Chumash Indian Languages

Published on July 20, 2014 by Amy

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The Chumash People
The Chumash People

The Chumash languages are considered by some linguists to be part of the Hokan family of languages, possibly related most closely to Salinan. There were once at least three distinct Chumashan languages–Northern Chumash (Obispeño), Island Chumash (Ysleño or Cruzeño), and Central Chumash, (with four dialects, Barbareño, Ineseño, Purisimeño, and Ventureño, some of which may also have been distinct languages of their own). The question is never likely to be answered, unfortunately, since none of the Chumash languages are still spoken today. Indian slavery was practiced in Southern California until late in the 19th century, and language loss in this region was particularly severe. The last speaker of a Chumash language (Barbareno, one of the Central Chumash dialects) died in the 1960′s, but some young Chumash people hope to revive their ancestral language again.

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