The Musqueam peoples’ territory includes much of the Fraser Delta and the city of Vancouver. Halkomelem, one of the twenty-three languages that belong to the Salish Family, is spoken in three distinct forms: Upriver, by the Stó:lo‘ of the Fraser Valley; Downriver, of which Musqueam is the only surviving representative; and Island, spoken by the Nanaimo and Cowichan of Vancouver Island. Suttles, an anthropologist, worked with elders, eliciting traditional stories, personal narratives, and ethnographic accounts. The grammar covers phonology, morphology, and syntax, illustrated by numerous sentences selected for their cultural relevance that provide insight into traditional practices, social relations, and sense of humour. It is perhaps the fullest account of any Salish language.
It is simply a very fine reference work that presents the results of a talented linguist’s collaborative efforts with previous generations of knowledgeable and Aboriginal language specialists. It will be a useful and appropriate addition to the bookshelf of any student of the Northwest coast.
BC Studies, no. 149, Spring 2006