The Klallam language (nəxʷsƛ̕ay̕əmúcən) has since time immemorial been spoken on the north shore of Washington's Olympic Peninsula from the Strait of Juan de Fuca inland into the mountains. It is also native to some other nearby areas such as Becher Bay on the south of Vancouver Island and on some nearby smaller islands. Klallam is one language in a large family of Native American languages called Salishan or Salish languages spoken in what is now Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
Klallam is closely related to the dialects called Northern Straits: Saanich, Lummi, Samish, Songish, and Sooke. These dialects are native to parts of southern Vancouver Island, the neighboring smaller islands of the Haro and Rosario Straits, and around Lummi Bay in Washington. Although Klallam and the Northern Straits dialects form two distinct, non-mutually intelligible languages, most of the words in Klallam are the same or very similar to words in the Northern Straits dialects. A speaker of Lummi, for example, could learn Klallam very easily, and vice versa. The Klallam language, itself, has several dialects. Elwha Klallam, Becher Bay Klallam, Jamestown Klallam, and Little Boston (Port Gamble) Klallam are all very slightly different from one another in pronunciation and the usage of some words.
This site uses the official writing system for the Klallam language. This system is based on the American Phonetic Alphabet, which is also used for other native languages of Washington such as Lushootseed and Colville Okanagan. The alphabet requires the use of Unicode fonts such as Lucida Sans Unicode, Arial Unicode MS, Gentium, Doulos SIL, Aboriginal, etc. that contain the phonetic characters.
Click in the box below and use the keyboard that pops up to type in the Klallam language. You can cut and paste what you type into your word processor or elsewhere.