Island Chumash

The Island Chumash language was traditionally spoken on three of the Channel Islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel Islands. It is documented in a number of nineteenth century vocabularies and in the fieldnotes of J. P. Harrington. Based on archaeological evidence and the testimony of early observers, it has been estimated that speakers of all Chumashan languages together numbered between 10,700 and 17,250 in pre-contact times (King 1969). Today, there are no first-language speakers of any Chumashan language.

Map of the Chumashan languages
Map of the Chumashan languages (Robert F. Heizer, ed. 1978. California. (Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 8.) Washington: Smithsonian Institute.)

Island Chumash (or "Isleño") is a member of the Chumashan language family; the others are Barbareño, Ineseño, Interior Chumash, Obispeño, Purisimeño, Ventureño.

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Further reading

  • Heizer R. F., ed. 1952. California Indian linguistic records: The Mission Indian vocabularies of Alphonse Pinart. University of California Anthropological Records 15:1-84. [PDF]
  • Heizer, R.F., ed. 1955. California Indian linguistic records: The Mission Indian vocabularies of H. W. Henshaw. University of California Anthropological Records 15:85-202. [PDF]

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