Modoc is the southern variety of a language sometimes called Klamath-Modoc, whose northern variety (spoken in Oregon) is called Klamath. Modoc was spoken immediately east of the Cascades, to the south and east of Klamath Falls at Lower Klamath and Tule Lake, and along the Lost River. In pre-contact times, there may have been 600-700 speakers (Kroeber 1925). Today, there are no first-language speakers (Golla 2011).
Klamath-Modoc is a member of the hypothesized Penutian language family. This includes, in addition, the Maiduan languages (Konkow, Maidu, and Nisenan), the Miwokan languages (Central Sierra Miwok, Coast Miwok, Lake Miwok, Northern Sierra Miwok, Plains Miwok, Saclan, and Southern Sierra Miwok), the Ohlone languages (Awaswas, Chalon, Chochenyo, Karkin, Mutsun, Ramaytush, Rumsen, and Tamyen), the Wintuan languages (Nomlaki, Patwin, and Wintu), and the Yokuts languages.
Selected archival materials at Berkeley
- Barker, M. A. R. 1963. Klamath dictionary. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Barker, M. A. R. 1963. Klamath texts. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Barker, M. A. R. 1964. Klamath grammar. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Gatschet, Albert Samuel. 1890. The Klamath Indians of southwestern Oregon. 2 vols. Washington: Government Printing Office. [Vol. 1: Part I PDF, Part II PDF; Vol. 2: Part I PDF, Part II PDF]
- Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.