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Yana Indian Language (Yahi)
Yana is an extinct language of northern California, considered by some linguists to be part of the
Hokan family of languages. The language had three
major dialects: Northern Yana, Central Yana, and Southern Yana (including Yahi.) Like many California Indians,
the Yana people were devastated by the aggression of gold miners in the 1800's, and the last speaker of the Yana language--
a Yahi man known to anthopologists as Ishi--died in 1916. Yana was an agglutinative, polysynthetic language with SVO word order.
The Yana language was distinctive in having different word forms used by male and female speakers, an unusual trait that does not exist
in the other languages of this region.
Our list of vocabulary words in the Yana language, with comparison to words in other Hokan languages.
Yana Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions
Survey of California Indian Languages: Yana:
Profile of the Yana language from the University of California at Berkeley.
Encyclopedia article about the Yana language.
Yana Language Tree:
Theories about Yana's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Yana Language Structures:
Yana linguistic profile and academic bibliography.
Linguistic Families of Northern California Pre-Contact California Tribal Territories:
Maps showing where in California the Yana people live.
Homepage of an intertribal rancheria in California where some Yana descendants live today.
The Yana and Their Neighbors:
Online museum exhibit about the Yana Indians, including several artifact photographs.
The Story of Ishi Ishi, a Real-Life Last of the Mohicans Ishi, the Last Yahi:
Articles about Ishi, the last Yahi speaker.
Collection of Yana legends and folktales.
Profile of the Yana and Yahi tribes, historical timeline, and links from the Four Directions Institute.
Books for sale on the Yanas
Ishi in Two Worlds Ishi's Brain: In Search of America's Last "Wild" Indian:
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links
Books about the life and final fate of Ishi, the last of the Yahis.
Ishi's Tale of Lizard:
Folktale about the California Indian hero Lizard, compellingly narrated by the last survivor of the Yana tribe.
Collection of Yana stories and legends.
Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the Yana, Yahi, and other Native California tribes.
Links, References, and Additional Information
Wikipedia: Yana People:
Encyclopedia articles about the Yana tribe.
Pueblo Yana Lenguas Yana:
Information on the Yana language in Spanish, including a linguistic map of California.
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