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Snuneymuxw First Nation - Hulquminum  Language Dictionary
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Halkomelem is one of the twenty-three Salishan languages of southwestern Canada and the northwestern United States. The Halkomelem language has three principle dialects: Upriver (Stalo), spoken in the vicinity of Chilliwack, Downriver, spoken at Katzie, Musqueam, and Tsawwassen, and Island Halkomelem , spoken by the Nanaimo, Nanoose, Chemainus, Penelehut, Cowichan, Halalt and Lyackson First Nations. This dictionary represents words from speakers of Island .
Usually the words are relevant to all Island speakers. Sometimes, though, the Nanaimo sub-dialect may differ in a vocabulary item or in the pronunciation of a word. We have indicated words of this type by giving the dialect name. Where there is a difference, the Nanoose Elders, due to a shared history with Chemainus, usually have the same word as Chemainus. It should be emphasized, though, that most speakers know both words, since the Elders from all the Island First Nations are in constant contact and have been interrelated for centuries.
Sometimes different Elders pronounce the same word in different ways, but the difference could not clearly be ascribed to dialect differences. In this case, the two words are both given, separated with a ~, the variation sign. If more than one word was known for an item, multiple entries were given.
The Talking Dictionary is based on the printed dictionary Words. The dictionary presents only a very few words of the language. , like other Salishan languages, is well-known for its complex morphological structure. There are a large number of prefixes and suffixes that can be added to a word to create newer, longer words. Thus, it would probably be impossible to give a complete list of all the words in the language. We have concentrated on nouns - that is names for things - especially items of special cultural signficance.
We would like to acknowledge Brian D. Compton, Donna Gerdts and Colleen Penrowley for creating the Talking Dictionary CD which was used as a guide for the Language Dictionary in the educational section of the Snuneymuxw website.
We would also like to give credit to the First Peoples Cultural Foundation and to the First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council for their funding.


SFU - Halkomenum-Ethnobiology site

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Snuneymuxw First Nation
668 Centre Street, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 4Z4
Tel: 250/740-2300Fax: 250/753-3492


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Appreciation: Thanks to the Chemainus, Nanaimo and Nanoose Elders for sharing their knowlege of Hulquminum. The Elders whose voices you hear: Bill Seward, May Frenchie, Cecilia Wyse, Margaret James, Hazel Good, Theresa Thorne