The Salishan (also Salish) languages are a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest in North America (the Canadian province of British Columbia and the American states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana). They are characterised by agglutinativity and syllabic consonants. For instance the Nuxalk word clhp’xwlhtlhplhhskwts’ (IPA: [xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]), meaning "he had had [in his possession] a bunchberry plant", has thirteen obstruent consonants in a row with no phonetic or phonemic vowels. The Salishan languages are a geographically continuous block, with the exception of the Nuxalk (Bella Coola), in the Central Coast of British Columbia, and the extinct Tillamook language, to the south on the central coast of Oregon.
The terms Salish and Salishan are used interchangeably by linguists and anthropologists studying Salishan, but this is confusing in regular English usage. The name Salish or Selisch is the endonym of the Flathead Nation. Linguists later applied the name Salish to related languages in the Pacific Northwest. Many of the peoples do not have self-designations (autonyms) in their languages; they frequently have specific names for local dialects, as the local group was more important culturally than larger tribal relations.
All Salishan languages are considered critically endangered, some extremely so, with only three or four speakers left. Those languages considered extinct are often referred to as 'sleeping languages,' in that no speakers exist currently. In the early 21st century, few Salish languages have more than 2,000 speakers. Fluent, daily speakers of almost all Salishan languages are generally over sixty years of age; many languages have only speakers over eighty. Salishan languages are most commonly written using the Americanist phonetic notation to account for the various vowels and consonants that do not exist in most modern alphabets. Many groups have evolved their own distinctive uses of the Latin alphabet, however, such as the St'at'imc.
|Pacific Northwest and Interior Plateau/Columbia Plateau in Canada and the United States|
|Linguistic classification||One of the world's primary language families|
|ISO 639-2 / 5||sal|
Pre-contact distribution of Salishan languages (in red).
The Salishan language family consists of twenty-three languages. Below is a list of Salishan languages, dialects, and subdialects. The genetic unity among the Salish languages is evident. Neighboring groups have communicated often, to the point that it is difficult to untangle the influence each dialect and language has upon others.
A 1969 study found that "language relationships are highest and closest among the Interior Division, whereas they are most distant among the Coast Division."
This list is a linguistic classification that may not correspond to political divisions. In contrast to classifications made by linguistic scholars, many Salishan groups consider their particular variety of speech to be a separate language rather than a dialect.
Pentlatch, Nooksack, Twana, Lower Chehalis, Upper Chehalis, Cowlitz, Klallam, and Tillamook are now extinct. Additionally, the Lummi, Semiahmoo, Songhees, and Sooke dialects of Northern Straits are also extinct.
No relationship to any other language family is well established.
Edward Sapir suggested that the Salishan languages might be related to the Wakashan and Chimakuan languages in a hypothetical Mosan family. This proposal persists primarily through Sapir’s stature: with little evidence for such a family, no progress has been made in reconstructing it.
Salishan languages are known for their polysynthetic nature. A verb stem will often have at least one affix, which is typically a suffix. These suffixes perform a variety of functions, such as transitive, causative, reciprocal, reflexive, and applicative. Applicative affixes seem to be present on the verb when the direct object is central to the event being discussed, but isn’t the theme of the sentence. The direct object may be a recipient, for example.
It may also refer to a related noun phrase, like the goal a verb intends to achieve, or the instrument used in carrying out the action of the verb. In the sentence ‘The man used the axe to chop the log with.’, the axe is the instrument and is indicated in Salish through an applicative affix on the verb. Applicative affixes increase the number of affixes a verb can take on, that is, its syntactic valence. They are also known as "transitivizers" because they can change a verb from intransitive to transitive. For example, in the sentence 'I got scared.', 'scared' is intransitive. However, with the addition of an applicative affix, which is syntactically transitive, the verb in Salish becomes transitive and the sentence can come to mean ‘I got scared of you.’.
Although there is a wide array of Salish languages, they all share some basic traits. All are verb initial languages, with VSO (verb-subject-object) being the most common word order. Some Salishan languages allow for VOS and SVO as well. There is no case marking, but central noun phrases will often be preceded by determiners while non-central NPs will take prepositions. Some Salishan languages are ergative, and many take unique object agreement forms in passive statements. Subject and object pronouns usually take the form of affixes that attach to the verb. All Salish languages are head-marking. Possession is marked on the possessed noun phrase as either a prefix or a suffix, while person is marked on predicates. In Central Salish languages like Tillamook and Shuswap, only one plain NP is permitted aside from the subject.
