Ethnolinguistic Groups

A Glossary of Proper Names in California Prehistory

Ethnolinguistic Groups
Included here are designations for aboriginal languages and for higher-level groupings, such as linguistic families and phyla, as well as for some dialect-level groups that have been treated as primary units within the standard ethnographic literature (e.g., Kroeber 1925Sturtevant 1978- ). Most of the language-level groups subsume multiple localized, named subgroups, but those have not generally been included in this glossary. Spelling conventions for the names vary considerably; the attempt here has been to use the form that has been most widely used in ethnographic literature. There are also many additional designations for these same groups that have not been commonly used in scholarly studies and are not included here (e.g., Forbes 1982). 

The standard sources for linguistic classification, which are not cited under the individual entries below, include chapters in volumes 8, 9, 10, 11, and 17 of the Handbook of North American Indians (Sturtevant 1978- ) and overviews by Lyle Campbell (1997) and Marianne Mithun (1999). Standard sources for the chronology of language splits include works by Michael J. Moratto (1984), Michael K. Foster (1996), and Victor Golla (2007).


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ACHUMAWI. A language in northeastern California, also termed Pit River. Together, Achumawi and Atsugewiconstitute the Palaihnihan family within the proposed Hokan phylum. The name Achumawi comes from an Achumawi term meaning “river people.”

ALGIC. A linguistic family that includes the Algonkian family of languages in northeastern North America and the Ritwan family or the Yurok and Wiyot languages of northwestern California. A Macro-Algonkian phylum was also proposed that would additionally encompass a group of languages spoken near the Gulf of Mexico. Estimates for the end of Algic linguistic unity have ranged from ca. 1000 to 300 B.C.

ALLIKLIK. A linguistic group formerly distinguished on the upper Santa Clara River of coastal southern California. The group termed Alliklik has generally been reinterpreted either as the Uto-Aztecan-speakingTataviam or as a branch of the Ventureño Chumash. The designation Alliklik is reportedly a Chumash term meaning “grunters, stammerers.”

ANTONIANO. A language or dialect, sometimes also termed Sextapay, associated with the area of the Franciscan mission of San Antonio de Padua in Monterey County, central California. Antoniano may have been either a language within the Salinan family or a dialect of a single Salinan language.

ATHAPASKAN. A widespread linguistic family in western North America. There have been some differences in the ways the Athapaskan languages of northwestern California have been divided, but they generally consist of TolowaHupa (including Chilula and Whilkut), Mattole (including Bear River), Eel River (including Nongatl,LassikSinkyone, and Wailaki), and Cahto. Athapaskan has been included within an Eyak-Athabapaskan grouping, and at a higher level, in a proposed Nadene phylum. The Athapaskan languages in California belong to the Pacific Coast Athapaskan branch; within that branch, Tolowa belongs to an Oregon Athapaskan sub-branch, and the other languages belong to a California Athapaskan sub-branch. Estimates for the time of divergence within Athapaskan as a whole have ranged between ca. 400 B.C. and A.D. 700. The splitting of its southern branches has been put at ca. A.D. 1000, and the entry of Athapaskan speakers into northwestern California, at ca. A.D. 1200-1300.

ATSUGEWI. A language spoken in the Pit River-Eagle Lake area of northeastern California. Achumawi and Atsugewi constitute the Palaihnihan family within the proposed Hokan phylum. The name Atsugewi comes from a term meaning “pine-tree people.”

AWASWAS. A language spoken in the Santa Cruz area of coastal central California. Awaswas has been classified within the Northern branch of the Costanoan family, the Utian family, and the Penutian phylum.

BARBAREÑO. A language spoken in the coastal area around Santa Barbara, in southern California. Barbareño has been classified together with InezeñoPurisimeño, and Ventureño in the Central branch of the Chumashfamily.

BEAR RIVER. A dialect of the Mattole language in the Athapaskan family, spoken on Bear River in northwestern California.

CAHTO. A language or dialect spoken in the upper Eel River area of northwestern California. Cahto has sometimes been considered a dialect of the Eel River language. It has been classified as a CaliforniaAthapaskan language. The name Cahto comes from a Pomo word for “lake.”

CAHUILLA. A language spoken in the Colorado Desert and Peninsular Range of southern California. Three dialects, Mountain, Pass, and Desert Cahuilla, have been distinguished. Cahuilla has been classified together with Cupeño and Luiseño within the Cupan sub-branch of the Takic branch in the Uto-Aztecan family. The name Cahuilla apparently comes from a Cochimí (Baja California) word for non-missionized Indians.

