This book is the first complete descriptive grammar of Lillooet, an Indigenous Canadian language spoken in British Columbia, now threatened with extinction. The author discusses three major aspects of the language – sound system, word structure, and syntax – in great detail. The classical structuralism method of analysis, as developed in North America by Leonard Bloomfield and his followers, is used to look at every aspect of Lillooet in terms of its function and position within the whole structure of the language. Van Eijk explains terms and procedures in order to make the book accessible not only to the advanced linguist, but also to the undergraduate student with basic linguistic training. Written with great clarity and well organized, the book is illustrated with copious examples drawn from many years of fieldwork in St’át’imc territory.
Jan van Eijk is a professor in the Department of Indian Languages, Literature, and Linguistics at the First Nations University of Canada.
Does an excellent job of describing Lillooet grammar in a compact, informative, and intelligible manner; it should be read by anyone with an interest in the languages of northwestern North America, and is also well worth perusal by linguists specializing in other areas ... the facts of the Lillooet generally emerge in a straightforward and perspicuous fashion ... this attractive and well-produced volume is a valuable addition to the literature on Salish languages.
It is a meticulous, well-researched, and well-written description of St’at’imcets(Lillooet) phonology and morphosyntax. The morphology section in particular is extremely thorough and insightful. The sections are clearly organized, with plentiful cross-references where appropriate. This is a first-class descriptive grammar, and is highly recommended to anyone interested in Salish or in the morphosyntax of head-marking languages more generally ... Van Eijk has produced a remarkably thorough and comprehensive description of a language which, until he began work on it, had not previously received any real attention from linguists. Van Eijk’s ground-breaking work forms the foundation for the substantial amount of theoretical work which has been done on St’at’imcets in the past ten years. His description and analyses have also laid the foundation for current language revival and maintenance efforts in both dialect areas. I am delighted that this book has been published, and recommend it most highly.