Nəxʷsƛ̕ay̕əmúcən is no more

February 8, 2014

A sad day befell us this February 4th, 2014. The last known native speaker of the language we call Klallam, Hazel Sampson, died in Port Angeles. The Klallam language, known natively as Nəxʷsƛ̕ay̕əmúcən [nəxʷst͡ɬʼaj̰əˈmut͡sən], was a Straits Salish language originally spoken around the Olympic Peninsula near my home town of Seattle.

Typical of Salishan languages, Klallam was known among linguists for its extensive consonant clusters, complex phonological system, and patently un-English interaction between nominal and verbal constituents. While the loss of any language pains me greatly, we’re at least fortunate to have had linguists like Timothy Montler compile a grammar and dictionary of the language while it was alive. Nobody remains a native speaker, but we do have a detailed snapshot of Klallam to look back on.

Now that that’s out of the way, I want to give you all a brief update of what’s going on in my life. I have certainly not given up on maintaining this blog, it’s just another hiatus in the grand scheme of things. The truth is, nothing particularly noteworthy has happened recently. I’m currently back in Serbia (wishing I was still in Finland), but I’ll be heading back to Seattle the weekend before my birthday in March. I should be back home for about a month before heading to New York and India for work, then hopefully back to Finland. If all goes well over the next couple of months I should have some fairly big news to announce. In between now and my return to Seattle I’ll be visiting Zurich (for the first time), Budapest (again), and Paris (for the first time since 1997), so there should be ample material for a couple of updates in the coming month or two.

Stay tuned, my loyal readership, and you shall be rewarded with scintillating tales of action and adventure from abroad.


A gentle reminder of where I should be, seen in Belgrade the day after my arrival.

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