CHALON. A language spoken in the Soledad area around Chalone Creek in coastal central California. Chalon has been classified either as a separate branch of the Costanoan family or within that family’s Northern branch, in the Utian family and the Penutian phylum.

CHEMEHUEVI. An ethnic group in the Mojave Desert and on the lower Colorado River in southeastern California, southern Nevada, and western Arizona, who spoke the Ute language.

CHILULA. An ethnic group on Redwood Creek in northwestern California. The speech of the Chilula has been classified as the Hupa language.

CHIMARIKO. A language spoken in the Trinity River area of northwestern California. Chimariko has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum. The designation comes from the native word for “people.”

CHOCHEÑO. A language spoken east of San Francisco Bay in central California. Chocheño has been classified within the Northern branch of the Costanoan family, in the Utian family and the Penutian phylum.

CHUMASH. A linguistic family on the southern California mainland and islands in the Santa Barbara area. In one classification, major branches within the family were Northern Chumash, with the single Obispeñolanguage, and Southern Chumash. Within Southern Chumash, two branches include the Isleño language and Central Chumash, consisting of PurisimeñoInezeñoBarbareño, and Ventureño. An alternative has been to recognize Central Chumash and Isleño as separate branches on the same level as Northern Chumash. A separate Interior Chumash language (Cuyama) has also sometimes been tentatively proposed. Within Isleño, dialects or languages of Cruzeño and Roseño have been distinguished. The Chumash family has commonly been assigned to the Hokan phylum, but more recently such a link has frequently been rejected. The divisions within Central Chumash have been dated to ca. A.D. 800-1000. The family’s name is derived from the Chumash name for “islanders.”

COSTANOAN. A family of languages spoken in the San Francisco-Monterey area of coastal central California, also known as Ohlone. According to one classification, Costanoan contains two branches: Northern Costanoan, including KarkinRamaytushChocheñoTamyenAwaswas, and Chalon; and Southern Costanoan, including Mutsun and Rumsen. Alternative schemes elevate Karkin and Chalon to major branches. Costanoan, together with Miwok, constitutes the Utian family, and more tenuously is part of the Penutian phylum. The name Costanoan comes from the Spanish term for “coast people.”

CUPAN. A sub-branch within the Takic branch of the Uto-Aztecan family. Cupan includes CahuillaCupeño, and Luiseño languages. Estimates for the time of divergence within Cupan have ranged from ca. 1500 B.C. to A.D. 500. Cupa is a the name of a Cupeño settlement.

CUPEÑO. A language spoken in the Warner’s Spring area of the Peninsular Range in southern California. Cupeño has been classified together with Cahuilla and Luiseño within the Cupan sub-branch of the Takicbranch in the Uto-Aztecan family.

DIEGUEÑO. A language or group of languages spoken in far southern Califoria and northern Baja California.Kumeyaay has sometimes been used as an alternative designation for Diegueño. Three dialects or languages within Diegueño have sometimes been distinguished: from north to south, these include Ipai, Kumeyaay, andTipai. Alternatively, Kumeyaay and Tipai have been grouped together as Tipai. Diegueño, together with Cocopa in northeastern Baja California, forms the Delta-California branch of the Yuman family, within the proposed Hokan phylum. Divisions within the Diegueño group have been estimated as having arisen between ca. A.D. 600 and 1200. The name Diegueño is derived from the Franciscan mission of San Diego de Alcalá.

EEL RIVER. A language spoken in the Eel River area of northwestern California. Dialect groups are termedNongatlLassikSinkyone, and Wailaki, to which Cahto has sometimes been added. Eel River has been classified as a California Athapaskan language.

ESSELEN. A language spoken in northern Monterey County, in central California. Esselen has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum.

FERNANDEÑO. A dialect of the Gabrielino language, spoken in the San Fernando Valley area of coastal southern California. The designation is taken from the Franciscan mission of San Fernando Rey de España.

GABRIELINO. A language spoken in the Los Angeles area and the southern Channel Islands of southern California. Fernandeño and Nicoleño dialects within Gabrielino have been distinguished. Gabrielino has been classified either together with the Serran group or separately within the Takic branch of the Uto-Aztecanfamily. The language’s name is taken from the Franciscan mission of San Gabriel Arcangel.

