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Kitanemuk language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Native toUnited States
RegionSouthern California
ExtinctLast spoken in the 1940s by Marcelino Rivera, Isabella Gonzales, and Refugia Duran
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Kitanemuk was a Northern Uto-Aztecan language of the Serran branch. It was very closely related to Serrano, and may have been a dialect. It was spoken in the San Gabriel Mountains and foothill environs of Southern California. The last speakers lived some time in the 1940s, though the last fieldwork was carried out in 1937. J. P. Harrington took copious notes in 1916 and 1917, however, which has allowed for a fairly detailed knowledge of the language.


Kitanemuk is an agglutinative language, where words use suffix complexes for a variety of purposes with several morphemes strung together.



The consonant phonemes of Kitanemuk, as reconstructed by Anderton (1988) based on Harrington's field notes, were (with some standard Americanist phonetic notation in ⟨angle brackets⟩:

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain labio.
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p t k ʔ
Affricate ts ⟨c⟩ ⟨č⟩
Fricative v s ʃ ⟨š⟩ h
Rhotic r
Approximant l j ⟨y⟩ w

Word-finally, h becomes [r], and all voiced consonants become voiceless before other voiceless consonants or word-finally.


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid e o
Open a

See also


  • Anderton, Alice J. (1988). The Language of the Kitanemuks of California. PhD. diss., University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 December 2021, at 20:06
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