Takelma–Kalapuyan languages

The Takelma–Kalapuyan languages (also Takelman) are a proposed small language family that comprises the Kalapuyan languages and Takelma, which were formerly spoken in the Willamette Valley and the Rogue Valley in Oregon.

Linguistic classificationPenutian ?
  • Takelma–Kalapuyan


The idea of a special relation between Takelma and the Kalapuyan languages was first developed by Leo Frachtenberg (1918), who listed 55 lexical correspondences between Takelma and Central Kalapuya.[1] Based on Frachtenberg's observations, Edward Sapir (1921) included both Takelma and Kalapuyan in his extended version of the Penutian "stock", listing them however as individual members without positing a special relationship between the two.[2]

The first explicit proposal for a family comprising only Takelma and Kalapuyan (as member of the Penutian "stock") was made by Morris Swadesh (1965) in a lexicostatistic study, who found a lexical similarity of 48% between Takelma and Kalapuyan,[3] although this figure was based on rather bold assumptions about lexical matches.[4] Shipley (1969) made the first attempt towards establishing regular sound correspondences by strictly applying the comparative method, and listed sixty-five preliminary reconstructions for "Proto-Takelman".[5] Further lexical cognate sets were given by Berman (1988), while Kendall (1997) presented phonological and morphological correspondences.[6][7]


Lyle Campbell (1997) considered the proposed Takelma-Kalapuyan hypothesis "highly likely, if not fully demonstrated", and listed them as a single subgroup in an overview of Native American language families that is otherwise characterized by a very critical stance against wide-range proposals.[8] Takelma-Kalapuyan is also tentatively accepted by Victor Golla (2011).[9]

In an unpublished, but widely cited conference paper, Tarpent and Kendall (1998) critically evaluated the evidence for Takelma-Kalapuyan, and concluded that a grouping which exclusively comprises Takelma and Kalapuyan is not justified, and that features shared between the two have to be assessed in a wider Penutian context (a similar position was taken before by Silverstein (1979)).[10][11] Marianne Mithun (1999) accepts Tarpent and Kendall's findings, but remains sceptical about the validity of the Penutian hypothesis, and therefore lists Takelma as a language isolate and Kalapuyan as a primary language family.[12]

Grant (2002) maintains that even though the relation between Takelma and Kalapuyan is not as close as previously assumed, Tarpent and Kendall's discussion does not invalidate the hypothesis that Takelma and Kalapuyan are "each other's closest genetic relatives", albeit only at an extremely distant level.[13]


The Kalapuyan languages and Takelma were spoken in two discontiguous areas: while Kalapuyan speakers inhabited the Willamette Valley, Takelma speakers lived in the Rogue Valley in the southernmost part of Oregon. Inbetween, the Athabaskan Upper Umpqua language was spoken. This suggests that Takelma was initially spoken in the direct neighborhood of the Kalapuyan area, being separated from the Kalapuyans, and pushed southwards by intruding Athabaskan speakers. Golla (2011) suggests that Takelma replaced an earlier Karuk-like language in the Rogue Valley, based on aeral features shared by Takelma and Karuk. This event is possibly related to archaeological evidence of a transition in the material cultures of the Rogue Valley that occurred around 300 CE, from the "Glade Tradition" to the "Siskiyou Pattern".[14]


Reconstruction ofTakelma–Kalapuyan languages

Proto-Takelma–Kalapuyan ("Proto-Takelman") reconstructions by William Shipley (1969):[15]