There are three general patterns of negation among the Salishan languages. The most common pattern involves a negative predicate in the form of an impersonal and intransitive stative verb, which occurs in sentence initial position. The second pattern involves a sentence initial negative particle that is often attached to the sentence’s subject, and the last pattern simply involves a sentence initial negative particle without any change in inflectional morphology or a determiner/complementizer. In addition, there is a fourth restricted pattern that has been noted only in Squamish.
Salishan languages (along with the Wakashan and the extinct Chimakuan languages) exhibit predicate/argument flexibility. All content words are able to occur as the head of the predicate (including words with typically 'noun-like' meanings that refer to entities) or in an argument (including those with 'verb-like' meanings that refer to events). Words with noun-like meanings are automatically equivalent to [be + NOUN] when used predicatively, such as Lushootseed sbiaw which means '(is a) coyote'. Words with more verb-like meanings, when used as arguments, are equivalent to [one that VERBs] or [VERB+er]. For example, Lushootseed ʔux̌ʷ means '(one that) goes'.
The following examples are from Lushootseed.
|Sentence (1a)||ʔux̌ʷ ti sbiaw|
|Kinkade interpretation||goes||that which||is a coyote|
|Translation||The/a coyote goes.|
|Sentence (1b)||sbiaw ti ʔux̌ʷ|
|Kinkade interpretation||is a coyote||that which||goes|
|Translation||The one who goes is a coyote.|
An almost identical pair of sentences from St’át’imcets demonstrates that this phenomenon is not restricted to Lushootseed.
|Sentence (2a)||t’ak tink’yápa|
|Kinkade interpretation||goes along||that which||is a coyote|
|Translation||The/a coyote goes along.|
|Sentence (2b)||nk’yap tit’áka|
|Kinkade interpretation||is a coyote||that which||goes along|
|Translation||The one going along is a coyote.|
This and similar behaviour in other Salish and Wakashan languages has been used as evidence for a complete lack of a lexical distinction between nouns and verbs in these families. This has become controversial in recent years. David Beck of the University of Alberta contends that there is evidence for distinct lexical categories of 'noun' and 'verb' by arguing that, although any distinction is neutralised in predicative positions, words that can be categorised as 'verbs' are marked when used in syntactic argument positions. He argues that Salishan languages are omnipredicative, but only have 'uni-directional flexibility' (not 'bi-directional flexibility'), which makes Salishan languages no different from other omnipredicative languages such as Arabic and Nahuatl, which have a clear lexical noun-verb distinction.
Beck does concede, however, that the Lushootseed argument ti ʔux̌ʷ ('the one who goes', shown in example sentence (1b) above) does represent an example of an unmarked 'verb' used as an argument and that further research may potentially substantiate M. Dale Kinkade's 1983 position that all Salishan content words are essentially 'verbs' (such as ʔux̌ʷ 'goes' and sbiaw 'is a coyote') and that the use of any content word as an argument involves an underlying relative clause. For example, with the determiner ti translated as 'that which', the arguments ti ʔux̌ʷ and ti sbiaw would be most literally translated as 'that which goes' and 'that which is a coyote' respectively.
There are twenty-three languages in the Salishan language family. They occupy the Pacific Northwest, with all but two of them being concentrated together in a single large area. It is clear that these languages are related, but it’s difficult to track the development of each because their histories are so interwoven. The different speech communities have interacted a great deal, making it nearly impossible to decipher the influences of varying dialects and languages on one another. However, there are several trends and patterns that can be historically traced to generalize the development of the Salishan languages over the years.
The variation between the Salishan languages seems to depend on two main factors: the distance between speech communities and the geographic barriers between them. The diversity between the languages corresponds directly to the distance between them. Closer proximity often entails more contact between speakers, and more linguistics similarities are the result. Geographic barriers like mountains impede contact, so two communities that are relatively close together may still vary considerably in their language use if there is a mountain dividing them.
The rate of change between neighboring Salishan languages often depends on their environments. If for some reason two communities diverge, their adaptation to a new environment can separate them linguistically from each other. The need to create names for tools, animals, and plants creates an array of new vocabulary that divides speech communities. However, these new names may come from borrowing from neighboring languages, in which case two languages or dialects can grow more alike rather than apart. Interactions with outside influences through trade and intermarriage often result in language change as well.