HALCHIDHOMA. A group at one time living in the Blythe area on the lower Colorado River in southeastern California and western Arizona. The Halchidhoma subsequently joined the Maricopa on the middle Gila River in southern Arizona, and their original language has sometimes been classified as Maricopa. Halchidhoma probably belonged, together with MohaveQuechan, and Maricopa, to the River branch of the Yuman family.

HOKAN. A proposed linguistic phylum containing nearly a dozen California families as well as additional groups in Mexico. California Hokan families include ChimarikoEsselenKarokPalaihnihanPomoSalinanShastan,WashoeYana, and Yuman. An additional California family, Chumash, has sometimes been included within Hokan. Proposed wider groupings, such as Hokan-Coahuiltecan and Hokan-Siouan, are not now generally accepted. The phylum’s designation comes from the word for “two” in many of its languages.

HUCHNOM. A dialect of the Yuki language, spoken in the South Eel River area of northwestern California. The name Huchnom comes from a term of the Yuki proper for “tribe outside.”

HUPA. A language spoken in the area of the Trinity and Mad rivers of northwestern California. Hupa is also a more specific designation for the dialect group on the Trinity River, in contrast to the dialect groups known asChilula and Whilkut. Hupa has been classified as a California Athapaskan language. The designation Hupa comes from the neighboring Yurok language.

INEZEÑO. A language spoken in the area of Santa Inez, in coastal southern California. Inezeño has been classified, together with BarbareñoPurisimeño, and Ventureño, as the Central branch of the Chumash family.

IPAI. A language or dialect of Diegueño, in the Yuman family, spoken in central-western San Diego County, in southern California.

ISLEÑO. A language spoken on the northern Channel Islands of southern California. The Cruzeño and Roseño dialects or languages spoken on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands respectively have been distinguished within Isleño. Isleño has been classified as either one of the three major branches of the Chumash family or as a sub-branch within the Southern branch of that family.

JUANEÑO. A dialect of Luiseño, spoken in the area around San Juan Capistrano in coastal southern California.

KAMIA. An ethnic group speaking a dialect of Diegueño in Imperial County, in southeastern California.

KARKIN. A language spoken south of Carquinez Strait in the San Francisco Bay area. Karkin has been classified as one of the major branches of the Costanoan family or as a member of that family’s Northern branch, within the Utian family and the proposed Penutian phylum.

KAROK. A language spoken on the middle Klamath River in northwestern California. Karok has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum. The name Karok comes from a native term meaning “upstream.”

KASHAYA. An alternative designation for Southwestern Pomo.The name Kashaya is a native term probably meaning “agile, nimble.”

KAWAIISU. A language spoken in the Tehachapi Mountains and the Mojave Desert of southeastern California. Kawaiisu, together with Ute, forms the Southern sub-branch of the Numic branch within the Uto-Aztecanfamily. The name Kawaiisu comes from a word in a Yokuts language.

KITANEMUK. A language spoken in the western Mojave Desert of southern California. Kitanemuk has been classified with Serrano in the Serran or Serrano-Gabrielino sub-branch of the Takic branch within the Uto-Aztecan family.

KLAMATH. An alternative designation for the language spoken by the Klamath in Oregon and the Modoc of northeastern California. Klamath-Modoc has been classified within the Plateau Penutian family of the proposedPenutian phylum. The name Klamath is a Chinookan term meaning “river people.”

KONKOW. A language, or possibly a dialect of Maidu, sometimes termed Northwestern Maiduan, spoken on the middle Feather River and Sacramento River drainages in northeastern California. Konkow, Maidu, andNisenan constitute the Maiduan family, within the proposed Penutian phylum. The designation Konkow means “valley land.”

KONOMIHU. A language spoken on the Salmon River in north-central California. Konomihu has been classified within the Shastan family and the proposed Hokan phylum.

KOSO. An alternative designation for Panamint or Western Shoshone, spoken in the Death Valley-Coso Mountains area of eastern California.

KUMEYAAY. A language, dialect, or a group of closely related languages belonging to the Yuman family, spoken in southern San Diego and Imperial counties and in northern Baja California. The name Kumeyaay is sometimes used to refer to the Diegueño language or language group in general. Sometimes it is used as synonymous with Tipai (or Southern Diegueño), and sometimes it designates a language (or possibly a dialect) geographically intermediate between Ipai (Northern Diegueño) to the north and Tipai to the south in northern Baja California. The name Kamia refers to eastern Kumeyaay speakers in Imperial Valley and on the lower Colorado River. The name Kumeyaay reportedly means “those from the cliffs.”

