Southern Sierra Miwok

Southern Sierra Miwok was traditionally spoken in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada between the Merced and Chawchilla Rivers. In pre-contact times, there were an estimated 19,500 speakers of Plains Miwok, Saclan, and Central, Northern, and Southern Sierra Miwok together (Levy 1978). Today, Southern Sierra Miwok has only a few speakers (Golla 2011).

Southern Sierra Miwok is a Miwokan language, most closely related to Northern Sierra Miwok and Central Sierra Miwok. The others members of this family are Coast Miwok, Lake Miwok, Plains Miwok, and Saclan. The Miwokan languages comprise one branch of the hypothesized Penutian language family, within which they form a subgroup with the Ohlone languages (Awaswas, Chalon, Chochenyo, Karkin, Mutsun, Ramaytush, Rumsen, and Tamyen). Penutian includes, in addition, Klamath-Modoc, the Maiduan languages (Konkow, Maidu, and Nisenan), the Wintuan languages (Nomlaki, Patwin, and Wintu), and the Yokuts languages.

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Further reading

  • Broadbent, Sylvia M. 1964. The Southern Sierra Miwok language. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Freeland, L. S. 1951. Language of the Sierra Miwok. (Publications in Anthropology and Linguistics, Memoir 6.) Bloomington, ID: Indiana University Press.
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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