Some cultural elements are more resilient to language change, namely, religion and folklore. Salishan language communities that have demonstrated change in technology and environmental vocabulary have often remained more consistent with their religious terminology. Religion and heavily ingrained cultural traditions are often regarded as sacred, and so are less likely to undergo any sort of change. Indeed, cognate lists between various Salishan languages show more similarities in religious terminology than they do in technology and environment vocabulary. Other categories with noticeable similarities include words for body parts, colors, and numbers. There would be little need to change such vocabulary, so it’s more likely to remain the same despite other changes between languages. The Coast Salishan languages are less similar to each other than are the Interior Salishan languages, probably because the Coast communities have more access to outside influences.
Another example of language change in the Salishan language family is word taboo, which is a cultural expression of the belief in the power of words. Among the Coast languages, a person’s name becomes a taboo word immediately following their death. This taboo is lifted when the name of the deceased is given to a new member of his/her lineage. In the meantime, the deceased person’s name and words that are phonetically similar to the name are considered taboo and can only be expressed via descriptive phrases. In some cases these taboo words are permanently replaced by their chosen descriptive phrases, resulting in language change.
At least one Salish language, Lillooet Salish, differs from Indo-European languages in terms of pragmatics. Lillooet Salish does not allow presuppositions about a hearer's beliefs or knowledge during a conversation. To demonstrate, it’s useful to compare Lillooet Salish determiners with English determiners. English determiners take the form of the articles ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. The indefinite articles ‘a’ and ‘an’ refer to an object that is unfamiliar or that has not been previously referenced in conversation. The definite article ‘the’ refers to a familiar object about which both the speaker and the listener share a common understanding. Lillooet Salish and several other Salish languages use the same determiner to refer to both familiar and unfamiliar objects in conversation. For example, when discussing a woman, Lillooet Salish speakers used [ɬəsɬánay] (with [ɬə] serving as the determiner and [sɬánay] meaning ‘woman’) to refer to the woman both when initially introducing her and again when referencing her later on in the conversation. Thus, no distinction is made between a unique object and a familiar one.
This absence of varying determiners is a manifestation of the lack of presuppositions about a listener in Salish. Using a definite article would presuppose a mental state of the listener: familiarity with the object in question. Similarly, a Salishan language equivalent of the English sentence "It was John who called" would not require the assumption that the listener knows that someone called. In English, such a sentence implies that someone called and serves to clarify who the caller was. In Salish, the sentence would be void of any implication regarding the listener’s knowledge. Rather, only the speaker’s knowledge about previous events is expressed.
The absence of presuppositions extends even to elements that seem to inherently trigger some kind of implication, such as ‘again’, ‘more’, ‘stop’, and ‘also’. For example, in English, beginning a conversation with a sentence like "It also rained yesterday" would probably be met with confusion from the listener. The word ‘also’ signifies an addition to some previously discussed topic about which both the speaker and the listener are aware. However, in Salish, a statement like "It also rained yesterday" is not met with the same kind of bewilderment. The listener’s prior knowledge (or lack thereof) is not conventionally regarded by either party in a conversation. Only the speaker’s knowledge is relevant.
The use of pronouns illustrates the disregard for presuppositions as well. For example, a sentence like "She walked there, and then Brenda left" would be acceptable on its own in Lillooet Salish. The pronoun ‘she’ can refer to Brenda and be used without the introduction that would be necessary in English. It is key to note that presuppositions do exist in Salishan languages; they simply don’t have to be shared between the speaker and listener the way they do in English and other Indo-European languages. The above examples demonstrate that presuppositions are present, but the fact that the listener doesn’t necessarily have to be aware of them signifies that the presuppositions only matter to the speaker. They are indicative of prior information that the speaker alone may be aware of, and his/her speech reflects merely his/her perspective on a situation without taking into account the listener’s knowledge. Although English values a common ground between a listener and speaker and thus requires that some presuppositions about another person's knowledge be made, Salish does not share this pragmatic convention.
Stanley Evans has written a series of crime fiction novels that use Salish lore and language.
