For the most part, these pages document the work fluent speakers of the language and I have done over the years, starting in 1968.

The Colville-Okanagan dictionary lists the affixes, particles and stems of the language. Stems are the uninflected entries. In this latest update I have labeled the grammatical class of all transitive stems, and members of each grammatical class can be viewed via the category tab. I have started doing the same with middle and intransitive stems, particles, and affixes. The examples listed in each entry include a morphological analysis; a gloss; example(s); and translations of the examples with their sources. Cognate forms from the other interior languages and other notes complete the entries.

A list of all the roots of the language, each with all the stems formed on that root will be appended to the dictionary.

Here I am posting the beginnings of my grammar of the language.

Dictionary work is always work in progress, and will contain errors. In my compilations I have marked all forms that I have questions about with a question mark (?). I have also set up a category labeled “Confirm” that list all the items I intend to check with fluent speakers.

Alerts to errors or other problems are appreciated.

Colville-Okanagan Language Notables

Nelly Toulou

Mrs Helen (Nelly) Toulou, neé Perkins, was born in Walker's Prairie (Ford) in 1882. Her mother was a Lakes speaker. Her father spoke Chinook Jargon and English. I was directed to her by Mrs. Sophia (Sophie) McDonald, neé Bailey, eleven years Nelly's junior. Sophie was born in Marcus of Lakes parents, both fluent speakers of the language.

Mrs. Toulou patiently guided me through the details of Lakes pronunciation, the foundation of my further learning.

Pete Seymour

Mr. Peter J. Seymour was born in Kelly Hill on May 1st, 1896. He died September 26, 1979. I have provided details of his life and our collaboration in the anthology of his narratives I compiled and edited (with Madeline DeSautel) The Complete Seymour, Colville Storyteller published in 2015.

His contributions are inestimable for their richness and invaluable for the study of the language. The pages with his narratives on this site include some subtitled productions (click here for an example). They should also be posted on the web pages of the Colville Tribes.


Mrs. Madeline DeSautel was born on March 4, 1888, and died December 4, 1979. I have given details of her life and our acquaintance in the preface to the collection of her narratives Madeline Told Me, that I managed to print as a Kewa Book in 2019. Only fifty or so copies of the book were printed at the request of the Colville Language Program of the Colville Reservation and remain in their possession to do with them as desired.

Madeline guided me through the transcription of many narratives, conversations, and other texts. I consider her my co-editor of all the work we did.

Dora Noyes DeSautel

Dora Noyes DeSautel was born April 1, 1902 and died December 10, 1982. In the collection of her narratives that Madeline and I edited (Dora Noyes DeSautel ɬaʔ kɬcaptíkʷɬ, published as volume 15 of the series Occasional Papers in Linguistics, the University of Montana), Adrian Holm provides a most interesting biographical note of her grandmother.

In the late 70's I recorded many of our conversations without interruptions. Mostly in English, these amount to many hours, and include comments that should interest the younger generation of Colvilles. They await transcription.

More to come