Wappo language

Wappo is an extinct language that was spoken in the Alexander Valley north of San Francisco by the Wappo Native Americans. The last fluent speaker, Laura Fish Somersal, died in 1990. Wappo's language death is attributed to the use of English in schools and economic situations such as the workplace.[1] Wappo is generally believed to be distantly related to the Yuki language, and is distinct largely due to Pomoan influence.[2]

Wappo
Native toUnited States
RegionAlexander Valley, California
EthnicityWappo people
Extinct1990, with the death of Laura Fish Somersal
Language codes
ISO 639-3wao
Glottologwapp1239
ELPWappo
Wappo language map.png
Pre-contact distribution of the Wappo language
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According to Somersal, the name for the people and language is derived from the Spanish word guapo, meaning "handsome" or "brave".[3] The name for the people was originally Micewal[4] and the Pomoan exonym was Ashochimi ("northeners").[5][6]

Paul Radin published the first texts on Wappo grammar in the 1920s. Jesse O. Sawyer published the "English-Wappo Vocabulary" in 1965 and continued to study Wappo grammar throughout his life. Other linguists who have contributed to the study of Wappo include William E. Elmendorf, Alice Shepherd, Sandra Thompson, Joseph Sung-Yul Park and Charles N. Li.[1]

PhonologyEdit

VowelsEdit

Wappo has five vowel qualities, but the literature is inconsistent as to whether a length distinction exists. In his Wappo lexicon, Sawyer transcribes long vowels, but Thompson et al., who worked with the same speaker, report that they did not hear any long vowels.[3][7]

According to Radin, the following diphthongs occur in Wappo: /ao/, /ai/, /ɛo/, /ɛi/, /ɛu/, /ei/, /ɔi/, /iɛ/, and /ui/.[8]

Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

ConsonantsEdit

The transcription style (bolded symbols below) is based on Sawyer's work with Somersal, with further interpretation by Thompson, Park and Li. Thompson et al. propose that Wappo has three types of stops: plain, aspirated and glottalized. Stops plus /h/ are therefore treated as single aspirated stops.[3] Sawyer notes that /f/, /d/, /g/, /r/ and /rʼ/ are used for Spanish borrowings.[7]

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p [p] t [] [] k [k] ʔ [ʔ]
aspirated [] [t̻ʰ] ṭʰ [t̺ʰ] []
glottalized [] [t̻ʼ] ṭʼ [t̺ʼ] []
Affricate voiceless c [t͡s] č [t͡ʃ]
glottalized [t͡sʼ] čʼ [t͡ʃʼ]
Fricative voiceless s [s] š [ʃ] h [h]
Nasal plain m [m] n [n]
glottalized [] []
Approximant plain w [w] l [l] y [j]
glottalized [] [] []

The above table omits ⟨ch⟩ /cʰ/ [tsʰ] and ⟨čh⟩ /čʰ/ [tʃʰ].

Stress and toneEdit

Wappo word stress is predictable, in that the first syllable of the word stem is stressed. In the examples below, the accent marks stress.

  • méhwa "wild grape vine"
  • kálkuʔ "greyhound"

Wappo does not make distinctions in tone.

Phonological processesEdit

  • Glottal stops are inserted word-initially in words that would otherwise begin with a vowel.
  • If a word stem ends in a vowel and a suffix immediately following the stem begins with a vowel, one of those vowels is elided. In most cases, the vowel at the beginning of the suffix is deleted. For example, čoči-iʔ, which is the root "weave" plus the durative suffix, has the surface representation of čoči?.[3]

MorphologyEdit

NounsEdit

Nouns can be divided into human and non-human classes, which is relevant for pluralization. Human nouns are consistently inflected for plurality, but non-human nouns do not have to be inflected for plurality, even when their reference is in fact plural. For example, onoʔšiʔ-te "Indians" has the plural suffix -te, but mansanaʔi "apples" lacks the suffix.[3]