An episode of Stargate SG-1 ("Spirits", 2x13) features a culture of extraterrestrial humans loosely inspired by Pacific coastal First Nations culture, and who speak a language referred to as "ancient Salish".
In the video game Life is Strange, the Salish lore was used on certain history of Arcadia Bay as totem poles are seen on some areas. Including a segment from the first episode of its prequel involving the raven.
Aert Hendrik Kuipers (10 November 1919 in Oostkapelle or Middelburg – 1 December 2012) was a Dutch linguistics professor who, from his pioneering fieldwork among First Nations people of British Columbia during the 1950s, compiled the first detailed reference grammars of Squamish and Shuswap, two almost extinct Salishan languages. He also advised Jan van Eijk in his work on Lillooet and Hank Nater in his work on Nuxalk and did import work on comparative Salishan.
After obtaining his PhD at Columbia University in 1951 with the study A contribution to the analysis of the Qabardian language, Kuipers was on the faculty of the University of British Columbia from 1951 to 1954. During those years, as well as in the course of a 1956 field trip, he collected extensive material on the Squamish language. From 1960 to 1983 Kuipers taught linguistics at Leiden University; after 1971 he was a professor in the department of Slavic languages and culture, specializing in Caucasian languages.Kuipers has a strong commitment to helping to preserve a record of threatened and endangered languages. As a 1998 article in The Economist put it: "Aert Kuipers ... went to Canada recently with the intention of locating and preserving American Indian languages. He came across dozens, some limited to a single valley, others spoken by only a few dozen people. He settled on one, learnt it and put together a dictionary and a primer. But by the time he had finished there was only one other speaker of the language left." Kuipers responded to this in a letter that his arrival in Canada (nearly half a century earlier) hardly was "recently" and that the Economist may have conflated Squamish and Shuswap with regard to the "one speaker left" statement.Bruce Bagemihl
Bruce Bagemihl is a Canadian biologist, linguist, and author of the book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity.Coast Salish languages
Coast Salish languages are a subgroup of the Salishan language family. These languages are spoken by First Nations or Native American peoples inhabiting the territory that is now the southwest coast of British Columbia around the Strait of Georgia and Washington state around Puget Sound. The term "Coast Salish" also refers to the cultures in British Columbia and Washington who speak one of these languages or dialects.Cowlitz language
The Cowlitz language is a member of the Tsamosan branch of the Coast Salish family of Salishan languages.Dale Kinkade
M. Dale Kinkade (1933–2004) was a linguist known especially for his work on Salishan languages.
Born July 18, 1933, in Hartline, Washington, he graduated from Peshastin High School in 1950. He received his B.A. from the University of Washington in 1955 and his M.A. in 1957. He then moved to Indiana University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1963. After serving for three years in the United States Army, he taught at Washington State College from 1961 to 1964, and the University of Kansas from 1964 to 1973 before moving to the University of British Columbia where he remained until his retirement in 1998 as Distinguished Professor of Linguistics.Kinkade served for many years as a trustee of the Jacobs Fund of the Whatcom Museum Foundation, which supports fieldwork on Pacific Northwest languages and cultures and was one of the founders of the annual International Conference on Salishan and Neighboring Languages in 1966. He continued to work after his retirement; his last major work was his Cowlitz dictionary and grammatical sketch published in 2004.
Kinkade was known for his insightful and in-depth research on all aspects of Salishan languages. Between 1960 and 1976 he conducted extensive fieldwork on several severely endangered languages. His own fieldwork together with his mastery of the literature made him the undisputed dean of Salishan linguistics. His contributions include dictionaries of three Salishan languages: Moses Columbia (1981), Upper Chehalis (1991), and Cowlitz (2004); over one hundred papers; several contributions to the Handbook of North American Indians (Volumes 7, 12, and 17); and several encyclopaedia and other general articles. As befits a specialist in a group of languages renowned for their phonetic difficulty Kinkade had a reputation as a master practical phonetician.
Kinkade had a great, though dry, sense of humor and was generous with his time and extensive knowledge. He had a deep interest in classical music, especially opera, and was a strong supporter of the Seattle Opera. He was also an avid baseball fan and sometimes combined this interest with opera by listening to an opera while watching a baseball game. Although he lived and worked in Canada for more than 30 years he never became a Canadian citizen.
