Native language of the Pacific northwest. The word Lushootseed roughly translated means "the way people speak along the bounded salt water of Puget Sound". Formerly called Puget Salish by academics, it is one of the best documented Native languages, thanks to the work of Thom Hess and Vi Hilbert who created a written form and a dictionary. Dialects of Lushootseed were traditionally spoken along every river draining into the Puget Sound. At its height in the 1700s, it was spoken by tens of thousands. With the rapid depopluation of the native speakers, many words have vanished. There are perhaps between 100 and 200 speakers today.