VerbsEdit

Wappo also has rich inflectional and derivational morphology in its verb phrases. There are five categories of tense or aspect: habitual/progressive, stative, past, inchoative and future. Each verb root takes at least two forms to which suffixes are added. The form used depends on the tense. The forms themselves are determined by the verb's semantic class, which is basically determined by the habitual/progressive suffix used. Specific suffixes result in changes to the verb stem, for example, -lik- is added to the root of verbs occurring with the rare imperative suffix -laʔ. This occurs in the imperative for "sleep", in which the stem is changed from hinto- to hintolik-. Epenthesis also occurs in certain situations, depending on the form of the root and the suffix added.[3]

Thompson et al. provide the following examples of tense/aspect categories. The relevant forms are bolded, and all of the forms follow Sawyer's transcription style.

Category Suffix(es) Wappo example English translation
Habitual/progressive 13 different forms exist ah yekhe k'el-iʔ "I eat acorn mush"
Stative -khiʔ i-meʔ c'ic'-i čhoʔel-khiʔ "my bird has died"
Past -taʔ ah leʔa mey-ocow el-taʔ "I dug many swamp-roots"
Inchoative -iš and -eš ah yomtoʔ-iš-khiʔ "I've become a doctor"
Future -ya:miʔ (more certain) and -siʔ (less certain) miʔ may' ohk'eč'e-siʔ "[be careful-] you'll cut yourself"

Negatives are marked by the suffix lahkhiʔ.

paʔ

eat

-ta

-PST

-lahkhiʔ

-NEG

paʔ -ta -lahkhiʔ

eat -PST -NEG

"did not eat"

ah

1SG:NOM

te

3SG

oyaʔ

pot

keʔ

break

-

-

tis

CAUS

-

-

ta

PST

-

-

lahkhiʔ

NEG

ah te oyaʔ keʔ - tis - ta - lahkhiʔ

1SG:NOM 3SG pot break - CAUS - PST - NEG

"I didn’t make him/her break the pot"

Prefixes are also added to verb phrases. There are speaker-oriented directional prefixes which are grouped into two classes, depending on whether the motion of the verb is directed at or away from the speaker. In narrative contexts, the direction may refer to a character. For example, two directional prefixes are ma- "away from speaker" and te- "toward speaker". Non-speaker-oriented directional prefixes include ho-, meaning "around" and pi-, meaning "accidentally". Wappo also includes pre-verbal desiderative and optative mood particles. The desiderative particle, k'ah, is used to indicate that the speaker wishes something were true. The optative particle, keye, is translated as "could", "can", or "should".

SyntaxEdit

Word orderEdit

Wappo has a predicate-final word order.

cephi

3SG:NOM

onoʔšiʔ

Indian

okel

language

haṭel

learn

-

-

khiʔ

STAT

cephi onoʔšiʔ okel haṭel - khiʔ

3SG:NOM Indian language learn - STAT

"s/he's learning Indian language"

Patient-initial structures are acceptable, albeit less common.

ce

DEM

ew

fish

ce

DEM

k'ew

man

-

-

i

NOM

t'um

buy

-

-

taʔ

PST

ce ew ce k'ew - i t'um - taʔ

DEM fish DEM man - NOM buy - PST

"that fish, the man bought (it)"

Wappo allows for more freedom in word order in complement clauses, especially when they have first person subjects. All three sentences below are acceptable translations of "I know that the man caught a fish".

ah

1SG:NOM

ce

DEM

k'ew

man

ew

fish

ṭ'oh

catch

-

-

taʔ

PST

haṭis

know

-

-

khiʔ

STAT

ah ce k'ew ew ṭ'oh - taʔ haṭis - khiʔ

1SG:NOM DEM man fish catch - PST know - STAT

ah

1SG:NOM

haṭis

know

-

-

khiʔ

STAT

ce

DEM

k'ew

man

ew

fish

ṭ'oh

catch

-

-

taʔ

PST

ah haṭis - khiʔ ce k'ew ew ṭ'oh - taʔ

1SG:NOM know - STAT DEM man fish catch - PST

ce

DEM

k'ew

man

ew

fish

ṭ'oh

catch

-

-

taʔ

PST

ah

1SG:NOM

haṭis

know

-

-

khiʔ

STAT

ce k'ew ew ṭ'oh - taʔ ah haṭis - khiʔ

DEM man fish catch - PST 1SG:NOM know - STAT

In noun phrases, demonstrative and genitive modifiers precede the noun, while numerals and adjectives follow the noun.

