Cochimí was once the language of the greater part Baja California, as attested by Jesuit documents of the 18th century. It seems to have become extinct around the beginning of the 20th century (Modern "Cochimi"-speakers are actually speakers of Kumiai.) There were two main dialects, northern and southern; the dividing line was approximately at the Misión San Ignacio Kadakaamán, in the north of present-day Baja California Sur.
|Extinct||Beginning of 20th century|
The Jesuit texts establish that the language was related to the Yuman languages of the Colorado River region. It is thought to be the most divergent language of the family, which is generally called Yuman–Cochimí to reflect this. Based on glottochronology studies, the separation between Cochimi and the Yuman languages is believed to have occurred about 1000 BC.
Va-bappa amma-bang miarnu,
rna-rnang-ajua huit maja tegem:
kern-rnu-jua arnrna-bang vahi-mang amat-a-nang la-uahim.
Teguap ibang gual güieng-a.vit-a-jua ibang-a-nang packagit:
-mut-pagijua abadakegem, rnachi uayecgjua packabaya..guern:
The phonology of the Cochimí language is likely explained as follows:
*- /ʃ/ could have been disputed.
Voiced consonants likely could have been either separate phonemes or phonetic alternates of voiceless sounds.
Mid vowels may be alternated with close vowel sounds.
- Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian Languages, p. 125. University of California Press, Berkeley.
- Hill, Jane H. "Toward a Linguistic Prehistory of the Southwest: "Azteco-Tanoan" and the Arrival of Maize Cultivation." Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol 58, No. 4 (Winter 2002), p. 458
- Mixco, Mauricio J. (1978). Cochimí and Proto-Yuman: Lexical and Syntactic Evidence for a New Language Family in Lower California. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. pp. 13–19.