Upper Chehalis language

Last updated
Upper Chehalis
Native to United States
Regionsouth of Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Ethnicity Chehalis people
Extinct 2001 [1]
  • Coast
    • Tsamosan
      • Inland
        • Upper Chehalis
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cjh
Glottolog uppe1439 [2]

Upper Chehalis (Q̉ʷay̓áyiłq̉) is a member of the Tsamosan (Olympic) branch of the Coast Salish family of Salishan languages. Thompson's 1979 classification lists Upper Chehalis as more closely related to the Cowlitz language than it is to Lower Chehalis. [3] :693



Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Lateral Velar Uvular Glottal
plain lab. plainlab.
Plosive plain ptkqʔ
ejective kʼʷqʼʷ
Affricate plain ts
ejective tsʼtʃʼtɬʼ
Fricative sʃɬχχʷh
Sonorant mnjlw

Vowels are represented as /e ə o a/. [4]

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Salishan languages Group of languages spoken in the United States and Canada

The Salishan languages are a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest in North America. They are characterised by agglutinativity and syllabic consonants. For instance the Nuxalk word clhp’xwlhtlhplhhskwts’, 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, in the Central Coast of British Columbia, and the extinct Tillamook language, to the south on the central coast of Oregon.

Chehalis people

The Chehalis people or Tsihalis are a native people of western Washington state in the United States. They should not be confused with the similarly named Chehalis First Nation of the Sts'Ailes people along the Harrison River in the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia.

Cowlitz people

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Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation

The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Upper and Lower Chehalis, Klallam, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, and Quinault peoples. They are one of the Northern Straits branch Central Coast Salish peoples of indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast. Their tribe is located in southwest Washington.

Tillamook is an extinct Salishan language, formerly spoken by the Tillamook people in northwestern Oregon, United States. The last fluent speaker was Minnie Scovell who died in 1972. In an effort to prevent the language from being lost, a group of researchers from the University of Hawaii interviewed the few remaining Tillamook-speakers and created a 120-page dictionary.

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Squamish is a Coast Salish language spoken by the Squamish people of the Pacific Northwest. It is spoken in the area that is now called southwestern British Columbia, Canada, centred on their reserve communities in Squamish, North Vancouver, and West Vancouver. An archaic historical rendering of the native Sḵwx̱wú7mesh is Sko-ko-mish but this should not be confused with the name of the Skokomish people of Washington state. Squamish is most closely related to the Sechelt, Halkomelem, and Nooksack languages.

The Cowlitz language is a member of the Tsamosan branch of the Coast Salish family of Salishan languages.

The Willapa or Willoopah, also known as Kwalhioqua, were a Northern Athapaskan-speaking people in southwestern Washington, United States. Their territory was the valley of the Willapa River and the prairie between the headwaters of the Chehalis and Cowlitz Rivers.

Salish peoples

The Salish peoples are an ethno-linguistic group of the Pacific Northwest of the US and SW Canada, identified by their use of the Salish languages which diversified out of Proto-Salish between 3,000 and 6,000 years ago.

Lower Chehalis (Łəw̓ál̕məš) is a member of the Tsamosan 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.

The Chehalis language is a collective expression regarding two languages, Upper Chehalis language and Lower Chehalis language. Both are members of the Tsamosan (Olympic) branch within the Coast Salish subfamily of the Salishan language family.


  1. Upper Chehalis at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Upper Chehalis". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Thompson, Lawrence (1979). "Salishan and the Northwest". In Campbell, Lyle; Mithun, Marianne (eds.). The Languages of Native America: Historical and comparative assessment.
  4. Kinkade, M. Dale (1963). Phonology and Morphology of Upper Chehalis: I. International Journal of American Linguistics.