he

DEM

tonči

cat

he tonči

DEM cat

"this cat"

te

3SG

-

-

meʔ

GEN

č'ešma

bed

te - meʔ č'ešma

3SG - GEN bed

"his/her bed"

hinta

day

hopoka

three

ah

1SG:NOM

k'ešu

deer

mehlahi

hunt

-

-

khiʔ

STAT

hinta hopoka ah k'ešu mehlahi - khiʔ

day three 1SG:NOM deer hunt - STAT

"for three days, I was hunting"

In verb phrases, oblique arguments and adverbs come before the verb.

ah

1SG:NOM

kaphe

coffee

kawaču

sugar

-

-

k'a

COM

hak'

want

-

-

šeʔ

DUR

ah kaphe kawaču - k'a hak' - šeʔ

1SG:NOM coffee sugar - COM want - DUR

"I want coffee with sugar in it"[3]

Case systemEdit

Wappo has a rich case system which uses suffixes to mark cases. In the examples below, the words relevant to the case being discussed are in boldface.

The accusative case is unmarked. Patients, arguments of transitive verbs that are patient-like, all subjects in dependent clauses and single arguments in copulas take the accusative case.

ce

DEM

k'ew

man

ceʔeʔ

COP

i

1SG

ek'a

 

ce k'ew ceʔeʔ i ek'a

DEM man COP 1SG

"that man is my son" Mismatch in the number of words between lines: 5 word(s) in line 1, 4 word(s) in line 2 (help);

The nominative case is marked with the suffix -i. Words functioning as initiators, agents, experiencers of transitive verbs and the single argument of an intransitive verb take the nominative case. If the noun stem to which this suffix is added happens to ends with a vowel, the stem-final vowel is dropped or changed. Otherwise, adding the nominative suffix does not change the stem. The examples below illustrate the contrast.

  • pol'eʔ "boy" → pol'eʔi "boys"
  • k'ešu "deer (singular)" → k'eši "deer (plural)"

The dative case, which is used to indicate the recipient or direction, is marked with -thu.

chic

bear

-i

-NOM

i

1SG

-thu

-DAT

te-

DIR-

laha

come

-khiʔ

-STAT

chic -i i -thu te- laha -khiʔ

bear -NOM 1SG -DAT DIR- come -STAT

"the bear is coming toward me"

The benefactive case is marked with -ma. It is used to mark whom the action benefits.

may-

who-

ma

BENEF

miʔ

2SG:NOM

ce

DEM

takaʔ

basket

mes-taʔ

make-PST

may- ma miʔ ce takaʔ mes-taʔ

who- BENEF 2SG:NOM DEM basket make-PST

"who did you make that basket for?"

The instrumental case, used with intensive reflexives and instruments, is marked with -thiʔ.

cephi

3SG:NOM

kuči:ya

knife

-

-

thiʔ

INST

chica

bear

ṭ'oh

kill

-

-

taʔ

PST

cephi kuči:ya - thiʔ chica ṭ'oh - taʔ

3SG:NOM knife - INST bear kill - PST

"s/he killed the bear with a knife"

The comitative case is marked with -k'a and is used to indicate accompaniment.

ah

1SG:NOM

mi

2SG

-k'a

-COM

čo:

go

-siʔ

-FUT

ah mi -k'a čo: -siʔ

1SG:NOM 2SG -COM go -FUT

"I’ll go with you"

