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illustration for sx_éyes ('head')



Sxéyes (also pronounced sxóyes) is the Halq’eméylem word for ‘head’. You can use it for a human head or the head of an animal, fish, etc. …


There are two alternative pronunciations for this word:

  • Sxéyes sounds like SKAY-us, except that instead of a “k” you say the Halq’eméylem ‘hard-x’, which is made with heavy friction at your uvula.
  • Sxóyes (alternative pronunciation) sounds more like SKY-us, but again with the Halq’emeylem hard-x.

Both sxéyes and sxóyes are ‘correct’.

Audio: Elizabeth Herrling, Elizabeth Phillips


Here are some examples of how you can use sxéyes or sxóyes (you can use either form in each of these examples):

    • Tesachsem la te’ sxéyes!Touch your head!
    • Motest te’ sxéyes!Point to your head
    • Sáyem tel sxóyesMy head is sore
    • Sá:lth’tem tel sxéyes.My head is dizzy.
    • sxóyes te sthóqwifish head

Plural Forms

Elders also vary in the plural form for this word:

  • Some say sxexéyes for heads.
  • Others say xexéyes

The difference is just the initial `s`.  Both versions are ‘correct’ for the plural (audio here).  You can also just say ye sxéyesthe heads.

Related Words

One word related to sxéyes is:  xéyeslótelwild ginger.  This means literally  facing each other.

3 Responses to sx_éyes

  1. Judy Douglas May 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Etsel ey. I will be teaching the head parts soon to my Halq’emeylem class. I get to show your program to the students. They will enjoy this. Kw’as hoy. tel siyaye. Shxwyoslenik

  2. Dianna Kay June 11, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    If duplication occurs for the plural version of “head” is the “s” necessary at the end for all duplication or just in this case. I noticed, like english, “s” indicates plural for later versions of the Halq’emeylem language (post 1986) but prior the “s” is rarely (I could be just tone deaf too) heard. is this the natural growth of the language or a common occurrence? Please correct me.

    • Stolo Shxweli June 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

      Ey swéyel, thanks for your question!

      The -s at the end of sx_eyes doesn’t mark plural. In general, when you use doubling (‘reduplication’) to mark the plural, you just double-up the first part of the word, you don’t have to put an -s or anything at the end.

      Usually the elders will use a traditional form for the plural (usually either doubling, or inserting an l), even if the word is borrowed from English. Sometimes, though they may have used the English plural, which would be with an -s, just as we borrow foreign plurals in octopus-octopi (because the -i is the Latin plural).

      Hope that helps, the plural is very interesting in Halq’emeylem! –Iweslhilt

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