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
It is highly polysynthetic
with very complex verbs and free word order.
Only a few dozen elders of the Pit River Indian tribe speak the Achumawi language fluently today,
but some Achumawi Indian people are working to revive their language again.
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, Qosalektawi/Kosalektawi, Hewisedawi, Astariwawi, and Atwamsini bands. Today, however,
"Achumawi" is used as a general term to refer to 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 referring to the Achumawi, Atsugewi,
Karuk, and Shasta languages, which many linguists consider a subgroup of the Hokan language family.