Archive for the ‘Nuchatlaht’ Category

Last speaker of Nuchatlaht in news

30 April 2011

Nuu-chah-nulth (noo) is an endangered language spoken on Vancouver Island, off the western shore of mainland Canada. According to Wikipedia, Nuu-chah-nulth has 12 dialects, though there is a huge gray area in determining whether two ways of speakinh are different languages, dialects or just variation.

Estimates on the number of speakers vary from 115 to 500, with the lower number probably closer to the actual number. Nuu-chah-nulth has 35 consonants, seven more than English, and has interesting linguistic properties.

According to “Lapsing languages offer different view of world” on the Times Colonist site, the last speaker of Nuchatlaht is Alban Michael (84 years old) and he rarely gets to use his language any more. It is only when he sees a friend who speaks the Mowachaht dialect, which is somewhat close to Nuchatlaht, that Michael uses his language.

You can find Michael’s voice on the Ehattesaht Nuchatlaht Community Portal of the FirstVoices website. Words he has recorded include kʷapiqiły̓aq (coffee pot), kałniiłiq (ceiling light) and  ʔusit (body).

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