SENĆOŦEN on the web: Access for linguists and community

Project Overview


SENĆOŦEN on the web: Access for linguists and community

Project members:

Prof Greville G. Corbett
Dr Dunstan Brown
Dr Claire Turner

Period of award

January 2011 - July 2011


British Academy (BA)

SENĆOŦEN [sən'ʧɑθən], aslo known as Saanich, is the language of the Saanich First Nations community, from the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island, Canada, and neighbouring Gulf and San Juan Islands. Along with five closely related Northern Straits dialects, it belongs to the Salish language family (Central Salish branch). The Northern Straits language is one of 32 indigeneous languages of British Columbia.

The main objective of this project was to publish examples and selected recordings from fieldwork with Saanich elders over the web. The overall aim was to improve access to SENĆOŦEN language data for both linguists and community members alike.

The language examples are organised in a database of sentences, verbs, and roots and  selection of short recordings are also available.


HÍ SW KE SIIÁM to the four Saanich elders who shared these examples. The examples from 2006-2010 come from two male elders who wish to remain anonymous, one from the Tsartlip First Nation and one from the Tsawout First Nation. Later examples come from Mrs. Mary Jack of the Tseycum First Nation and Mrs. Anne Jimmy of the Tsawout First Nation. We are very grateful for all of their hard work.

Thanks also go to: the Saanich Apprentices, John Elliott and Janet Leonard for feedback and language help; Suzanne Urbanczyk and Lisa Matthewson for research guidance; and Raphael Finkel of the University of Kentucky for automatic conversion between alphabets and database help.

Fieldwork funding (2004-2006): SSHRC grant to Suzanne Urbanczyk (University of Victoria) Fieldwork funding (2008-2010): University of Surrey, Jacobs Fund, Phillips Fund, British Association for Canadian Studies Fieldwork funding (2011-2013): a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to Claire Turner