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
- 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.