The genitive case is marked with -meʔ. It can only be used in constructions with alienable possession. (Inalienable possession is expressed through the juxtaposition of the two relevant nouns.)

i

1SG

-

-

meʔ

GEN

luč

tobacco

-

-

i

NOM

lakhiʔ

missing

i - meʔ luč - i lakhiʔ

1SG - GEN tobacco - NOM missing

"I don’t have any cigarettes"

Wappo also has a locative case, which is marked with suffixes such as -pi "away from" and -cawoh "on top of".

thal

what

-i

-NOM

čhuya

house

-cawoh

-on:top

te-

DIR-

cewte

fall

-khiʔ

-STAT

thal -i čhuya -cawoh te- cewte -khiʔ

what -NOM house -on:top DIR- fall -STAT

"what fell on the roof?" [3]

QuestionsEdit

Yes-no questionsEdit

To mark yes-no questions, a question particle, /hVʔ/, is added after the verb. It does not have to directly follow the verb. The particle's vowel harmonizes with the vowel that precedes it. In all of the examples blow, the question word is glossed as "Q" and is also in boldface.

uh

already

miʔ

2SG:NOM

c'ey

finish

-

-

taʔ

PST

haʔ

Q

uh miʔ c'ey - taʔ haʔ

already 2SG:NOM finish - PST Q

"have you finished already?

miʔ

2SG:NOM

i

1SG

hak'

like

-šeʔ

-DUR

heʔ

Q

miʔ i hak' -šeʔ heʔ

2SG:NOM 1SG like -DUR Q

"do you like me?"

te

3SG

ceʔ

COP

mi

2SG

ek'a

son

haʔ

Q

te ceʔ mi ek'a haʔ

3SG COP 2SG son Q

"is he your son?"

The particle is usually at the end of the sentence, but as the example below demonstrates, it is not always sentence-final. Its location depends on the composition of the verb phrase.

luče

tobacco

neʔ

have

-

-

khiʔ

STAT

hiʔ

Q

miʔ

2SG:NOM

luče neʔ - khiʔ hiʔ miʔ

tobacco have - STAT Q 2SG:NOM

"do you have any cigarettes?"

Question-word questionsEdit

Question words are usually located clause-initially.

iṭa

where

miʔ

2SG:NOM

i

1SG

yok'

sit

-okh

-INF

hak'

want

-šeʔ

-DUR

iṭa miʔ i yok' -okh hak' -šeʔ

where 2SG:NOM 1SG sit -INF want -DUR

"where do you want me to sit?"

Question words can also get case inflection, except in cases of inalienable possession, where no suffix is added.

may

who

-i

-NOM

oyok'

win

-eʔ

-DUR

may -i oyok' -eʔ

who -NOM win -DUR

"who’s winning?"

thal

what

-i

-NOM

čhuya

house

-cawote-

-on:top-DIR-

cewte

fall

-khiʔ

-STAT

thal -i čhuya -cawote- cewte -khiʔ

what -NOM house -on:top-DIR- fall -STAT

"what fell on the roof?"

Question words can also be used as indefinite pronouns.

cephi

3SG:NOM

thal

what

t'um'i

go:buy

-

-

khiʔ

STAT

cephi thal t'um'i - khiʔ

3SG:NOM what go:buy - STAT

"s/he went to buy something"

may

who

-i

-NOM

i

1SG

naw-

see

ta

-PST-

-lahkhiʔ

NEG

may -i i naw- ta -lahkhiʔ

who -NOM 1SG see -PST- NEG

"nobody saw me"[3]

Language contact and influenceEdit

Language contact with Spanish has influenced Wappo's sound structure and vocabulary. As listed above in the consonant section, /f/, /d/, /g/, /r/ and /rʼ/ are used for Spanish borrowings. Many of the first words borrowed from Spanish into Wappo referred to items that were traded. In some cases, words may have been borrowed from other American Indian languages in contact with Spanish, rather than directly from Spanish. Below are two examples of borrowings from Spanish.

