sk̓ʷl̕sʕaw – Word forming

Word formation is the base level of Salish sentences. Single words are complete sentences. Words are formed at different levels through the addition of lexemic, derivational, and inflectional affixes. This section illustrates the systems of word formation.

Word formation originates from a consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) root with affix and morphological operations processing at three levels to form the lexemic stem, derivational stem, and inflectional stem. A stem-word is one that has affixes added at one of the 3 levels of stem formation.

The organization and terminology in this section are adapted from Marie Willet’s 2003, University of Victoria, dissertation, A Grammatical Sketch of Nxa’amxcin (Moses-Columbia Salish).


  • Reichard, Gladys. 1938. Coeur d’Alene. In Franz Boas, ed., Handbook of American Indian Languages III, Gliickstadt: J. J. Augustin Inc., and New York: Columbia University Press, 517-707.
  • Carlson, Barry. 1972. Grammar of Spokane. Dissertation, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.
  • Mattina, Anthony. 1973. Colville Grammatical Structure. Dissertation. University of Hawaii, Honolulu.
  • Thompson, Laurence. 1992. The Thompson Language. UM Occasional Papers in Linguistics, No. 8. Missoula, Montana.
  • Willet, Marie, 2003. A Grammatical Sketch ofNxa’amxcin (Moses-Columbia Salish). Dissertation. University of Victoria, British Columbia.
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