The Lillooet Language

Lillooet is spoken in Southwestern British Columbia, westward from the town of Clinton along Highway 97 to the coast. The principal communities in which it is spoken are Fountain (near Lillooet), Pavillion (Ts'kwailax), D'Arcy, and Mount Currie (near Pemberton). It is bordered by Shuswap to the Northeast, Thompson to the Southeast, Chilcotin to the North, and Squamish to the South.

Lillooet is also known as St'at'imcets, though strictly speaking this is the name of the Upper dialect, spoken at Fountain. The name Lillooet comes from Lil'wat, the indigenous name for Mount Currie. The indigenous name for the Lillooet language is ucwalmícwts /uxwalmíxwts/.

The usual Lillooet writing system is unusual in one respect: the symbol t' does not stand for a glottalized alveolar stop as in most languages, but for a glottalized alveolar lateral affricate, commonly written tl'. This spelling works since there is no plain glottalized alveolar stop in the language.

Lillooet is a Salishan language.


Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006