Nuučaan̓uł is a southern Wakashan language spoken in the south-western section of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is closely related to Diidiitidq and Makah.

The Nuučaan̓uł orthography follows the Americanist linguistics tradition, with the goal of “one letter, one sound”. This can lead to some rather complicated letters, like č̓, and some unfamiliar ones, for example: ʕ ƛ.

Note: There are several Roman Orthography conventions on this site that may require further explanation. On the charts below, there is lots of phonetic terminology that may not be familiar to everyone.

ISO 639-3 language code

noo (shared with Diidiitidq)


The Canadian Census counts 510 Nootka speakers in 2006, up from from 505 in 2001. According to Howe and Cook, there are 200 speakers.


  bilabial alveolar alveolar affricate palato-alveolar lateral velar rounded velar uvular rounded uvular pharyngeal glottal
voiced stop (b) (d)                 ʔ
voiceless stop p t c č ƛ k q    
ejective stop č̓ ƛ̓ k̓ʷ (q̓) (q̓ʷ)    
voiceless fricative     s š ł x x̣ʷ h
nasal / resonant m n   y (l) ŋ w     ʕ  
glottalised n/r   (l̓)          


  front central back
high i – ii   u – uu
mid   e – ee (o – oo)
low   a – aa  


  1. Doubling the vowel indicates the sound is held for a longer duration. This may also be represented with a colon or a single raised dot, e.g. a: for aa, for ee, etc.
  2. The glottal stop ʔ is occasionally written with the number 7
  3. Letters in parentheses are either rare, or appear in loan words.
  4. I have seen no examples of a capital letter for either λ or ƛ. Where this letter should be capitalised, I have only seen its lowercase form. I have used an upside-down capital ‘Y’ as occurs elsewhere in the region for different languages.
  5. There are a few words which may contain q̓ and q̓ʷ: q̓aanaƛ̓a ‘wolf’, q̓ałšiƛ ‘quarrel’, q̓ʷaayiƛ̓imʔatḥ, q̓ʷalisic.
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Last Modified: 25-Aug-2011