The Barbareño language was traditionally spoken along the Pacific coast from Point Conception to Rincon Point (along the Santa Barbara Channel). During the mission period, Barabareño was spoken at Mission Santa Barbara. A variety of Barabreño called Emigdiano, which was heavily influenced by Buena Vista Yokuts was spoken at San Emigdio near Buena Vista Lake, though it is attested solely in place names (Beeler and Klar 1977). Based on archaeological evidence and the testimony of early observers, it has been estimated that speakers of all Chumashan languages together numbered between 10,700 and 17,250 in pre-contact times (King 1969). Today, there are no first-language speakers of any Chumashan language.

Map of the Chumashan languages
Map of the Chumashan languages (Robert F. Heizer, ed. 1978. California. (Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 8.) Washington: Smithsonian Institute.)

Barbareño is a member of the Chumashan language family; the others are Ineseño, Interior Chumash, Island Chumash, Obispeño, Purisimeño, and Ventureño.

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Further reading

  • Applegate, Richard B. 2015. Integrated Dictionary of Shmuwich -- Barbareño Chumash. Manuscript. [PDF]
  • Applegate, Richard B. 2017. Topics in Shuwich Grammar: An Interim Grammar of Barbareño Chumash. Manuscript. [PDF for printing], [PDF for iBook]
  • Beeler, Madison S. 1976. Barbareño Chumash grammar: A farrago. In Langdon, Margaret and Shirley Silver, eds. Hokan studies: Papers from the First Conference on Hokan Languages held in San Diego, California, April 23-25, 1970, pp. 251-270. (Janua Linguarum, Volume 181.) The Hague: Mouton.
  • Beeler, Madison S. 1978. Barbareño Chumash text and lexicon. In Mohammad Ali Jazayeri, Edgar C. Polomé, and Werner Winter, eds. Linguistic and literary studies in honor of Archibald A. Hill, II: Descriptive linguistics, pp. 171-193. Lisse: de Ridder.
  • Beeler, Madison S. and Kathryn A. Klar. 1977. Interior Chumash. Journal of California Anthropology 4:287-305. [PDF]
  • Heizer R. F., ed. 1952. California Indian linguistic records: The Mission Indian vocabularies of Alphonse Pinart. University of California Anthropological Records 15:1-84. [PDF]
  • Heizer, R.F., ed. 1955. California Indian linguistic records: The Mission Indian vocabularies of H. W. Henshaw. University of California Anthropological Records 15:85-202. [PDF]
  • Wash, Suzanne M. 1995. Productive reduplication in Barbareño Chumash. Master's thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara. [PDF]
  • Wash, Suzanne. 2001. Adverbial clauses in Barbareño Chumash narrative discourse. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara. [PDF]


We acknowledge with respect the Ohlone people on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded land we work and whose historical relationships with that land continue to this day.