The Achumawi language was traditionally spoken along the Pit River from the margins of the northern Sacramento Valley up to its source in Goose Lake. In pre-contact times, there were approximately 3000 speakers of Achumawi and Atsugewi combined (Kroeber 1925). Today, there are less than a dozen speakers (Golla 2011).
Atsugewi and the closely related Atsugewi language constitute the Palaihnihan family, a branch of the hypothesized Hokan language family, which also includes Chimariko, Esselen, Karuk, the Pomoan languages (Central Pomo, Eastern Pomo, Kashaya, Northeastern Pomo, Northern Pomo, Southeastern Pomo, and Southern Pomo), Salinan, the Shastan languages (Konomihu, New River Shasta, Okwanuchu, and Shasta), Washo, Yana, and the Yuman languages (Cocopa, Kiliwa, Kumeyaay, Maricopa, Mojave, Pai, Paipai, and Quechan).
Selected archival materials at Berkeley
- de Angulo, Jaime and L. S. Freeland. 1930. The Achumawi language. International Journal of American Linguistics 6:77-120.
- Bauman, James. 1980. Introduction to the Pit River language and culture. Anchorage, AK: National Bilingual Materials Development Center, University of Alaska.
- Bauman, James, Ruby Miles, and Ike Leaf. 1979. Pit River teaching dictionary. Anchorage, AK: National Bilingual Materials Development Center, University of Alaska.
- Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Olmstead, D. L. 1966. Achumawi dictionary. Berkeley: University of California Press.