Timbisha language

Last updated
Timbisha
Panamint
Nümü nangkawih, Sosoni nangkawih
Native to United States
Region California, Nevada
Ethnicity100 Timbisha (1998) [1]
Native speakers
20 (2007) [1]
Uto-Aztecan
  • Numic
    • Central Numic
      • Timbisha
Language codes
ISO 639-3 par
Glottolog pana1305
ELP Panamint
Lang Status 20-CR.svg
Panamint is classified as Critically Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
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.

Timbisha (Tümpisa) or Panamint (also called Koso) is the language of the Native American people who have inhabited the region in and around Death Valley, California, and the southern Owens Valley since late prehistoric times. There are a few elderly individuals who can speak the language in California and Nevada, but none is monolingual, and all use English regularly in their daily lives. Until the late 20th century, the people called themselves and their language "Shoshone." The tribe then achieved federal recognition under the name Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone Band of California. This is an Anglicized spelling of the native name of Death Valley, tümpisa, pronounced [tɨmbiʃa] , which means "rock paint" and refers to the rich sources of red ochre in the valley. Timbisha is also the language of the so-called "Shoshone" groups at Bishop, Big Pine, Darwin, Independence, and Lone Pine communities in California and the Beatty community in Nevada. It was also the language spoken at the former Indian Ranch reservation in Panamint Valley.

Contents

Classification

Timbisha is one of the Central Numic languages of the Numic branch of Uto-Aztecan. It is most closely related to Shoshoni and Comanche.

Geographic distribution

Timbisha was formerly spoken in the region between the Sierra Nevada mountains of eastern California and the region just to the east of Death Valley in Nevada. Principal valleys where villages were located were (from west to east) Owens Valley, Indian Wells Valley, Saline Valley, Panamint Valley, and Death Valley. In addition, there were villages along the southern slopes of the Kawich Range in Nevada.

Dialects

Each valley had its own variety of Timbisha with mostly lexical differences between them. There was, however, a general loss of h as one moved west across Timbisha territory with h virtually gone in Owens Valley varieties. McLaughlin's grammar is based on the far eastern variety from Beatty, Nevada, [2] while Dayley's is based on a central variety from Death Valley. [3]

Phonology

Vowels

Timbisha also has a typical Numic vowel inventory of five vowels. In addition, there is the common diphthong ai, which varies rather freely with e, although certain morphemes always contain ai and others always contain e. (The official orthography is shown in parentheses.)

front central back
High i ɨ ü u
Non-High a o
Diphthong aiai, e

Consonants

Timbisha has a typical Numic consonant inventory. (The official orthography is shown in parentheses.):

Bilabial Coronal Palatal Velar Glottal
plain labial.
Nasal m n ŋ ng ŋʷ ngw
Plosive p t k ʔ
Affricate ts
Fricative s h
Semivowel j y w

Phonotactics

Timbisha stops (including the affricate) and nasals are voiced and lenited between vowels, are voiced in nasal-stop clusters, and are lenited (but not voiced) following h.

Voiceless vowels are less common in Timbisha than in Shoshoni and Comanche.

Writing system

Timbisha spelling is based on Dayley [3] [4] and uses the Roman alphabet. Ü is used for ɨ and ng for ŋ.

Grammar

Study of Timbisha has been carried on by Jon Dayley and John McLaughlin, both of whom wrote grammatical descriptions. [3] [2] [5] Dayley has published a dictionary. [4]

Word order and case marking

Timbisha word order is usually SOV as in:

taipo

white-man

kinni'a

falcon

punittai

saw

taipo kinni'a punittai

white-man falcon saw

"The white man saw a falcon"

The accusative case and possessive case are marked with suffixes. Adverbial relationships are marked with postpositions on nouns as well as with true adverbs. For example:

kahni-pa'a

house-on

kahni-pa'a

house-on

"on the house"

Adjectives are usually prefixed to the nouns they modify, unless the relationship is temporary when they are independent words with special suffixes. Compare tosa-kapayu, 'white-horse', "palomino or other pale-colored breed" and tosapihtü kapayu, 'white/pale horse', "white or pale horse" (who happens to be white or pale, but whose siblings may be any color).

