Journal of the International Phonetic Association

Research Article

Labialization in Nuuchahnulth

John Stonhama1 and Eun-Sook Kima2

a1 Pukyong National University

a2 Pusan National University


In this article we examine the phonetic properties of labialization in Nuuchahnulth, a Southern Wakashan language spoken on Vancouver Island. Given the moribund status of this language, we make use of available archival materials from the early twentieth century along with more recent recordings in order to ascertain the exact nature of the process. Early work on this language was conducted by Edward Sapir, who transcribed data in a more or less phonetic form. A second goal of our paper is to test the accuracy of Sapir's transcriptions. Finally, we examine the characteristics of Nuuchahnulth labialization which mark it as an important typological phenomenon.