Posted to the Ethnos Project by on August 13th, 2013

A Talking Dictionary is a bi-lingual dictionary with sound files. For this Siletz dictionary, sound files include both the English and the Siletz, to help make identification of terms easier.

How do I use it?

You can input terms in either English or Siletz into the search box, and you will get back a list of relevant results. Most words have sound files corresponding to the entry. The first audio token may take a little while to load, but don’t worry, it is working! Subsequent files will be faster to load, so feel free to play around.

Who are the Siletz?

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (CTSI) are a community of Native American tribes, whose territory originally spanned from northern California to southern Washington between the Pacific coast and the Cascade Mountains. After contact with white settlers in the 1850s, the various tribes were gradually removed to a reservation together, now located along the Siletz River in the Central Oregon Coast Range, 15 miles northeast of Newport in Lincoln County.

What is the Siletz language?

The various tribes in the CTSI originally spoke 10 distinct languages, each of which had significant dialectal differences. The only surviving language still spoken on the reservation is Siletz Dee-ni, with one fluent speaker, Bud Lane, from whom most of the tokens in this dictionary come. Siletz is an Athabaskan language, characterized as being polysynthetic (having complex words with a lot of morphology).

Where do the materials come from?

In the words of the Tribe itself: “This Dictionary is a collection of words derived from many works, beginning with the first known audio recordings of our Athabaskan Language, through the many different writing systems that have been used by our own People and others to record and document our words. Because all Languages are constantly growing and changing, this work is a comprehensive attempt to include the similarities and the differences of the known dialects of the Southwest Oregon / Northwestern California Athabaskan Language. A special thanks to all those Ancestors and those still with us today for their work in preserving our Language, without whom this Dictionary would not have been possible.”

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