First Phrases

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Here are some phrases from Ruby Peter and Margaret Seymour to help get you started conversing.

At home

’umut lhu!
Get up now!

’uy’. ’umut tsun.
Okay, I’ll get up.

’itth’um ch.
Get dressed!

’i tsun wulh hwu s’itth’um’.
I’m dressed now.

wulh hwu saay’ tthu lutem.
The table is ready.

’aaa, nan ’uw’ ’uy s’ulhtun. hay ch q’a’.
Oh, the food is very good. Thank you.

’itut thulh.
Go to sleep.

’uy’s ch ’un s’itut.
Sleep well.


nuwe ’u, Meli?
Is that you, Meli?

It’s me.

’iich ’uw’ sthuthi’?
Are you okay?

’i tsun ’uw’ sthuthi’. ’i ’u ch kwu’elh tl’uw’ sthuthi’?
I’m okay. Are you okay too?

tl’lim’ ’uy’ skweyul.
It’s nice weather.

thu’it tl’lim’ ’uy’ skweyul.
It sure is nice weather.

tl’e’ tsun tse’ ’uw’ lumnamu.
I’ll see you later.

’uy’, tahw tse’ ’ul’.
Okay, later.

la’lum’uthut ch.
Take care.

tl’e’ ch p’uw’ la’lum’uthut.
You take care too.


stem tu’i?
What’s this?

’uwu te’ nu shtatul’stuhw ’uw’ stemus.
I don’t know what it is.

Say it!

’uy’, nemustuhw tsun tse’.
Okay, I’ll say it.

nu stl’i’ kwunus nem’ tl’-’umutew’t-hw.
I need to use the washroom.

nem’ lhu.
Go ahead.

stl’atl’um kws tuw’ qewum tst.
Shall we take a rest?

’uy’ kws qewum tst.
Let’s take a rest.

ni’ ’u tst hay?
Are we done?

ni’ tst hay.
We are finished.


lhwet kw’un’ sne?
What’s your name?

Meli thunu sne.
My name is Mary.

nuwa’lu lhwet?
Who are you?

’een’thu Meli tun’ni’ tsun ’utl’ quw’utsun’.
I’m Mary from Cowichan.

’un’ stl’i’ ’u kwunus ts’ewuthamu?
Do you want me to help you?

tth’ihwum ch ’i’ ts’ewutham’sh.
Please help me.

hay ch q’a’.
Thank you.

namut kwu.
You’re welcome.

’iich tstl’i’ ’utl’ ’een’thu?
Do you love me?

nan ch ’uw’ nu stl’i’.
I love you very much.


’iich ’uw’ ’a’mut?
Are you home?

’i tsun ’uw’ ’a’mut, m’i nuw’ilum.
I’m home. Come in.

’un’ stl’i’ ’u kw’ ti?
Would you like some tea?

’uy’, hey lhu.
Okay, go ahead.

niich q’a’t tthu shoukwu?
Do you use sugar?

yuse’lus ch tispun kw’ shoukwu.
Give me two teaspons sugars.

’iich tsqwul’qwul’.
Do you have news?

’i ’uy’ kwthunu sqwul’qwul’.
I have good news.

Speaking with Elders

qul’et thut.
Say it again!

’uy’, qul’et tsun tse’ thut.
Okay, I’ll say it again.

si’amut ch ’ul’ ’u tthun’ sqwal.
Speak slowly.

’uy’ si’amut tsun tse’ ’ul’ kwunus qwal.
Okay, I’ll speak slowly.

ni’ ’u ’uw’ tl’ul’im’ tthunu sqwal.
Am I saying it right?

na’ut ’uw’ ’uy’.
You’re saying it right.

ni’ ’uch ’uw’ ta’ulthun ’utl’ ’een’thu?
Do you understand what I’m saying?

’uwu kwunus ni’ ta’ulthun ’u tthu ni’ ’un’ sqwaqwul’.
I don’t understand what you’re saying.