The Yana language was spoken in the hills and canyons on the eastern edge of the Sacramento Valley between the Pit River in the north and the Feather River in the south (the Southern Yana were also called the Yahi). In pre-contact times, there were probably around 1500 speakers (Kroeber 1925). Today, there are no first-language speakers (Golla 2011).
Yana is an isolate within the hypothesized Hokan language family. This includes, in addition to Yana, Chimariko, Esselen, Karuk, the Palaihnihan languages (Achumawi and Atsugewi), 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, and the Yuman languages (Cocopa, Kiliwa, Kumeyaay, Maricopa, Mojave, Pai, Paipai, and Quechan).
Selected archival materials at Berkeley
- Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Hinton, Leanne. 1988. Yana morphology: A thumbnail sketch. In James E Redden, ed. Papers from the 1987 Hokan-Penutian Workshop and Friends of Uto-Aztecan Workshop, pp. 7-16. Carbondale, IL: Department of Linguistics, Southern Illinois University.
- Sapir, Edward. 1910. Yana texts. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 9:1-235. [PDF]
- Sapir, Edward. 1922. The fundamental elements of Northern Yana. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 13:215-334. [PDF]
- Sapir, Edward. 1923. Text analyses of three Yana dialects. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 20:261-294. [PDF]
- Sapir, Edward and Morris Swadesh. 1960. Yana dictionary. Berkeley: University of California Press.