Siuslaw language

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Lower Umpqua
Region Oregon
Ethnicity Siuslaw people
Extinct 1970s
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sis
Glottolog sius1254[1]
Siuslaw lang.png
Pre-contact distribution of Siuslaw

Siuslaw /ˈsjuːslɑː/ was the language of the Siuslaw people and Lower Umpqua (Kuitsh) people of Oregon. It is also known as Lower Umpqua; Upper Umpqua (or simply Umpqua) was an Athabaskan language. Siuslaw language had two dialects: Siuslaw dialect and Kuitsh (Quich) dialect.

The documentation consists of a 12-page vocabulary by James Owen Dorsey, three months of fieldwork by Leo J. Frachtenberg in 1911 with a non-English-speaking native speaker and her Alsean husband (who spoke it as a second language), a wordlist of approximately 150 words taken by Melville Jacobs in 1935 in work with Lower Umpqua speaker Hank Johnson, an audio recording of Siuslaw speaker Spencer Scott from 1941, hundreds of pages of notes from John Peabody Harrington in 1942 based on interviews with several native speakers, audio recordings of vocabulary by Morris Swadesh in 1953. Frachtenberg (1914, 1922) and Hymes (1966) are publications based on their material.


  • Dorsey, James Owen. (1884). [Siuslaw vocabulary, with sketch map showing villages, and incomplete key giving village names October 27, 1884]. Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives.[1]
  • Frachtenberg, Leo. (1914). Lower Umpqua texts and notes on the Kusan dialect. In Columbia University contributions to Anthropology (Vol. 4, pp. 151–150).
  • Frachtenberg, Leo Joachim; Franz Boas; Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology (1917). Siuslawan (Lower Umpqua): an illustrative sketch. Govt. Printing Office. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  • Frachtenberg, Leo. (1922). Siuslawan (Lower Umpqua). In Handbook of American Indian languages (Vol. 2, pp. 431–629).
  • Harrington, John P. 1942. "Alsea, SIuslaw, Coos, Southwest Oregon Athapaskan: Vocabularies, Linguistic Notes, Ethnographic and Historical Notes." John Peabody Harrington Papers, Alaska/Northwest Coast. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
  • Hymes, Dell. (1966). Some points of Siuslaw phonology. International Journal of American Linguistics, 32, 328-342.
  • Melville Jacobs papers, 1918-1978, University of Washington Special Collections, Seattle WA.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Siuslaw". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

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