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Achumawi Language (Achomawi, Pit River Indians)

Language: Achumawi is a Palaihnihan language of Northern California, most closely related to Atsugewi. Some linguists consider these two languages part of the larger Hokan language family. Achumawi is a tone language. It is highly polysynthetic with very complex verbs and free word order. Only a few elders of the Pit River Indian tribe speak the Achumawi language today, but some Achumawi people are working to revive their language again.

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Names: The name Achumawi originally referred specifically to the dialect of the Fall River band (also spelled Ajumaawi, Ajumawi, Ajúmmááwí, Azumawi, Achumawe, or Achomawi.) There were also eight other bands that spoke different dialects of the same language: the Madesiwi, Ilmawi, Itsatawi, Hammawi/Hamawi, Qosalektawi/Kosalektawi, Hewisedawi, Astariwawi, and Atwamsini bands. Today, however, "Achumawi" is used as a general term to mean all varieties of this language and its speakers. Pit River Indians (spelled "Pitt River Indians" in 19th-century records), Palaihnih/Palaihnihan, and Palaiks/P'laikni are broader terms including both Atsugewi and Achumawi people and languages. Kahi is a linguistic term which refers to the Achumawi, Atsugewi, Karuk, and Shasta languages, which many linguists consider a subgroup of the Hokan language family.

Achumawi Language
Achumawi language samples and resources.

Achumawi Indians Culture and History
Information and links about the Achumawi tribe past and present.

Achumawi Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to common questions about the lifestyle of Achumawi Indian people.

Achumawi Legends
Introduction to Achumawi mythology.

Achumawi Language Resources

Our Online Achumawi Materials

Achumawi Vocabulary:
    Our list of vocabulary words in the Achumawi language, with comparison to words in other Hokan languages.
Achumawi Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Achumawi words.
Achumawi Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Achumawi language.
Achumawi Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in the Achumawi language.
Achumawi Colors:
    Worksheet showing color words in the Achumawi language.
Achumawi Numbers:
    Worksheet showing how to count in the Achumawi language.
Achumawi Food:
    Worksheet with pictures of food words in the Achumawi language.

Achumawi Dictionaries and Language Books for Sale
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Achumawi Dictionary:
    Achumawi-English dictionary.
Flutes of Fire:
    Interesting collection of essays about Achumawi and other California Indian languages.
Native American Language Dictionaries:
    Achumawi and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials for sale.

Achumawi Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

Pre-Contact California Tribal Territories:
    Maps showing where in Northern California the Achomawi language is spoken.
    Profile of the Achumawi language including a phonological inventory, orthography and a text.
Pit River Writing System Explanation:
    Language learning video demonstrating the sounds of the Achumawi alphabet.
Reconstructing Achumawi and Atsugewi * Aspects of Pit River Phonology:
    Linguistics articles on the Palaihnihan languages of Northern California.
Achumawi Linguistics:
    Brief article on the Achumawi language.
House of Languages: Achumawis
     Information about Achumawi language usage.
*Survey of California Indian Languages: Achumawi:
    Profile of the Achumawi language from the University of California at Berkeley.
Achumawi Language Tree:
    Theories about Achumawi's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Achumawi Language Structures:
    Achumawi linguistic profile and academic bibliography.
*Hokan Comparative Vocabulary:
    Early 20th-century wordlists of Shasta, Achomawi and Karok.
Achumawii Words of Life:
    Bible passages translated into the Achumawi language.
Native American Words:
    Translation services in Achumawi and other Indian languages.

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

  Endangered Languages Project: Achumawi:
  Bibliography of Achumawi language resources.
  OLAC: Achumawi:
  Reference list of Achumawi language materials.
  Wikipedia: Achumawi:
  Encyclopedia articles on the Achumawi language.
  Lengua Achumawi * Lenguas Palaihnih:
  Information on the Achumawi language in Spanish.
  Achumawi Language:
  Achumawi links.

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