Interior Salish languages

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Interior Salish
Linguistic classificationSalishan
  • Northern
  • Southern

The Interior Salish languages are one of the two main branches of the Salishan language family, the other being Coast Salish. It can be further divided into Northern and Southern subbranches. The first Interior Salish people encountered by American explorers were the Flathead people (Selish or seliš).


Languages with no living native speakers are marked with an obelisk, .

  • Salish
    • Northern
      • Shuswap, also known as Secwepemctsín and səxwəpməxcín.
      • Lillooet, also known as Lillooet, Sttt'tcets, andSt'át'imcets.[1]
      • Thompson River Salish, also known as Nlakaʼpamux, Ntlakapmuk, nɬeʔkepmxcín, Thompson River, Thompson Salish, and Thompson.
    • Southern
      • Coeur d’Alene, also known as Snchitsuʼumshtsn and snčícuʔumšcn.
      • Columbia-Moses ,[a] also known as Columbia and Nxaʔamxcín.
      • Colville-Okanagan, also known as Okanagan, Nxsəlxcin, Nsilxcín, Nsíylxcən, and ta nukunaqínxcən.[2]
      • Montana Salish, also known as Spokane-Kalispel-Flathead, Kalispel–Pend d'Oreille language, and Spokane–Kalispel–Bitterroot Salish–Upper Pend d'Oreille.

The Southern Interior Salish languages share many common phonemic values but are separated by both vowel and consonant shifts (for example k k̓ x > č č' š).

Peoples speaking an Interior Salish language[edit]


  • Secwepemc, also known as Shuswap, Secwepemctsín, səxwəpməxcín (ʃəxwəpməxtʃín).
  • St̓át̓imc, also known as Lillooet, Stlʼatlʼimx, Stlʼatlʼimc, Sƛ’aƛ’imxǝc (St̓át̓imcets, also known as Úcwalmicwts).
  • Nlaka'pamux, also known as Thompson River Salish, Ntlakapmuk, Ntleʼkepmxcín, Thompson River, Thompson Salish, Thompson, known in frontier times as the Hakamaugh, Klackarpun, Couteau or Knife Indians.




Many speakers and students of these languages live near the city of Spokane and for the past three years have gathered at the Celebrating Salish Conference which is hosted by the Kalispel Tribe at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Currently undergoing revival.


  1. ^ Matthewson, Lisa; Davis, Henry; Rullmann, Hotze (2007-12-31). "Evidentials as epistemic modals: Evidence from St'át'imcets". Linguistic Variation Yearbook. 7: 201–254. doi:10.1075/livy.7.07mat. ISSN 1568-1483.
  2. ^ "Sharing One Skin". Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  3. ^ Rosenbaum, Cary (2019-03-12). "Celebrating Salish Conference reaches 10 years". Tribal Tribune. Retrieved 2023-10-31.

Further reading[edit]

  • Flucke, A. F. Interior Salish. 1952.
  • Hanna, Darwin, and Mamie Henry. Our Tellings: Interior Salish Stories of the Nlhaʼkapmx People. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1995. ISBN 0-7748-0525-0
  • Orser, Brenda I. L. Stem-Initial Pharyngeal Resonants [Symbol for Central Pharyngeal Fricative, Followed by Symbol for Labialized Central Pharyngeal Fricative], in Spokane, Interior Salish. Ottawa: National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, 1993.
  • Pickford, Arthur E. Interior Salish. British Columbia heritage series, v. 3. Victoria, [B.C.]: Province of British Columbia, Dept. of Education, Division of Curriculum, 1971.

External links[edit]