0. Introduction.

0.1. Saanich is a dialect of North Straits, a Central Coast Salish language1. The Straits languages, North Straits and Klallam2 form a subgroup within the Central group of the Coast division. Klallam was spoken along the north shore of the Olympic Peninsula and in a few isolated settlements across the Strait of Juan de Fuca notably at Becher Bay. The North Straits dialects were aboriginally spoken along the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in the southern Islands of Haro Strait, and at the area around Bellingham, Washington on the mainland. Although native speakers of the various North Straits dialects recognize the similarities, they refer to the dialects as if they were different languages3. The major North Straits dialects are, from west to east: Sooke, spoken around Sooke Basin; Songish (or Songhees), spoken around what is now Victoria; Saanich, spoken on the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria and neighboring islands; and Lummi, spoken around what is now Bellingham, Washington and neighboring islands. Two other little recorded eastern dialects were Samish and Semiahmoo.

0.2. Published treatments of the grammars of Straits languages include Sooke (Efrat, 1969), Klallam (Thompson and Thompson, 1971), and Songish (Raffo, 1972). The present sketch is the first major treatment of Saanich, although an outline of the phonology and morphology is presented with a list of lexical suffixes by Pidgeon (1970). The major advances this study of Saanich presents are in the sections on the radical morphological processes (§2.3), person (§2.4), voice (§2.5), and post-predicate particles (§2.6.2).

0.3. Saanich is at present spoken by around twenty people. Most of these speakers live on or around the Saanich reserves on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island.
The main informant for this study was Mrs. Elsie Claxton (x̣ət̕θx̣át̕θəlwət), born in 1911 or 1912 at the East Saanich Reserve on Saanichton Bay. Mrs. Claxton is reputed to be the most knowledgeable speaker of " old time Saanich." Her English is very limited since her parents kept her away from the white-man's school and provided her with a traditional education. Mrs. Claxton knows the Cowichan language and understands the other dialects of North Straits, Lummi, Songish, and Sooke. Lummi seems to her to be closer to Saanich than the other two. She is unable to understand Lushootseed or Klallam. She never used English until her children started going to school so her five oldest children (all adults) are native speakers of Saanich. Some of them are still fluent and have created with others at West Saanich Reserve language lessons for children in an English-based orthography of their own devising.
All work with Mrs. Claxton was conducted with the help of Mrs. Vi Williams (ɬíqəlwət) of the Cole Bay Saanich Reserve. Mrs. Williams is a native speaker of Cowichan and is also fluent in Saanich and English. Her husband, the chief at Cole Bay, is a fluent native speaker of Saanich. Mrs. Williams has spent quite a bit of time herself tape recording elders telling traditional tales, local history, and genealogical and ancestral name information.
Mrs. Claxton and Mrs. Williams have worked together for a number of years teaching traditional crafts (spinning, knitting, beadwork, etc.) to the younger generations at the East Saanich Culture Centre. When speaking together or to other local elders they speak only Saanich, though occasionally one hears an odd phrase or two of English mixed in.
Before answering a question of mine about the meaning or use of a particular word or phrase, Mrs. Claxton and Mrs. Williams would often discuss the problem at length in Saanich. Although I have yet to transcribe most of these discussions, they have proved of invaluable assistance in the preparation of this sketch.

0.4. This study is comprised of three sections. In §1 is a brief, informal outline of the most significant aspects of the Saanich sound system. It is incomplete with important questions remaining, particularly in the area of stress placement. The primary purpose of §1 is to provide support and background for the more thorough analyses of §2.
The goal of section 2 has been to provide a complete description of the distribution, morphophonemics, meaning, and function of every non-root morpheme in the language. Limitations on the availability of data have necessarily narrowed the scope of this goal.
The third section is a sample of connected discourse with a complete analysis based on the findings presented in §2.
Although no section is headed " syntax" it is everywhere important. Much of what is included in §2 is ordinarily included in sections on syntax in other grammatical sketches of Salish languages. The sections on person (§2.4), voice (§2.5), and particles (§2.6) are particularly relavent in this respect. Since Saanich, like all Salish languages, displays an especially rich polysynthetic morphology, any accurate discussion of syntax must be informed by an accurate understanding of the formatives of basic predicates. This grammar is intended to be a practical, useful basis for further synchronic and diachronic studies of Saanich and related dialects.

Notes to §0.

1. The Salish family is one of the largest in America north of Mexico (only Uto-Aztecan, Nadene, and Algonquian have more languages). The Salish languages were aboriginally spoken in parts of what are now British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and Montana. The three main subgroups of the family are Coast, Interior, and Tsamosan. For more on the grouping and history of the Salish family see Thompson (1979a).
The following abbreviations will be used for North Straits dialects: Sa Saanich, Sg Songish, So Sooke, Lm Lummi. Other Coast Salish languages will be abbreviated as follows: Kl Klallam, Sq Squamish, Hl Halkomelem, Cw Cowichan (a dialect of Hl), Ld Lushootseed, and Ti Tillamook.

2. The preferred spelling of the Klallam people at Lower Elwha and Port Gamble reservations.

3. It has been suggested that Straits, including Klallam, is all one language. But, in fact, Klallam and Saanich are not mutually intelligible. Native speakers of Saanich were unable to understand clear tape recordings of Klallam discourse though they immediately recognized it as being "just like Saanich." It seems that they were reacting to a few familiar words and sounds such as /ŋə́nəʔ/ 'son, daughter' which contains /ŋ/, a sound that is common to all of Straits but lacking in all neighboring languages. The degree of mutual intelligibility among the North Straits dialects has not been determined.