Central Pomo

The Central Pomo language was traditionally spoken from the Russian River southwest of Clear Lake to the Pacific coast. There were settlements along the Russian River (in the southern Ukiah Valley, in Hopland Valley, and further south near the Sonoma County line), in the coastal region (at Manchester, Point Arena, and at the mouth of the Gualala River), and in the region between the two (around Yorkville and in Anderson Valley). In pre-contact times, the Pomoan languages together probably had around 8000 speakers (Kroeber 1925). Today, there are several speakers of Central Pomo (Golla 2011).

Map of the Pomoan languages
Map of the Pomoan languages (Barrett 1908)

Central Pomo is one of seven languages comprising the Pomoan language family; the others are Eastern Pomo, Kashaya Pomo, Northeastern Pomo, Northern Pomo, Southeastern Pomo, and Southern Pomo. Together, the Pomoan languages form one branch of the hypothesized Hokan language family, the other members of which are Chimariko, Esselen, Karuk, the Palaihnihan languages (Achumawi and Atsugewi), 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

Further reading

  • de Angulo, Jaime. 1935. Pomo creation myth. Journal of American Folklore 48:203-262.
  • Barrett, S. A. 1908. The ethno-geography of the Pomo and neighboring Indians. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 6:1-322. [PDF]
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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