Comparative Wakashan Dictionary
University of Copenhagen
This comparative dictionary of the Wakashan family, now nearing completion, contains ca. 2100 reconstructed sets of both stems and suffixes/clitics covering the Proto-Wakashan, Proto-Nootkan, and Proto-Kwakiutlan stages. The data has been gathered from all available published sources plus the extensive manuscript material left by Sapir, Swadesh and Haas.
The field of comparative Wakashan is fortunate in that work of high quality was produced on these languages in the early decades of the last century by some of America’s most prestigious descriptive linguistics. This produced a solid basis on which others have since built. As a result of these efforts the situation has been reached today where a comparative dictionary covering all the languages of the family can be undertaken. The archaeological record on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Wakashan homeland, has been continuous since at least 2800 BC, with finds indicative of marine mammal hunting that go back to the earliest period. It is reasonable to suppose that the language spoken by the people who left these traces was Proto-Wakashan.
The question of the deeper genetic relations of the family has aroused much controversy, with the Sapir/Swadesh 'Mosan' hypothesis, relating Wakashan, Salishan and Chemakuan, in the forefront. The present dictionary is neutral on such matters, confining itself to reconstructing Proto-Wakashan. This is an essential step in sorting out the role of the various families involved in producing the complex linguistic mix of the Northwest Coast area.
ISBN 9783895867248 (Hardbound). LINCOM Studies in Native American Linguistics 57. 540pp. 2007.