its last fluent native speaker died. However, it survives as a second language, and the Makah tribe is attempting to revive the language, including through preschool classes. The endonymous name for Makah is qʷi·qʷi·diččaq.
Makah is spoken by the Makah people who reside in the northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, on the south side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is closely related to Nuu-chah-nulth and Ditidaht, which are languages of the First Nations of the west coast of Vancouver Island on the north side of the strait, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Makah is the only member of the Wakashan language family in the United States, with the other members spoken by in British Columbia, from Vancouver Island to the Central Coast region.
Makah, Nuu-chah-nulth and Ditidaht belong to the Southern Nootkan branch of the Wakashan family. The Northern Wakashan languages, which are Kwak'wala, Heiltsuk-Oowekyala and Haisla, are spoken farther north, beyond the territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people.
The phonemes (distinctive sounds) of Makah are presented below in the Makah alphabet; if the symbol in the native alphabet differs from the IPA symbol, the IPA equivalent will be given in brackets.
|ejective||p̓ [pʼ]||t̓ [tʼ]||k̓ [kʼ]||k̓ʷ [kʷʼ]||q̓ [qʼ]||q̓ʷ [qʷʼ]|
|Affricate||voiceless||c [ts]||ƛ [tɬ]||č [tʃ]|
|ejective||c̓ [tsʼ]||ƛ̓ [tɬʼ]||č̓ [tʃʼ]|
|Fricative||s||ł [ɬ]||š [ʃ]||x||xʷ||x̌ [χ]||x̌ʷ [χʷ]|
There are five "short" vowels (actually lax), written a, e, i, o, and u, and pronounced [ə], [ɛ], [ɪ], [ɔ], and [ʊ]), five "long" vowels (written a·, e·, i·, o·, and u·, and pronounced [a], [æ], [i], [o], and [u]), and six "diphthongs" (written ay, oy, ey, iy, aw, and uy, and pronounced [aj], [ɔj], [e], [iː], [aw], and [uːj]).
|hi·dawʔaƛwa·d||"I hear he found it"||-wa·t, hearsay|
|pu·pu·q̓adʔi||"he's blowing a whistle"||-q̓adi, auditory|
|č̓apaccaqil||"It looks like a canoe"||-caqił, uncertain visual evidence, as trying to make out something at a distance|
|haʔuk̓aƛpi·dic||"I see you ate"||-pi·t, inference from physical evidence|
|dudu·k̓aƛx̌a·š||"He's probably singing"||-x̌a·-š, inferred probability|
Alongside those examples, compare corresponding sentences without the evidentials: hi·dawʔal, "he found it"; č̓apac̓, "it's a canoe"; haʔuk̓alic, "you're eating"; dudu·k̓al, "he's singing".
- LOWLANDS-L archives - August 2002, week 4 (#10)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Makah". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Makah Language and the Makah Indian Tribe (Kweedishchaaht, Kweneecheeaht, Macaw, Classet, Klasset)
- Our Language
- Davidson, Matthew (2002). Studies in Southern Wakashan (Nootkan) Grammar. Ph.D. dissertation, SUNY Buffalo, p. 349
- The phoneme inventory and Makah alphabet are from pg. 422 of Renker and Gunther (1990) and from Makah Alphabet
- Jacobsen (1986). "The Heterogeneity of Evidentials in Makah." In Evidentiality: The Linguistic Coding of Epistemology, eds. Wallace Chafe & Johanna Nichols. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Cited in Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pg. 185
- Renker, Ann M. and Gunther, Erna (1990). "Makah". In "Northwest Coast", ed. Wayne Suttles. Vol. 7 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
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