World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Modoc language

Article Id: WHEBN0023122127
Reproduction Date:

Title: Modoc language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Modoc people, Classification schemes for indigenous languages of the Americas, Curley Headed Doctor, Washington Matthews
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Modoc language

Native to United States
Region Southern Oregon and northern California
Ethnicity Klamath, Modoc
Extinct 2003[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kla
Glottolog klam1254[2]

Klamath ,[3] also Klamath–Modoc and historically Lutuamian , is a Native American language that was spoken around Klamath Lake in what is now southern Oregon and northern California. It is the traditional language of the Klamath and Modoc peoples, each of whom spoke a dialect of the language. As of April 1998, it was spoken by only one person.[4] As of 2003, the last fluent Klamath speaker in Chiloquin, Oregon was 92 years old.[5] As of 2006 there were no fluent native speakers of either the Klamath or Modoc dialects. [6]

Klamath is thought to be a member of the Plateau Penutian branch of the Penutian language family, a family in which ablaut is common, just like in Indo-European. Evidence for this classification includes some consonant correspondences between Klamath and other alleged Penutian languages. For example, the Proto-Yokuts retroflexes */ʈ ʈʼ/ correspond to Klamath /tʃ tʃʼ/, and the Proto-Yokuts dentals */t̪ t̪ʰ t̪ʼ/ correspond to the Klamath alveolars /t tʰ tʼ/.



  Bilabial Coronal Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stop p pʰ pʼ t tʰ tʼ   k kʰ kʼ q qʰ qʼ ʔ
Nasal m m̥ mʼ n n̥ nʼ        
Fricative   s       h
Affricate   tʃ tʃʰ tʃʼ        
Approximant   l l̥ lʼ j ȷ̊ jʼ w w̥ wʼ    

Obstruents in Klamath except for /s/ all come in triplets of unaspirated, aspirated, and ejective sounds.[7] Sonorant triplets are voiced, voiceless, and "laryngealized" sounds, except for /h/ and /ʔ/.[8]

Most consonants can be geminated. The fricative /s/ is an exception, and there is evidence suggesting this is a consequence of a recent sound change.[9] Albert Samuel Gatschet recorded geminated /sː/ in the late 19th century, but this sound was consistently recorded as degeminated /s/ by M. A. R. Barker in the 1960s. Sometime after Gatschet recorded the language and before Barker did the same, */sː/ may have degeminated into /s/.


Klamath word order is conditioned by pragmatics. There is no clearly defined verb phrase or noun phrase. Alignment is nominative–accusative, with nominal case marking also distinguishing adjectives from nouns. Many verbs obligatorily classify an absolutive case. There are directive and applicative constructions.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Klamath at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Klamath". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ Chen, 1998; Maudlin, 1998.
  5. ^ Haynes, Erin F. "Obstacles facing tribal language programs in Warm Springs, Klamath, and Grand Ronde". Coyote Papers 8: 87–102. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  6. ^ Golla, Victor. (2011). California Indian Languages. Berkeley/Los Angeles, California : University of California Press. ISBN 9780520266674
  7. ^ Blevins, 2004, p. 279.
  8. ^ Blevins, 2004, pp. 279–80.
  9. ^ Blevins, 2004.
  10. ^ Rude, 1988.


  • Barker, M. A. R. (1963a). Klamath Texts. University of California Publications in Linguistics, volume 30. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • ———. (1963b). Klamath Dictionary. University of California Publications in Linguistics 31. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • ———. (1964). Klamath Grammar. University of California Publications in Linguistics 32. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • Barker, Philip. (1959). The Klamath language. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
  • Blevins, J. (2004, July). Klamath sibilant degemination: Implications of a recent sound change. IJAL, 70, 279–289.
  • Chen, D. W. (1998, April 5). Blackboard: Lost languages; Kuskokwim not spoken here. New York Times.
  • de Angulo, Jaime (1931). The Lutuami language (Klamath-Modoc). Société des Américanistes. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  • Maudlin, W. S. (1998, April 17). Yale linguists part of effort to save dying languages. The Yale Herald. Retrieved May 6, 2008
  • Rude, Noel (1987). Some Sahaptian-Klamath grammatical correspondences. Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, 12:67-83.
  • Rude, Noel (1988). Semantic and pragmatic objects in Klamath. In In Honor of Mary Haas: From the Haas Festival Conference on Native American Linguistics, ed. by William Shipley, pp. 651–73. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Rude, Noel (1991). Verbs to promotional suffixes in Sahaptian and Klamath. In Approaches to Grammaticalization, ed. by Elizabeth C. Traugott and Bernd Heine. Typological Studies in Language 19:185-199. New York and Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Online texts

  • Coville, Frederick Vernon (1897). "Notes on the plants used by the Klamath Indians of Oregon". Retrieved 2012-08-30.  Includes Klamath language plant names.
  • Gatschet, Albert S. (1890). "The Klamath Indians of southwestern Oregon". Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  • Gatschet, Albert S. (1880). The numeral adjective in the Klamtah language of southern Oregon. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  • Gatschet, Albert S. (1878). "Sketch of the Klamath language of Southern Oregon". Retrieved 2012-08-30. 

External links

  • The Klamath Tribes Language Project
  • Languages of Oregon: Klamath
  • Klamath-Modoc language,
  • Modoc language overview at the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
  • Klamath language, California Language Archive
  • OLAC resources in and about the Klamath-Modoc language
  • Klamath Bibliography

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.