Verbs

Verbs are marked for grammatical aspect with suffixes. Valence is marked with both prefixes and suffixes. Some common intransitive verbs have suppletive forms for singular or plural subjects and some common transitive verbs have suppletive forms for singular or plural objects. Otherwise, there is no grammatical agreement marked by the verb.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paiute</span> Index of articles associated with the same name

Paiute refers to three non-contiguous groups of indigenous peoples of the Great Basin. Although their languages are related within the Numic group of Uto-Aztecan languages, these three languages do not form a single subgroup and they are no more closely related to each than they are to the Central Numic languages which are spoken between them. The term "Paiute" does not refer to a single, unique, unified group of Great Basin tribes, but is a historical label comprising:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shoshoni language</span> Uto-Aztecan language spoken in western US

Shoshoni, also written as Shoshoni-Gosiute and Shoshone, is a Numic language of the Uto-Aztecan family, spoken in the Western United States by the Shoshone people. Shoshoni is primarily spoken in the Great Basin, in areas of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and Idaho.

The Shoshone or Shoshoni are a Native American tribe with four large cultural/linguistic divisions:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Washo language</span> Indigenous language isolate spoken in the Western United States

Washo is an endangered Native American language isolate spoken by the Washo on the California–Nevada border in the drainages of the Truckee and Carson Rivers, especially around Lake Tahoe. While there are only 20 elderly native speakers of Washo, since 1994 there has been a small immersion school that has produced a number of moderately fluent younger speakers. The immersion school has since closed its doors and the language program now operates through the Cultural Resource Department for the Washoe Tribe. The language is still very much endangered; however, there has been a renaissance in the language revitalization movement as many of the students who attended the original immersion school have become teachers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin</span> Cultural classification of Native Americans

The Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin are Native Americans of the northern Great Basin, Snake River Plain, and upper Colorado River basin. The "Great Basin" is a cultural classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas and a cultural region located between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, in what is now Nevada, and parts of Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. The Great Basin region at the time of European contact was ~400,000 sq mi (1,000,000 km2). There is very little precipitation in the Great Basin area which affects the lifestyles and cultures of the inhabitants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saline Valley</span> Valley in Mojave Desert, California

Saline Valley is a large, deep, and arid graben, about 27 miles (43 km) in length, in the northern Mojave Desert of California, a narrow, northwest–southeast-trending tectonic sink defined by fault-block mountains. Most of it became a part of Death Valley National Park when the park was expanded in 1994. This area had previously been administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It is located northwest of Death Valley proper, south of Eureka Valley, and east of the Owens Valley. The valley's lowest elevations are about 1,000 ft (300 m) and it lies in the rain shadow of the 14,000 ft (4,300 m) Sierra Nevada range, plus the 11,000 ft (3,400 m) Inyo Mountains bordering the valley on the west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uto-Aztecan languages</span> North American language family

Uto-Aztecan, Uto-Aztekan or Uto-Nahuatl is a family of indigenous languages of the Americas, consisting of over thirty languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico. The name of the language family was created to show that it includes both the Ute language of Utah and the Nahuan languages of Mexico.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Numic languages</span> Uto-Aztecan language branch of US

Numic is the northernmost branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It includes seven languages spoken by Native American peoples traditionally living in the Great Basin, Colorado River basin, Snake River basin, and southern Great Plains. The word Numic comes from the cognate word in all Numic languages for “person”, which reconstructs to Proto-Numic as. For example, in the three Central Numic languages and the two Western Numic languages it is. In Kawaiisu it is and in Colorado River, and.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western Shoshone</span> Grouping of Shoshone tribes in the Great Basin

Western Shoshone comprise several Shoshone tribes that are indigenous to the Great Basin and have lands identified in the Treaty of Ruby Valley 1863. They resided in Idaho, Nevada, California, and Utah. The tribes are very closely related culturally to the Paiute, Goshute, Bannock, Ute, and Timbisha tribes.

