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Native Languages of the Americas: Yurok

Language: Yurok is an Algic language of Northern California, spoken by only a handful of elders there. (It should not be confused with the unrelated Siberian language Nenets, sometimes also called "Yurok.") Yurok is related to Wiyot but not to the other languages of Northern California--known to linguists as the Ritwan languages, Wiyot and Yurok are actually distant relatives of Algonquian languages like Ojibway and Cree. Like the Algonquian languages, Yurok is an agglutinative language with complex verbs and fairly free word order.

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People: The Yurok tribe traditionally lived in the far northwestern corner of California, along the lower Klamath River and on the Pacific Coast near its mouth. ("Yurok" means, in fact, "downriver," in the language of the Karoks who lived at its other end.) Unlike most native peoples of the west coast, the Yuroks are Algonquian speakers. There are about 3500 Yurok people in Northern California today; in some places, they have merged with their neighbors the Wiyot.

History: The California Indians were brutally trampled underfoot in the American gold rush of the 1800's, and the Yurok tribe was no exception. By most accounts a quiet and unassertive people, the Yurok Indians did not often clash with miners, but the government offices paying $5 bounties for the severed heads of Indian men did not tend to know the difference between the head of a Karok warrior and a Yurok fisherman, and all the natives of California suffered under the same yoke--more than 90% of the American Indian population of California were killed during the 19th century.

Yurok Language Resources
Yurok language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Yurok Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Yurok Native Americans past and present.

Yurok Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Yuroks, their language and culture.

Yurok Legends
Introduction to Yurok Indian mythology.

Yurok Language Resources

Our Online Yurok Language Materials

Yurok Vocabulary:
    List of vocabulary words in the Yurok language, with comparison to words in Algonquian languages.
Yurok Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Yurok words.
Yurok Animal Words:
    Picture glossary of animal words in the Yurok language.
Yurok Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in the Yurok language.

Yurok Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources

Wiyot and Yurok Bibliography:
    Thorough bibliography of offline materials on the Wiyot and Yurok languages.
Flutes of Fire:
    Interesting collection of essays about Yurok and other California Indian languages.

Yurok Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

    Audio file of a spoken Yurok word
Yurok Language * Yurok Grammar * Yurok Numbers * Yurok Orthography * Yurok Phonology:
    The Yurok Language * Yurok Text * Yurok Pronunciation * Yurok Story * Yurok Bibliography:
    Scanned-in Yurok language materials from the Rosetta Project.
Periphrastic Agreement in Yurok * Repetitive reduplication in Yurok and Karuk * The Semantics of Yurok Intensive Infixation:
    Yurok linguistics papers.
Yurok Alphabet:
    Phonological inventory of the Yurok language, with a sample text.
*Survey of California Indian Languages: Yurok:
    Profile of the Yurok language from the University of California at Berkeley.

Literature and Texts in the Yurok Language

Yurok Texts:
    Two Yurok stories with English translation.

Yurok Language Preservation and Usage

Linguistic Families of Northern California * Pre-Contact California Tribal Territories:
    Maps showing where in California the Yurok language is spoken.
Yurok Language Project:
    Information about Yurok p reservation efforts from the Yurok Language Project at UCBerkeley.
Yurok Language:
    Brief overview of Yurok language use.
House of Languages: Yurok:
    Information about Yurok language usage.
    Demographic information about Yurok from the Ethnologue of Languages.
Pacific Northwest Language Domains:
    Language map of Yurok and other Northwest Coast languages of Washington, Oregon and California.
Yurok Language Tree:
    Theories about Yurok's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
*West Coast Algonquian Vocabulary:
    Early 20th-century wordlists of Yurok and Wiyot.

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

  La Lengua Yurok:
  Article on the Yurok language in Spanish. With a language map.
  Yurok Language:
  Yurok links.
  Yurok Tribe:
  Yurok Indian books.

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