Shortly before his death on December 19, 2004 from a brain tumor he was honored by the presentation of a Festschrift Studies in Salish linguistics in honor of M. Dale Kinkade.Hans Vogt (linguist)
Hans Kamstrup Vogt (1 June 1903 – 25 September 1986) was a Norwegian linguist who specialized in the Caucasian languages, especially Georgian. He also did significant early work on the Kalispel language.
He was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters since 1937, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters from 1957 and of the Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature from 1971. He was an honorary member of the Linguistic Society of America, the Societas Caucasologica Europaea and the Georgian Academy of Languages. He held an honorary degree at the Tbilisi State University and won the Nansen Medal in 1967. He was decorated as a Commander of the Order of St. Olav (1966) and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.Politically he was a member of the organization Mot Dag from 1926 to 1936.Interior Salish languages
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 Salishan people encountered by American explorers were the Flathead people (Selish or seliš), among the most easterly of the group.Lower Chehalis language
Lower Chehalis (Łəw̓ál̕məš) is a member of the Tsamosan (or Olympic Peninsula) branch of the Coast Salish family of Salishan languages. In some classifications, Lower Chehalis is placed closer to Quinault than it is to Upper Chehalis.Marianne Mithun
Marianne Mithun is an American linguist specializing in American Indian languages and language typology. Her work spans a number of linguistic subfields, including morphology, syntax, discourse, prosody, language contact and change, typology, language documentation, and the interrelations among these subfields. She is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Mithun has worked on a wide variety of languages from a wide variety of language families, but specializes in Native American languages. She began her career with extensive fieldwork on Iroquoian languages, especially Mohawk, Cayuga, and Tuscarora, She has also worked in California on Central Pomo and the Chumashan languages, on Central Alaskan Yup'ik, and on the Austronesian language Kapampangan.
Mithun compiled a comprehensive overview of Native American languages in The Languages of Native North America. A review on the Linguist List describes the work as "an excellent book to have as a reference" and as containing "an incredible amount of information and illustrative data." The work is a bipartite reference organized firstly by grammatical categories (including categories that are particularly widespread in North America, such as polysynthesis), and secondly by family. In 2002 the volume won the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award, awarded annually for the best book in linguistics.She has taught at many institutions around the world, including Georgetown, La Trobe, Rice, Stanford, SUNY Albany, Amsterdam, Cagliari, Berkeley, Hamburg, UIUC, UNM, Wake Forest, and Yale.She was the founding president of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology in 1983. From 1999 to 2003 she was president of the Association for Linguistic Typology. From 2014 to 2015 she was president of The Societas Linguistica Europaea. She is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.Morris Swadesh
Morris Swadesh (; January 22, 1909 – July 20, 1967) was an American linguist who specialized in comparative and historical linguistics.
Swadesh was born in Massachusetts to Bessarabian Jewish immigrant parents. He completed bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Chicago, studying under Edward Sapir, and then followed Sapir to Yale University where he completed a Ph.D. in 1933. Swadesh taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1937 to 1939, and then during World War II worked on projects with the United States Army and Office of Strategic Services. He became a professor at the City College of New York after the war's end, but was fired in 1949 due to his membership of the Communist Party. He spent most of the rest of his life teaching in Mexico and Canada.
Swadesh had a particular interest in the indigenous languages of the Americas, and conducted extensive fieldwork throughout North America. He was one of the pioneers of glottochronology and lexicostatistics, and is arguably best known for his creation of the Swadesh list, a compilation of basic concepts believed to present across cultures and thus suitable for cross-linguistic comparison. Swadesh believed that his techniques could discover deep relationships between apparently unrelated languages, thus allowing for the identification of macrofamilies and possibly even a "Proto-Human" language. His theories were often controversial, and some have been deprecated by later linguists.Nancy Turner
Nancy Jean Turner (born 1947) is a notable North American ethnobiologist, originally qualified in botany, who has done extensive research work with the indigenous peoples of British Columbia, the results of which she has documented in a number of books and numerous articles.Ogopogo
In Canadian folklore, Ogopogo or Naitaka (Salish: n'ha-a-itk, "spirit of the lake") is a lake monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia, Canada. Ogopogo has been allegedly seen by First Nations people since the 19th century. The most common description of Ogopogo is a 40 to 50-foot-long (12 to 15 m) sea serpent resembling an extinct Basilosaurus or Mosasaurus. Skeptic Benjamin Radford notes that “these First Nations stories were not referring to a literal lake monster like Ogopogo, but instead to a legendary water spirit.”Patricia Alice Shaw
Patricia Alice Shaw is a Canadian linguist specializing in phonology and known for her work on First Nations languages. She is Professor of Anthropological Linguistics in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and Founding Chair of the university's First Nations and Endangered Languages Program (formerly known as the First Nations Languages Program). She is also the editor of the University of British Columbia Press' series of books on First Nations languages.