The Big Pine Band of Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Indians of the Big Pine Reservation are a federally recognized tribe of Mono and Timbisha Indians in California.

Coso Hot Springs is a hot spring complex in the Coso Volcanic Field in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County, California. The Springs are on the National Register of Historic Places.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Comanche language</span> Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Comanche people in the United States

Comanche is a Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Comanche people, who split from the Shoshone people soon after the Comanche had acquired horses around 1705. The Comanche language and the Shoshoni language are therefore quite similar, but certain consonant changes in Comanche have inhibited mutual intelligibility.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kawaiisu</span> Native Californian ethnic group

The Kawaiisu are a Native Californian ethnic group in the United States who live in the Tehachapi Valley and to the north across the Tehachapi Pass in the southern Sierra Nevada, toward Lake Isabella and Walker Pass. Historically, the Kawaiisu also traveled eastward on food-gathering trips to areas in the northern Mojave Desert, to the north and northeast of the Antelope Valley, Searles Valley, as far east as the Panamint Valley, the Panamint Mountains, and the western edge of Death Valley. Today, some Kawaiisu people are enrolled in the Tule River Indian Tribe.

The Timbisha are a Native American tribe federally recognized as the Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone Band of California. They are known as the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe and are located in south central California, near the Nevada border. As of the 2010 Census the population of the Village was 124. The older members still speak the ancestral language, also called Timbisha.

Western Shoshone traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Western Shoshone people of eastern California and western Nevada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bishop Paiute Tribe</span> Indian tribe in California, United States

The Bishop Paiute Tribe, formerly known as the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony is a federally recognized tribe of Mono and Timbisha Indians of the Owens Valley, in Inyo County of eastern California. As of the 2010 Census the population was 1,588.

The Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Lone Pine Community of the Lone Pine Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Mono and Timbisha Native American Indians near Lone Pine in Inyo County, California. They are related to the Owens Valley Paiute.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ute dialect</span> Colorado River Numic dialect used in the US

Ute is a dialect of the Colorado River Numic language, spoken by the Ute people. Speakers primarily live on three reservations: Uintah-Ouray in northeastern Utah, Southern Ute in southwestern Colorado, and Ute Mountain in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. Ute is part of the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Other dialects in this dialect chain are Chemehuevi and Southern Paiute. As of 2010, there were 1,640 speakers combined of all three dialects Colorado River Numic. Ute's parent language, Colorado River Numic, is classified as a threatened language, although there are tribally-sponsored language revitalization programs for the dialect.

The cessative aspect or terminative aspect is a grammatical aspect referring to the end of an action or a state. It is the opposite of the inchoative aspect and conveys the idea of "to stop doing something" or "to finish doing something".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coso Peak</span> Mountain in California, United States

Coso Peak is the highest summit in the Coso Range, a small mountain range east of the Sierra Nevada, in Inyo County in the U.S. state of California. The peak has an elevation of 8,157 feet and a topographic prominence of 2,489 ft (759 m), making it the 88th most prominent mountain in California.

References

  1. 1 2 Timbisha at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. 1 2 McLaughlin, John E. (1987). Panamint Phonology and Morphology. University of Kansas PhD dissertation.
  3. 1 2 3 Dayley, Jon P. (1989). "Tümpisa (Panamint) Shoshone Grammar". University of California Publications in Linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press. 115.
  4. 1 2 Dayley, Jon P. (1989). "Tümpisa (Panamint) Shoshone Dictionary". University of California Publications in Linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press. 116.
  5. McLaughlin, John E. (2006). Timbisha (Panamint). Languages of the world/materials 453. Munich: LINCOM Europa.