The Kitanemuk language was traditionally spoken in the Tehachapi Pass area and in the western Mojave Desert. In pre-contact times, there were approximately 500 to 1000 speakers (Blackburn and Bean 1978). Today, there are no first-language speakers (Golla 2011).

Kitanemuk is a member of the Takic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Within Takic, it is related to Cahuilla, Cupeño, Gabrielino, Juaneño, Luiseño, Serrano, and Tataviam. The other Uto-Aztecan languages of California are Tubatulabal and the Numic languages (Chemehuevi-Southern Paiute-Ute, Comanche, Kawaiisu, Mono, Northern Paiute, Panamint, and Shoshone).

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Further reading

  • Anderton, Alice. 1988. The language of the Kitanemuks of California. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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.