no. gloss Proto-Takelman
1 alder *po·ph
2 ant **tipusì·
3 arise *te·p
4 arrive *wok
5 aunt, paternal *thàth
6 bite *ye·kʷ
7 blood *yó·m
8 blow *pho·ł
9 camass *ti·ph
10 cedar *l- -m
11 chipmunk *kʷis
12 climb **hilu, huwil
13 cold *thu·ku(n)
14 cry *tha·k
15 cut *(s)k- -p
16 daughter **peyane
17 dirt *pólo
18 dive *yalk
19 drink *ʔu·kʷit
20 dust *(s)khò·p
21 ek *thkám
22 father *ham
23 father *mà
24 fear *ni·w
25 finish *takh
26 flea *te·wek
27 fly *thkàn(ak)
28 go for *wo·(t)
29 grass **lu·kʷá·y
30 I **kí·
31 know **yokʷhoy
32 left **(s)kày
33 liver *páL
34 long **páLs
35 marry *yo·kʷ
36 mother *ni
37 name *kʷet(éy)
38 neck *pò·kh(t)
39 new *pa(n)lá(w)
40 otter **kʷin
41 owl *thukwal-
42 owl, screech *(t)popó(ph)
43 panther *huLikh
44 path *kʷaL(i), kawL(i)
45 penis *khál
46 pierce *t(w)al
47 push *tuyk
48 rattlesnake *tk- -m
49 red *cil
50 river *kel
51 rock *tá(n)
52 say *naka
53 seek *ʔo·t
54 shout *la(·)law
55 sit *yo·
56 sleep *way(a·)n
57 snail *thpáLith
58 spider *to·m
59 squirrel *poyakh
60 sun **pyan
61 tears *yét
62 this *ha·
63 thou *ma·
64 three **xùpsiní
65 tie *takh(t)
66 two *ka·m(i)
67 uncle, maternal *has
68 wildcat *ya·kʷh(a)
69 yellowjacket **tyał



  1. ^ Frachtenberg (1918).
  2. ^ Sapir (1921), p. 60.
  3. ^ Swadesh (1965).
  4. ^ Mithun (1999), p. 433.
  5. ^ Shipley (1969).
  6. ^ Berman (1988).
  7. ^ Kendall (1997).
  8. ^ Campbell (1997), p. 120.
  9. ^ Golla (2011), p. 129.
  10. ^ Tarpent & Kendall (1998).
  11. ^ Silverstein (1979), pp. 678–679.
  12. ^ Mithun (1999), pp. 432–433, 514.
  13. ^ Grant (2002), pp. 49–50.
  14. ^ Golla (2011), p. 249.
  15. ^ Shipley (1969), pp. 228–230.


  • Berman, Howard (1988). "Jacobs' Kalapuya Material: a Progress Report". In Scott DeLancey (ed.). Papers from the 1988 Hokan-Penutian Languages Workshop. University of Oregon Papers in Linguistics, 1. Eugene: University of Oregon. pp. 1–8.
  • Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Frachtenberg, Leo J. (1918). "Comparative studies in Takelman, Kalapuyan and Chinookan lexicography: a preliminary paper". International Journal of American Linguistics. 1 (2): 175–182. doi:10.1086/463720. JSTOR 1262825. S2CID 144255128.
  • Golla, Victor (2011). California Indian Languages. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520266674. JSTOR 10.1525/j.ctt1ppmrt.
  • Grant, Anthony (2002). "Fabric, Pattern, Shift and Diffusion: What Change in Oregon Penutian Languages Can Tell Historical Linguists". Proceedings of the Meeting of the Hokan-Penutian Workshop, June 17-18, 2000. UC Berkeley: Department of Linguistics. pp. 33–56.
  • Kendall, Daythal (1997). "The Takelma verb: Towards Proto-Takelma-Kalapuyan". International Journal of American Linguistics. 63 (1): 1–17. doi:10.1086/466312. JSTOR 1265863. S2CID 144593968.
  • Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sapir, Edward (1921). "A Characteristic Penutian Form of Stem". International Journal of American Linguistics. 2 (1/2): 58–67. doi:10.1086/463734. JSTOR 1263181. S2CID 143896686.
  • Shipley, William (1969). "Proto-Takelman". International Journal of American Linguistics. 35 (3): 226–30. doi:10.1086/465058. JSTOR 1264690. S2CID 224808147.
  • Silverstein, Michael (1979). "Penutian: an assessment". In Lyle Campbell; Marianne Mithun (eds.). The languages of Native America: historical and comparative assessment. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 650–91.
  • Swadesh, Morris (1965). "Kalapuya and Takelma". International Journal of American Linguistics. 31 (3): 237–40. doi:10.1086/464842. JSTOR 1263898. S2CID 143440867.
  • Tarpent, Marie-Lucie; Kendall, Daythal (1998). On the relationship between Takelma and Kalapuyan: another look at 'Takelman'. Linguistic Society of the America, New York, January 10, 1998.