🔗 dxʷləšúcid/Lushootseed: “The Language of Puget Sound”

dxʷləšúcid (Lushootseed)

“The Language of Puget Sound”

This site is interesting for a lot of reasons: one quite simply that it is old. It’s been around in one form or another since 2006. And it’s still being maintained and updated. A real success story.

Also Puget Salish, Puget Sound Salish or Skagit-Nisqually

image

Sounds

Lushootseed, like many Salishan languages, has a large consonant inventory. So trying to build a user interface that isn’t too off-putting is a design challenge. I think this site has done a great job here. It’s original, culturally specific, and quite nice to look at. One thing that doesn’t come through in the screenshot is the audio: clicking a given letter starts a brief audio introduction to the sound. So for instance, the view for ɬ reads:

“Belted l” is almost like a whispered “l”, or “slurred l”, like in the Lushootseed word for ‘three’, ɬixʷ

It’s not oversimplifying any information, but it helps to focus the reader’s attention. Compare a standard phonetic chart like the one on Wikipedia, for instance:

Wikipedia Consonant chart for Lushootseed.

Wikipedia

Stories

Like the Konkow Maidu Language Resource, some of the content on the Lushootseed site is based on older documentary recordings.

Several of these stories were recorded by local tribal elders, decades ago. Where possible these recordings are used, to help pass on the rich storytelling capabilities and rhythm of these traditional storytellers.

This entertaining story about a skunk, told by Walter Williams, is read here by one of the teachers, Maria Martin. She created very nice original illustrations.

There is some great interface design here. In the screenshot below, Mink and Tetyka, there is a “karaoke”-style interface which makes it possible to follow along with the original recording. You can see the highlighted red words in both the Lushootseed and the English translation. Really worth clicking through to try it out:

:nerd_face: Nerd moment. I dug into the source on this to figure out how it was done, and it turns out that they used an old Javascipt library called Popcorn.js, which was a pretty popular tool in its day. It allows media of various kinds (images, videos, links, etc) to be merged into a time-aligned playback interface. It’s a bit old now and the code is a little out of date, but the fact that it still works says something.

Games

Flashcards

An interesting use of an external site, quizlet.com, to manage some vocabulary matching games:

One advantage of this approach is that things like authentication (logging in) is handled off-site, so they don’t need to deal with user accounts on their server. Authentication is a massive PITA, so this makes sense.

Coloring

dəxʷtulalikʷ ʔə ti sʔux̌alx̌alikʷ – Lushootseed

I’ll stop here, but there’s a lot more to be found on this site. It’s a pretty amazing testament to years of work. It’s been around since at least 2006! That’s pretty amazing. And check out this archived version from 2006 to get an idea of what it looked like in the earliest days:

tulaliplushootseed.com as of 2006

Oh one more thing

I colored this!! I accept payment in all major cryptocurrencies. Except Dogecoin.

2 Likes