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California Indian Languages

California Indian Languages

Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    California Indian Languages
    Book Description:

    Nowhere was the linguistic diversity of the New World more extreme than in California, where an extraordinary variety of village-dwelling peoples spoke seventy-eight mutually unintelligible languages. This comprehensive illustrated handbook, a major synthesis of more than 150 years of documentation and study, reviews what we now know about California’s indigenous languages. Victor Golla outlines the basic structural features of more than two dozen language types, and cites all the major sources, both published and unpublished, for the documentation of these languages—from the earliest vocabularies collected by explorers and missionaries, to the data amassed during the twentieth-century by Alfred Kroeber and his colleagues, and to the extraordinary work of John P. Harrington and C. Hart Merriam. Golla also devotes chapters to the role of language in reconstructing prehistory, and to the intertwining of the language and culture in pre-contact California societies, making this work, the first of its kind, an essential reference on California’s remarkable Indian languages.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94952-2
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. PART 1 INTRODUCTION: Defining California as a Sociolinguistic Area
    (pp. 1-10)

    The precontact linguistic diversity of the New World was especially great along the Pacific coast of North America, reflecting both the complex ecology of the West Coast and its position as the gateway to the Americas. Nowhere was this hyperdiversity more extreme than in the fertile strip that lies between the coast and the interior deserts from approximately 31°30′ N in Baja California to 43° N in south-central Oregon, from Ensenada to Cape Blanco. Nearly a thousand miles long, and in places more than 200 miles wide, this bountiful region—the California of this book—was home to an extraordinary...

    (pp. 11-60)

    Following the 1539 voyage of Francisco de Ulloa to the head of the Gulf of California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was commissioned by Viceroy Mendoza to explore the Pacific coast farther north in the hope of finding a way to China. On June 27, 1542, a small fleet under Cabrillo’s command set out from Navidad (now Acapulco) and reached the vicinity of San Diego on September 28. Progressing up the coast, Cabrillo sailed through the Santa Barbara Channel and around Point Conception, eventually reaching the mouth of the Russian River before storms forced him to turn back. The expedition returned in...

    (pp. 61-202)

    Wiyot and Yurok were spoken in adjacent territories on the heavily forested northwest coast of California from a few miles north of the mouth of the Klamath River to a few miles south of the mouth of the Eel River. A family relationship between Wiyot and Yurok was recognized by R. B. Dixon and A. L. Kroeber (1913), who dubbed it “Ritwan,” a coinage based on the cognate stems for ‘two’ in the two languages (Wiyotɾit-, Yurokneʔe-; cf. Dixon and Kroeber 1919:54). Edward Sapir’s claim (1913a, 1923a) that the two languages are also distantly related to the Algonquian...

  8. PART 4 TYPOLOGICAL AND AREAL FEATURES: California as a Linguistic Area
    (pp. 203-238)

    Languages of the California area show considerable variation in the employment of phonemic contrasts in the laryngeal articulation of stops and affricates (i.e., distinctive aspiration, glottalization, or voicing). A substantial number of languages do without any laryngeal feature contrasts, having only a single “plain” type of stop or affricate. Four of the Hokan branches—Karuk, Esselen, Seri, and Cochimí—belong to this group, as probably did Proto Yuman, although Upland Yuman and Kiliwa have independently innovated a plain versus aspirated contrast. While most Penutian branches have a rich array of laryngeal feature contrasts, both Utian sub-branches have only plain stops...

    (pp. 239-258)

    Most of the indigenous languages of the California region belong to one of five widespread North American language groups—the Hokan and Penutian phyla, and the Uto-Aztecan, Algic, and Athabaskan language families. The distribution and internal diversity of four of these groups suggest that their original centers of dispersal were outside, or peripheral to, the core territory of California—that is, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada, the Coast Range from Cape Mendocino to Point Conception, and the Southern California coast and islands. Only languages of the Hokan phylum can plausibly be traced back to populations inhabiting parts of this...

  10. APPENDIX A. C. Hart Merriam’s Vocabularies and Natural History Word Lists for California Indian Languages
    (pp. 259-272)
  11. APPENDIX B. Materials on California Indian Languages in the Papers of John Peabody Harrington
    (pp. 273-282)
  12. APPENDIX C. Phonetic Transcription Systems Widely Used in California Indian Language Materials
    (pp. 283-286)
  13. APPENDIX D. Basic Numerals in Selected California Languages
    (pp. 287-294)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 295-322)
    (pp. 323-370)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 371-380)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 381-381)