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California Indian Languages

Victor Golla

Publication Year: 2011

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basic structural features of more than two dozen language types, and cites all the major sources, both published and unpublished, for the documentation of these languages—from the earliest vocabularies collected by explorers and missionaries, to the data amassed during the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.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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PREFACE

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pp. ix-xi

This book is intended to be the reference of fi rst resort for linguists, archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, ethnohistorians, and others who in the course of their work fi nd themselves in need of a guide to what is known to scholarship about the indigenous languages of California. Part 1, a short introductory essay, proposes a defi nition of the California linguistic area primarily in geographical and sociopolitical terms—a region in which a mosaic of language ...

PHONETIC ORTHOGRAPHY USED IN THIS BOOK

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pp. xii-xiv

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PART 1. INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-9

Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the aboriginal languages of California knows that there were a lot of them. In the core region west of the Sierra Nevada and the Mohave Desert, a signifi cantly larger number of mutually unintelligible linguistic systems were in use than could reasonably be predicted from diff erences in ecology, subsistence strategy, or social organization. Instead, the primary factor generating linguistic diversity seems to have been the evolution, over millennia, of a sociopolitical landscape that consisted of a mosaic of tribelets—tiny but ...

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PART 2. HISTORY OF STUDY

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pp. 11-59

Between Cabrillo’s fi rst exploration of the southern coast in 1542 and the raising of the Bear Flag at Sonoma three centuries later, little attempt was made to document the indigenous languages of the California region. It was only in the years following the Gold Rush that the nature and diversity of California languages came to be appreciated. But knowledge accumulated fast, and by the mid-1870s John Wesley Powell was able to compile an extensive comparative vocabulary and outline a family-level classifi cation (see Box 4). In 1901, the University ...

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PART 3. LANGUAGES AND LANGUAGE FAMILIES

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pp. 61-201

In Part 3 will be found the descriptive details of the approximately eighty languages of the California region, including their territories, subdivisions, and cultural associations; a summary of their linguistic documentation; and a short, semitechnical sketch of their principal phonological and grammatical characteristics. The presentation of this information is organized in twenty-three sections, each, in general, corresponding to one of the fi rst-order (“inspectionally obvious”) historical units, or families, into which John Wesley Powell and his coworkers grouped the ...

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PART 4. TYPOLOGICAL AND AREAL FEATURES

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pp. 202-237

Varied though their histories may be, the languages of the California region share a number of characteristics that may be called “Californian.” Some of these features are localized enough to defi ne a California linguistic area or a signifi cant subgroup of languages within such an area. Others are more widespread, but they are given special emphasis in the region, or they form patterns with other features in a distinctively Californian way. Certain features, ...

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PART 5. LINGUISTIC PREHISTORY

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pp. 239-258

Part 5 summarizes the work of linguists and archaeologists who have attempted to infer certain prehistoric connections and movements in California and adjacent areas from the patterns of diversity within languages, language families, and phyla, and from the distribution of loanwords and other shared linguistic features. Possible correlations are noted with the models of California prehistory that have been constructed by archaeologists, and more recently by geneticists, but no attempt is made to bring the diversity of facts and interpretations together in a ...

A P P E N D I X A

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pp. 259-271

A P P E N D I X B

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pp. 273-281

A P P E N D I X C

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pp. 283-286

A P P E N D I X D

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pp. 287-294

NOTES

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pp. 295-321

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 323-369

INDEX

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pp. 371-380

Production Notes

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p. 381-381


E-ISBN-13: 9780520949522
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520266674

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- California -- Languages.
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