Patricia Shaw was born in Montreal and moved at the age of 12 to Winnipeg. She received her B.A. in English from St. John's College of the University of Manitoba in 1967, her M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Toronto in 1973, and her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Toronto in 1976 with a dissertation on
Theoretical Issues in Dakota Phonology and Morphology. She taught at York University from 1976 until 1979 before taking her current position at the University of British Columbia.
In recent years, a major focus of her work has been hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, the Musqueam dialect of Halkomelem, on which she has both done research and helped to create the joint Musqueam Indian Band-UBC First Nations Languages Program partnership.Quinault language
Quinault (Kʷínaył) is a member of the Tsamosan (Olympic) branch of the Coast Salish family of Salishan languages.Timothy Montler
Timothy Montler is an American academic and linguist. Montler is a professor of linguistics at the University of North Texas, as of 2013. He has worked to preserve the Klallam language since 1990.Montler collaborated with Adeline Smith, a Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe elder, to create the first Klallam language alphabet. He and Smith also composed the world's first Klallam language dictionary, which was published in December 2012 by the University of Washington Press. Montler and Smith had collaborated on the Klallam lexicon throughout the 1990s, 2000–02, and early 2010s. Adeline Smith added 12,000 words and phrases, the largest single contribution to the dictionary. Montler also worked closely with other Native Klallam speakers, including Hazel Sampson, Ed Sampson, and Bea Charles.Upper Chehalis language
Upper Chehalis (Q̉ʷay̓áyiłq̉) is a member of the Tsamosan (Olympic) branch of the Coast Salish family of Salishan languages. In some classifications, Upper Chehalis is placed closer to Cowlitz than it is to Lower Chehalis.Wayne Suttles
Wayne Suttles (1918–2005) was an American anthropologist and linguist.
He was the leading authority on the ethnology and linguistics of the Coast Salish people of the Northwest Coast of North America.William Bright
William Bright (August 13, 1928 Oxnard, California – October 15, 2006 Louisville, Colorado) was an American linguist who specialized in Native American and South Asian languages and descriptive linguistics.
Bright earned a bachelor's degree in linguistics in 1949 and a doctorate in the same field in 1955, both from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a professor of linguistics and anthropology at UCLA from 1959 to 1988. He then moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he remained on the faculty until his death.
Bright was an authority on the native languages and cultures of California, and was especially known for his work on Karuk, a Native American language from northwestern California. His study of the language was the first carried out under the auspices of the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. He was made an honorary member of the Karuk tribe—the first outsider to be so honored—in recognition of his efforts to document and preserve their language which led to its revival. Bright was also known for his research on the Native American languages Nahuatl, Kaqchikel, Luiseño, Ute, Wishram, and Yurok, and the South Asian languages Lushai, Kannada, Tamil, and Tulu. Of particular note are his toponymic contributions to knowledge about place names and their linguistic importance for tribes and California bands.
Bright was editor of Language, the journal of the Linguistic Society of America, from 1966 to 1988 and of Language in Society from 1993 to 1999. He was the founding editor of Written Language and Literacy, which he edited from 1997 until 2003. He served as president of the Linguistic Society of America in 1989.
He was the father of author Susie Bright. In the last twenty years of his life, he was married to Lise Menn. He died of a brain tumor.William Poser
William J. Poser is a Canadian-American linguist who is known for his extensive work with the historical linguistics of Native American languages, especially those of the Athabascan family.He got his B.A. from Harvard in 1979 and his Ph.D. from MIT in 1985, his dissertation being about suprasegmental phenomena in the phonology of Japanese. He then taught at Stanford, and then at the University of Northern British Columbia. He has published extensively about the Carrier language in which he has done ample fieldwork. He is also known as a frequent blogger at the Language Log.
Italics indicate extinct languages
and the Pacific