LASSIK. An ethnic group on the upper Eel and Mad rivers in northwestern California. The speech of the Lassik has been classified as the Eel River language. The designation Lassik may be a personal name.

LUISEÑO. A language spoken in northern San Diego, southern Orange, and western Riverside counties.Juaneño is a dialect of Luiseño. Luiseño has been classified together with Cupeño and Cahuilla within theCupan sub-branch of the Takic branch in the Uto-Aztecan family. The language’s name comes from the Franciscan mission of San Luis Rey de Francia.

MAIDU. A language, also termed Northeastern Maidu, spoken in the upper Feather River area of northeastern California. The Maiduan family consists of Maidu, Konkow, and Nisenan, and is classified within the proposedPenutian phylum. The name Maidu comes from a native word for “person.”

MARICOPA. A language spoken on the middle Gila River in western Arizona and possibly also previously spoken by the Halchidhoma on the lower Colorado River in southeastern California. Maricopa, together withQuechan and Mohave, belongs to the River branch of the Yuman family, within the proposed Hokan phylum.

MATTOLE. A language spoken in the Cape Mendocino area of northwestern California. Mattole is also a more specific designation for a dialect group on the Mattole River, in contrast to the dialect group termed Bear River. Mattole has been classified as a California Athapaskan language. The designation Mattole comes from the neighboring Wiyot language.

MIGUELEÑO. A language or dialect associated with the area of the Franciscan mission of San Miguel in Monterey County, central California. Migueleño may have been either a language within the Salinan family or a dialect of a single Salinan language, within the proposed Hokan phylum.

MIWOK. The designation for several languages spoken from the Sierra Nevada to the coast north of San Francisco in central California. Included are a Western branch, including Coast Miwok and Lake Miwok north of San Francisco, and an Eastern branch, including Bay Miwok (Saclan) and Plains Miwok in the Sacramento delta area, and Northern, Central and Southern Sierra Miwok in the western Sierra Nevada. The three Sierra Miwok groups are sometimes linked together as a separate branch within Eastern Miwok, and sometimes treated as dialects of an single language. Miwok, together with Costanoan, constitutes the Utian family, and more tenuously is part of the Penutian phylum. The split between Eastern and Western Miwok branches may have occurred prior to ca. 500 B.C. Plains and Sierra Miwok may have separated before A.D. 1, and divisions within Sierra Miwok probably only arose around A.D. 1200.

MODOC. The designation for the ethnic group in northeastern California speaking the Klamath-Modoc language. Klamath-Modoc has been classified within the Plateau Penutian family and, more tentatively, within a broader Penutian phylum. The name Modoc comes from a native term meaning “south.”

MOHAVE. A language spoken in the Parker area on the lower Colorado River in southeastern California and western Arizona. Mohave, together with QuechanHalchidhoma, and Maricopa, belongs to the River Yuman branch of the Yuman family, within the proposed Hokan phylum.

MONO. A language spoken in the eastern and western Sierra Nevada areas, also known as Monache and Owens Valley Paiute. Mono and Northern Paiute constitute the Western sub-branch of the Numic branch within the Uto-Aztecan family.

MUTSUN. A language spoken in the San Juan Bautista area of coastal central California. Mutsun has been classified within the Southern branch of the Costanoan family, in the Utian family and the proposed Penutianphylum.

NICOLEÑO. A dialect of the Gabrielino language, spoken on San Nicolas Island off the coast of southern California.

NISENAN. A language, sometimes termed Southern Maiduan, spoken in the southeastern Sacramento Valley. Nisenan, Konkow, and Maidu constitue the Maiduan family within the proposed Penutian phylum. The name Nisenan comes from a native term meaning “among us.”

NOMLAKI. A language, or a dialect of Wintu-Nomlaki, also termed Central Wintuan, spoken in the central-western Sacramento Valley. Nomlaki has been classified within the Wintuan family and the proposed Penutianphylum. The name Nomlaki comes from a native term meaning “west language.”

NONGATL. An ethnic group on the Van Duzen and Mad rivers in northwestern California. The speech of the Nongatl is classified as the Eel River language. The name Nongatl comes from a Hupa term meaning “people to the south.”

