Wukchumni dialect

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Wukchumni (Wikchamni) is a dialect of Tule-Kaweah Yokuts that was historically spoken by the Wukchumni people of the east fork of the Kaweah River of California.

Native speakers
1 [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Marie Wilcox in 2016

Marie Wilcox, born 1933, is currently the only remaining native speaker of the language.[2][3]


The following tables are based on Gamble (1978).[4]


Bilabial Dental/
Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t ʈ k ʔ
aspirated ʈʰ
ejective ʈʼ
Affricate voiceless t͡ʃ
aspirated t͡ʃʰ
ejective t͡ʃʼ
Fricative s ʃ x h
Nasal plain m n ŋ
glottalized ŋˀ
Approximant plain w l j

Allophones of /ʃ, x/ include [ʒ̊, xʷ].


Front Central Back
Close i iː ɨ̹ ɨ̹ː u uː
Mid e eː ə̹ ə̹ː o oː
Open a aː

A long vowel /eː/ can be lowered to [æː] when occurring before an /n/. The central vowels /ɨ/ and /ə/ are partially rounded.

All phonetic short vowel allophones include [ɪ], [ɛ], [ɨ̞], [ɜ], [ʌ], [o̞], [ʊ].


Wukchumni is categorized as 8a or "moribund" on the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale.[5][6]

Revitalization effortsEdit

In the early 2000s, Marie Wilcox, aided by her daughter Jennifer Malone, began compiling a Wukchumni dictionary.

Wilcox and Malone currently hold classes teaching beginner and intermediate Wukchumni to interested tribal members.[7][8]

Efforts to revive Wukchumni have additionally been organized through the Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program.[6]

Possibility of more native speakersEdit

Destiny Treglown, Marie Wilcox's great-granddaughter is raising her child, Oliver, as a Wukchumni speaker. If Oliver reaches fluency, Oliver will become the only other native speaker of the language and the first in four generations.[9][10]


  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl1O1Fmb2uE
  2. ^ Society, National Geographic (2017-06-23). "Recording a Dying Language". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  3. ^ Gilpin, Caroline Crosson (2018-03-22). "Teaching With: 'Who Speaks Wukchumni?'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  4. ^ Gamble, Geoffrey (1978). Wikchamni Grammar. Berkeley: Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.: University of California Publications in Linguistics, 89.
  5. ^ "Language Status". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  6. ^ a b Riley, Elise A. (2016). "Language Revitalization Practices in Indigenous Communities of the U.S." Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "Tulare County Nüümü Yadoha Program". Owens Valley Career Development Center.
  8. ^ "Keeping Native American languages alive: In "Marie's Dictionary," Wukchumni lives on". Salon. 2018-04-20. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  9. ^ "Language Keepers". Emergence Magazine. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  10. ^ Wukchumni: Four Generations, retrieved 2019-08-30

External linksEdit