Cochimí language

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[1] (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.

Native toMexico
RegionBaja California
EthnicityCochimí people
ExtinctBeginning of 20th century[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3coj
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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.[2]

Cochimí textEdit

Following is the Lord's Prayer in the dialect of San Ignacio Kadakaamán, recorded by Francisco Javier Clavijero from the work of the missionaries Barco and Ventura, which has been lost.[3]

Va-bappa amma-bang miarnu,
rna-rnang-ajua huit maja tegem:
amat-mathadabajua ucuem:
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:
guangrnayi-acg packadabanajarn.


The phonology of the Cochimí language is likely explained as follows:[4]


Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
plain lab.
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative s ʃ* x
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l
Approximant w j

*- /ʃ/ could have been disputed.

Voiced consonants likely could have been either separate phonemes or phonetic alternates of voiceless sounds.


Front Back
Close i u
Mid (e) (o)
Open a

Mid vowels may be alternated with close vowel sounds.


  1. ^ a b Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian Languages, p. 125. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ 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.