Alsea language

Alsea or Alsean (also Yakonan) was two closely related speech varieties spoken along the central Oregon coast. They are sometimes taken to be different languages, but it is difficult to be sure given the poor state of attestation; Mithun believes they were probably dialects of a single language.[2]

Alsea
Alsea-Yaquina / Yakonan
Pronunciation/ˈæls/
RegionOregon
EthnicityAlsea people, Yaquina people
Extinct1942, with the death of John Albert
Dialects
  • Alsea
  • Yaquina
Language codes
ISO 639-3aes
Glottologalse1251[1]
Alsean languages map.png
Pre-contact distribution of Alsean
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VarietiesEdit

  1. Alsea (Alséya) (†)
  2. Yaquina (Yakwina, Yakona) (†)

Both are now extinct.

The name Alsea derives from the Coosan name for them, alsí or alsí·, and the Marys River Kalapuyan name for them, alsí·ya. Alsea was last recorded in 1942 from the last speaker, John Albert, by J. P. Harrington.

The name Yaquina derives from the Alsean name for the Yaquina Bay and the Yaquina River region, yuqú·na. Yaquina was last recorded in 1884 by James Owen Dorsey.

Alsea is usually considered to belong to the Penutian phylum, and may form part of a Coast Oregon Penutian subgroup together with Siuslaw and the Coosan languages.[3] Numerous lexical resemblances between Alsea and the Northern Wintuan languages, however, are more likely the result of borrowing about 1,500 years ago when the (Northern) Wintuan speech community appears to have been located in Oregon.[4]

SoundsEdit

ConsonantsEdit

Alsea had 34 consonants:[2]

  Bilabial Alveolar Alveo-
palatal
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain lateral plain labialized plain labialized plain labialized
Stop plain p t       k q    
ejective p’ t’       k’ k’ʷ q’ q’ʷ ʔ  
Affricate plain                    
ejective     tɬ’ tɕ’              
Fricative   ɬ ɕ x χ χʷ h (hʷ)
Nasal plain m n                  
glottalized m’ n’                  
Approximant plain     l   j   w        
glottalized     l’   j’   w’        
  • The status of /hʷ/ is uncertain.
  • /ɕ/, /tɕ/ and /tɕ’/ are spelled as s, c and in modern descriptions.[2][5] Their phonetic value has been described as "palatal",[6] or "between alveolar and palatal".[2]

VowelsEdit

Three vowels are listed as /a, i, u/. Long vowel variants of /i, u/ are [eː, oː]. A mid vowel /ə/ occurs as a phonetically inserted vowel sound.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Alsea-Yaquina". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b c d Mithun, Marianne. (1999). The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X
  3. ^ Grant, Anthony P. (1997). "Coast Oregon Penutian: Problems and Possibilities". International Journal of American Linguistics. 63 (1): 144–156. JSTOR 1265867.
  4. ^ Golla, Victor (1997). "The Alsea-Wintuan Connection". International Journal of American Linguistics. 63 (1): 157–170. JSTOR 1265868.
  5. ^ a b Buckley, Eugene (2007). "Vowel–Sonorant Metathesis in Alsea". International Journal of American Linguistics. 73 (1): 1–39. doi:10.1086/518333. JSTOR 10.1086/518333.
  6. ^ Frachtenberg, Leo Joachim (1920). Alsea texts and myths. Washington: Govt. Printing Office. Retrieved 13 January 2020.

Further readingEdit