NUMIC. A branch of the Uto-Aztecan family, composed of languages spoken throughout most of the Great Basin and adjacent areas, including the Mojave Desert and the southern Sierra Nevada in eastern California. Numic contains three branches: Western Numic, including Paviotso and Mono; Central Numic, includingPanamint and Shoshone; and Southern Numic, including Kawaiisu and Ute. The division between the three Numic branches has been estimated to have occurred around A.D. 1-500, while the divisions within those three branches have been put at ca. A.D. 1000. The name Numic comes from a term for “person” reconstructed in Proto-Numic.

OBISPEÑO. A language, spoken in the San Luis Obispo area of coastal central California. Obispeño has been recognized as a primary branch within the Chumash family, either on the same level the remainder of the Chumash languages collectively or as against two separate Central Chumash and Isleño branches.

OHLONE. An alternative designation for the Costanoan linguistic family of coastal central California. The name Ohlone comes from the name of a particular tribelet.

OKWANUCHU. A language spoken around the headwaters of the Sacramento and McCloud rivers in north-central California. Okwanuchu has been classified within the Shastan family and the proposed Hokan phylum.

PAIUTE. An alternative designation for two languages within separate branches of the Numic family of the Great Basin and eastern California. Northern Paiute is synonymous with Paviotso, which together with Mono(also known as Owens Valley Paiute and Monache) constitutes the Western branch of Numic. Southern Paiute (including Chemehuevi) is linguistically equivalent to Ute, which together with Kawaiisu forms the Southern branch of Numic.

PALAIHNIHAN. A linguistic family including the Achumawi and Atsugewi languages, spoken in northeastern California. Palaihnihan has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum. Other more limited proposals, not now generally accepted, have grouped Palaihnihan with Shastan or within a Northern Hokan grouping.The division of Palainihan into Achumawi and Atsugewi languages has been estimated as having occurred around 2000-1100 B.C. The designation Palaihnihan reportedly comes from a Klamath term meaning “uplanders.”

PANAMINT. A language spoken in the Death Valley-Coso Mountains area of central-eastern California, also known as Koso or Western Shoshone. Panamint and Shoshone constitute the Central branch of Numic, within the Uto-Aztecan family.

PATWIN. A language, also designated as Southern Wintuan, spoken in the southwestern Sacramento Valley in central California. Patwin, together with Wintu-Nomlaki, forms the Wintuan family, which in turn is part of the proposed Penutian phylum. The name of Patwin comes from a native word for “people.”

PAVIOTSO. A language, also known as Northern Paiute, spoken in the western Great Basin, including the eastern edge of California. Paviotso and Mono constitute the Western branch of Numic, within the Uto-Aztecan family.

PENUTIAN. An hypothesized linguistic phylum including the UtianYokutsWintuan, and Maiduan families. A Yok-Utian subgroup, comprising Yokuts and Utian, has been proposed. This phylum, also termed California Penutian, has sometimes been linked into a still wider Penutian or Macro-Penutian grouping, including Plateau Penutian (with the Klamath-Modoc language of northeastern California) and several other language families of the Northwest Coast, the Columbia Plateau, and even Mesoamerica. The time depth of Penutian may go back to ca. 4500 B.C. The designation comes from combining the words for “two” in some of the Penutian languages.

PIT RIVER. An older alternative designation for the Achumawi language of the Pit River area in northeastern California.

POMO. A family of languages spoken in the Russian River area of northwestern California. Languages within the family include Northeastern, Eastern, Southeastern, Northern, Central, Southern, and Southwestern (orKashaya) Pomo. Several possible genetic subgroupings within the family have been suggested, including a southern group consisting of Central, Southern, and Southwestern Pomo, and a Western Branch consisting of Northern Pomo plus the Southern group. Pomo has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum. Proto-Pomoan may have been spoken around ca. 500-250 B.C. Eastern and Southeastern Pomo are thought to have diverged in A.D. 1 or earlier, while the divisions in Western Pomo arose around A.D. 500.

PURISIMEÑO. A language spoken in the area of the Franciscan mission of La Purisima, in coastal southern California. Purisimeño has been classified together with InezeñoBarbareño, and Ventureño as the Central branch of the Chumash family.

QUECHAN. A language, alternatively termed Yuma, spoken on the lower Colorado River around the Gila River junction in southeastern California and southwestern Arizona. Quechan, together with MohaveHalchidhoma, and Maricopa, belongs to the River Yuman branch of the Yuman family. The name Quechan is based on a native term meaning “those who descended.”

