Tillamook language

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Native toUnited States
RegionNorthwestern Oregon
EthnicityTillamook, Siletz
Extinct1972, with the death of Minnie Scovell[1]
  • Tillamook
  • Siletz
Language codes
ISO 639-3til
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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.[3] 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.[4]



Front Back
High i ə
Low æ ɑ


Alveolar Postalveolar
/ palatal
Velar Uvular Glottal
Central Lateral Unrounded "Rounded" Unrnd. "Rnd."
Stop t k kᵓ q qᵓ ʔ
Ejective kᵓʼ qᵓʼ
Affricate t͡s t͡ʃ
Ejective affricate t͡sʼ t͡ɬʼ t͡ʃʼ
Fricative s ɬ ʃ x xᵓ χ χᵓ h
Nasal n
Approximant l j ɰᵓ

Internal rounding[edit]

The so-called "rounded" consonants (traditionally marked with the diacritic ⟨ʷ⟩, but here indicated with ⟨⟩), including rounded vowels and ⟨w⟩ (/ɰᵓ/), are not actually labialized. The acoustic effect of labialization is created entirely inside the mouth by cupping the tongue. Uvulars with this distinctive internal rounding have "a kind of ɔ timbre" while "rounded" front velars have ɯ coloring. These contrast and oppose otherwise very similar segments having ɛ or ɪ coloring—the "unrounded" consonants.

/w/ is also formed with this internal rounding instead of true labialization, making it akin to [ɰ]. So are vowel sounds formerly written as /o/ or /u/, which are best characterized as the diphthong /əɰ/ with increasing internal rounding.[5]


  1. ^ http://www.tillamookheadlightherald.com/news/a-language-all-but-lost/article_02ccab3e-1530-53b4-85a5-af8a1f88f26a.html
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tillamook". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ http://www.tillamookheadlightherald.com/news/a-language-all-but-lost/article_02ccab3e-1530-53b4-85a5-af8a1f88f26a.html
  4. ^ Official site of Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes Archived 2011-06-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Thompson & Thompson (1966), p. 316


  • Thompson, Lawrence C.; M. Terry Thompson (1966). "A Fresh Look at Tillamook Phonology". International Journal of American Linguistics. 32 (4): 313–319. doi:10.1086/464920.
  • Edel, May M (1939). The Tillamook language. New York: J.J. Augustin. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  • "May M. Edel papers". Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries. Retrieved 2013-09-22.

External links[edit]