Mutsun language

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Mutsun (also known as San Juan Bautista Costanoan) is a Utian language spoken in Northern California. It was the primary language of a division of the Ohlone people living in the Mission San Juan Bautista area. The Tamien Nation and Amah Mutsun band is currently working to restore the use of the language, using a modern alphabet.[2][3][4]

San Juan Bautista
Native toUnited States
Extinct1930, with the death of Ascencion Solórzano de Cervantes[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3(included in css)
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Area where the Utian languages were spoken

Studies of the languageEdit

Maria Ascención Solórsano De Garcia y De Cervantes, the last known fluent speaker of Mutsun, amassed large amounts of language and cultural data specific to the Mutsun.[3] The Spanish Franciscan missionary and linguist Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta wrote extensively about the language's grammar, and linguist John Peabody Harrington made very extensive notes on the language from Solórsano. Harrington's field notes formed the basis of the grammar of Mutsun written by Marc Okrand as a University of California dissertation in 1977,[1] which to this day remains the only grammar[citation needed] ever written of any Costanoan language. Scholars from the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands have discussed methods that could facilitate the revitalization of Mutsun.[5]


Vowel and consonant phonemes are represented here with the orthography used in the English-Mutsun dictionary, with the orthographic symbol bolded if it differs from IPA transcription.[6]


Front Back
Close i u
Mid ɛ e o
Open ɑ a
  • /ɛ/ is open-mid, whereas /o/ is close-mid.[6]
  • Vowels and consonants are doubled to indicate longer pronunciation (ex: IPA for toolos 'knee' is [toːlos])


Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
hard soft
Nasal m n N
Stop p t tY ʈ T k ʔ '
Affricate ts c
Fricative s ʃ S h
Approximant w l L j y
Flap ɾ r


a, c, d, e, h, i, k, l, L, m, n, N, o, p, r, s, S, t, T, ts, tY, u, w, y, '


  1. ^ a b Okrand, Marc. 1977. "Mutsun Grammar". Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
  2. ^ Warner, N. (2006). Making a Dictionary for Community Use in Language Revitalization: The Case of Mutsun. International Journal of Lexicography, 19(3), 257-285. Retrieved from [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b Warner, N., Luna, Q., & Butler, L. (2007). Ethics and Revitalization of Dormant Languages: The Mutsun Language.1(1). Retrieved from [2]
  4. ^ "Amah Mutsun Tribal Band: Language". Retrieved 2020-03-07.
  5. ^ Revitalization in a scattered language community: problems and methods from the perspective of Mutsun language revitalization, Authors: Natasha Warner / Quirina Luna / Lynnika Butler / Heather van Volkinburg, International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2009, Issue 198, Pages 135–148, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: 10.1515/IJSL.2009.031, July 2009
  6. ^ a b Okrand, (page 21)

External linksEdit