RAMAYTUSH. A language spoken on the San Francisco peninsula. Ramaytush has been classified within the Northern branch of the Costanoan family, in the Utian family and the proposed Penutian phylum.

RITWAN. A branch of the Algic family sometimes recognized as encompassing the Yurok and Wiyot languages of northwestern California. The name Ritwan is derived from a Wiyot word for “two.”

RUMSEN. A language spoken in the Monterey area of coastal central California. Rumsen has been classified within the Southern branch of the Costanoan family, in the Utian family and the proposed Penutian phylum.

SACLAN. An alternative designation for Bay Miwok, spoken in the Sacramento delta area.

SALINAN. A linguistic family or a language, spoken on the upper Salinas River drainage of coastal central California. Antoniano and Migueleño have been proposed as either languages within the Salinan family or as dialects of a single Salinan language. Salinan has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum.

SERRANO. A language, including the Vanyume dialect, spoken in the Transverse Ranges and southern Mojave Desert of southern California. Serrano has been classified within a Serran group (including Kitanemuk) or a Serrano-Gabrielino group (also including Gabrielino), in the Takic branch of the Uto-Aztecan family. The name Serrano comes from a Spanish term for “mountain person.”

SHASTA. A language spoken on the Klamath River in north-central California. In addition to Shasta proper, the Shastan family of languages includes New River Shasta, Okwanuchu, and Konomihu. Shastan has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum.

SHOSHONE. A language spoken through the central and northeastern Great Basin, perhaps including the eastern margin of California. Western Shoshone is sometimes considered to include Panamint, which, together with Shoshone, constitute the Central branch of Numic, within the Uto-Aztecan family. Shoshonean is also a term used for the four branches of northern Uto-Aztecan, including Numic, TakicTübatulabal, and Hopi.

SINKYONE. An ethnic group on the Eel River and adjacent coast in northwestern California, speaking the Eel River language. The designation Sinkyone is a native name for the south fork of the Eel River.

TAKIC. A branch (also termed Southern California Shoshonean) within the Uto-Aztecan family, consisting of languages spoken in coastal southern California and the Mojave and Colorado deserts. One classification scheme for the divisions within Takic has recognized a Serrano-Gabrielino sub-branch, consisting of Serrano,Vanyume, and Gabrielino; a Cupan sub-branch, with CahuillaCupeño, and Luiseño; and Tataviam. Chronological estimates for the breakup of Proto-Takic have ranged from ca. 2000 B.C. to A.D. 1.

TAMYEN. A language spoken in the Santa Clara area of central California. Tamyen has been classified within the Northern branch of the Costanoan family, in the Utian family and the Penutian phylum.

TATAVIAM. A language, sometimes also termed Alliklik, spoken on the upper Santa Clara River of coastal southern California. Tataviam has been classified within the Uto-Aztecan family and tentatively within itsTakic branch. The name Tataviam has been interpreted as meaning “people of the south-facing slope.”

TOLOWA. A language spoken in the Smith River area of northwestern California. In addition to the Tolowa on the California-Oregon border, the language also includes the Chetco dialect in Oregon. Tolowa has been classified in the Oregon branch of the Athapaskan family. The name Tolowa comes from the neighboring Yuroklanguage and may refer to a specific village.

TIPAI. A language or dialect of Diegueño, spoken in southern San Diego County and northern Baja California. Tipai is sometimes alternatively termed Kumeyaay or may include ethnic groups otherwise classified as Kumeyaay. Tipai is classified within the Diegueno language or sub-branch, the Delta-California branch, theYuman family, and the proposed Hokan phylum.

TÜBATULABAL. A language spoken in the Kern River drainage of the southern Sierra Nevada. Tübatulabal constitutes a separate branch within the Uto-Aztecan family.

UTE. A language whose speakers included the Southern Paiute and Chemehuevi in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California. Ute, together with Kawaiisu, forms the southern branch of the Numic branch within the Uto-Aztecan family.

UTIAN. A linguistic family consisting of the Costanoan and Miwok languages of central California. Utian, together with WintuanMaiduan, and Yokuts, comprises the Penutian phylum. A Yok-Utian grouping of Utian with Yokuts has also been proposed. The split between Miwok and Costanoan has been estimated as having occurred around 2500-2000 B.C. The designation was taken from the word for “two” in the languages.

