Dr Lorna Williams

Lil’wat Principles and Pronunciation guide

Lil’wat words used in the course Learning and Teaching in an Indigenous World
Taping by S. Boechler, IPA S. Gestner; pronunciation description J. van Eijk




Lil’wat Principle

IPA pronunciation

Pronunciation description

Meaning of the word in English





the  cw  sounds like the “wh” of “which” and “whale” in  the pronunciation of those people who pronounce these words differently from “witch” and “wail.”  Most Canadians do not make this difference, and pronounce “which” as “witch,” and “whale” as “wail,” but most of them are aware of the fact that in a number English dialects the difference is made.  The  lh  sounds like “th” of “thin,” but pronounced with one or both sides of the tongue rather than the tip of the tongue.  (It actually resembles that “slurpy” sound in Sylvester the Cat when he says “s.”  I think he pronounces his own name as “Lhylvelhter.”

acknowledging the felt energy indicating group attunement and the emergence of a common group purpose, individuals feel safe and free to express their views




The  c  in  célhcelh  is like the “ch” of English (Scottish) “loch” but not so far back in the throat.  (It is made at the same spot where one articulates the “k” of “kill.”)  People who know German will find that it is very similar to the “ch” sound in German “ich” (for “I”).  The  lh  is as in  kamúcwkalha.


each person being responsible for their own learning, always seeking learning opportunities; fitting ones self into a working group, freely offering ones expertise when appropriate, gifts to the group effort



kæˈt͡l il’æ

The  t’  in  kat’íl’a  is like the “tl” in “meatless” or “gutless,” but glottalized, i.e., pronounced with closed vocal cords.  This one is best demonstrated by a fluent speaker like yourself, just like the  l’,  which is the glottalized version of “l.”  People should also be made aware that this  l  is “thin,” like the ”l” in English “lip,” but not like the “thick l” of English “pool.”



seeking spaces of stillness and quietness amidst our busyness and quest for knowledge; stop and listen deeply




The  7  in  a7xe7ul  is the “glottal catch” we also have in English “uh-oh,” before the “u” and “o” sounds.  In a number of British dialects this is how the “t” is pronounced at the end of words, as in “bi7,” for “bit.”  The  x  is like the “ch” of Scottish “loch.”  For  c   see  célhcelh above.


valuing our own expertise and considering how it helps the entire community beyond ourselves; to teach oneself; to prepare oneself for listening and learning





recognizing the need to sometimes be in a place of dissonance and uncertainty, heightened awareness, so as to be open to new learning





encouraging each of us to do the best we can at each task given to us

Tim Hopper,
Apr 26, 2015, 5:03 PM