  • čičaloʔ "pea" was borrowed from chícharo
  • háros "rice" was borrowed from arroz[1]

While contact with English has not greatly influenced Wappo's lexicon, it has influenced its syntax. Thompson et al. cite the sentences below as examples of an expanded use of the benefactive case that could have arisen from contact with English.

kaphe

coffee

-

-

ma

BENEF

ah

1SG:NOM

mey

water

k'o

boil

-

-

taʔ

PST

kaphe - ma ah mey k'o - taʔ

coffee - BENEF 1SG:NOM water boil - PST

"I boiled water for coffee"

[he

DEM

takaʔ

basket

-i]

-NOM

i

1SG

-ma

-BENEF

eniya

very

c'iti

hard

-khi?

-STAT

[čoč

weave

-ukh]

-INF

[he takaʔ -i] i -ma eniya c'iti -khi? [čoč -ukh]

DEM basket -NOM 1SG -BENEF very hard -STAT weave -INF

"this basket was very hard for me to make"

While Wappo has a predicate-final structure, question words are clause-initial in most cases. This is unexpected, and possibly resulting from English influence.

may

who

miʔ

2SG:NOM

naw

see

-taʔ

-PST

may miʔ naw -taʔ

who 2SG:NOM see -PST

"who did you see?"

In another potential example of English influence, the word neʔ-khiʔ "have" is used in deontic expressions, and its meaning is adapted as "have to".

ah

1SG:NOM

čoh

go

-ukh

-INF

neʔ

have

-khiʔ

-STAT

maʔa

just

heʔ

now

ah čoh -ukh neʔ -khiʔ maʔa heʔ

1SG:NOM go -INF have -STAT just now

"I have to go right now"[3]

Regional variationEdit

Wappo had 5 varieties:

  • Clear Lake Wappo
  • Russian River Wappo (AKA Western Wappo)
  • Northern Wappo
  • Central Wappo
  • Southern Wappo

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Sawyer, Jesse O., "Wappo studies" (1984). Survey Reports. Report #7.
  2. ^ Golla, Victor (2011). California Indian Languages. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26667-4.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Thompson, Sandra A.; Park, Joseph Sung-Yul; Li, Charles N. (2006). A Reference Grammar of Wappo. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-09854-1.
  4. ^ Loeb, E. M. (1932). The Western Kuksu Cult (PDF). University of California Press. p. 106. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-12-06.
  5. ^ Kroeber, A. L. (1925). Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology. p. 219. hdl:2027/mdp.39015006584174.
  6. ^ Powers, Stephen; Powell, John Wesley (1877). Tribes of California. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  7. ^ a b Sawyer, Jesse O., "English-Wappo Vocabulary" (Aug 25, 1965). UC Publications in Linguistics. Paper vol_43.
  8. ^ Radin, Paul. 1929. A grammar of the Wappo language. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 27:1-194.

BENEF:benefactive case DIR:directional prefixes

BibliographyEdit

  • Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages The Historical Linguistics of Native America. New York : Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509427-5.
  • Sturtevant, William C.; Goddard, Ives (1996). Handbook of North American Indians Languages. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-16-048774-3.
  • Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. New York : Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-23228-9.
  • Powers, Stephen; Powell, John Wesley (1877). Tribes of California. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Radin, Paul. 1929. A grammar of the Wappo language. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 27:1-194.
  • Sawyer, Jesse O., English-Wappo Vocabulary (Aug 25, 1965). UC Publications in Linguistics. Paper vol. 43.
  • Sawyer, Jesse O., "Wappo studies" (1984). Survey Reports. Report #7.
  • Sturtevant, William C. (Ed.). (1978–present). Handbook of North American Indians (Vol. 1-20). Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution. (Vols. 1-3, 16, 18-20 not yet published).
  • Thompson, Sandra A.; Park, Joseph Sung-Yul; Li, Charles N. (2006). A Reference Grammar of Wappo. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-09854-1.

External linksEdit