UTO-AZTECAN. A linguistic family widely represented in western North America and Mesoamerica, including eastern and southern California. Branches of Uto-Aztecan in California include NumicTakic, and Tübatulabal, which, together with Hopi, are sometimes considered to represent a Northern Uto-Aztecan or Shoshoneangroup. Proposed wider groupings, such as Aztec-Tanoan, have not won general acceptance. Estimates for the timing of the divergence between the Uto-Aztecan branches have ranged from as early as 2600 B.C. to as late as A.D. 1.

VANYUME. An ethnic group speaking a dialect of the Serrano language in the Mojave River area in southern California’s Mojave Desert.

VENTUREÑO. A language spoken in the Ventura area of coastal southern California. Ventureño has been classified together with PurisimeñoInezeño, and Barbareño as the Central branch of the Chumash family.

WAILAKI. A group on the upper Eel and Van Duzen rivers in northwestern California, speaking the Eel Riverlanguage of the Athapaskan family. The designation Wailaki is apparently a Wintu word meaning “north language.”

WAPPO. A language spoken in the Napa River area of northwestern California. Wappo has been classified together with Yuki within the Yukian family.

WASHOE. A language spoken in the Lake Tahoe area of eastern California and western Nevada. Washoe has been classified within the proposed Hokan phylum.

WHILKUT. An ethnic group on the Mad River and Redwood Creek in northwestern California, speaking a dialect of the Hupa language in the Athapaskan family.

WINTU. A language, also termed Northern Wintuan, spoken in the northwestern Sacramento Valley. Wintu and Nomlaki are sometimes treated as a single language. The Wintuan family consists of Wintu, Nomlaki, andPatwin, and is classified within the proposed Penutian phylum. Divergence within the Wintuan family has been variously estimated as having begun between ca. 500 B.C. and A.D. 500. The name Wintu comes from a native word meaning “person.”

WIYOT. A language in the Humboldt Bay area of northwestern California, also termed Wishosk in the early ethnographic literature. Wiyot belongs to the Algic family and is sometimes recognized as forming a Ritwansubfamily, together with Yurok. The arrival of Wiyot in California has been estimated as having occurred around A.D. 900. The designation derives from a native name for the Eel River delta.

YAHI. A dialect of the Yana language, spoken in the Mill Creek and Deer Creek areas of northeastern California. The name Yahi is a native word meaning “people.”

YANA. A language spoken in the upper Sacramento Valley area. Dialects that have been distinguished include Northern Yana, Central Yana, Southern Yana, and Yahi. Yana has been classified within the proposed Hokanphylum. The name Yana is a native word meaning “people.”

YOKUTS. A family of languages spoken in the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent Sierra Nevada. Interpretations concerning the number, designations, and subgroupings of languages within the Yokuts family have varied considerably. One scheme distinguishes Palewyama, Buena Vista,Tule-Kaweah, Kings River, Gashowu, and Valley Yokuts languages. Yokuts has been classified within the proposed Penutian phylum, and, together withUtian, within a possible Yok-Utian subdivision of that phylum. The Yokuts languages may have begun to diverge prior to ca. A.D. 500.

YUKI. A language and a dialect spoken in the upper Eel River drainage and adjacent Pacific coast, in northwestern California. Within the Yuki language, three dialect groups have been distinguished: Yuki proper, Coast Yuki, and Huchnom. The Yukian family consists of two languages: Yuki and Wappo. The time for the division within the Yukian family has been estimated as around 1000 B.C. The name Yuki comes from a Wintu word meaning “enemy.”

YUMAN. A family of languages spoken in southern California as well as western Arizona and northern Baja California. Branches of Yuman that are represented in California include River Yuman, with QuechanMohave, and Halchidhoma or Maricopa languages, and Delta-California Yuman, with the Diegueño language or languages. Yuman has been classified in a Yuman-Cochimí family and within the proposed Hokan phylum. Estimates for the times of separation between the Yuman branches have ranged from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 700, and the divisions within the branches have been put between 500 B.C. and A.D. 1000. Yuma is also an alternative designation for the Quechan language.

YUROK. A language spoken in the lower Klamath River area of northwestern California, also termed Weitspekan in the early ethnographic literature. Yurok has been classified within the Algic family and is sometimes recognized as forming a Ritwan subfamily, together with Wiyot. The arrival of Yurok in California has been estimated as having occurred around A.D. 900. The name Yurok comes from a Karok term meaning “downriver.”