The Serrano language was traditionally spoken in the San Bernadino Mountains and the adjacent regions of the Mojave Desert. (Vanyume, a related language, was spoken to the north.) In pre-contact times, there were probably no more than 1500 speakers of Serrano (Kroeber 1925). Today, there is only one first-language speaker (Golla 2011).
Serrano is a member of the Takic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Within Takic, it is most closely related to Cahuilla, Cupeño, and Luiseño, and more distantly to Gabrielino, Kitanemuk, 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
- Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Hill, Kenneth. 1967. A grammar of the Serrano language. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
- Ramón, Dorothy and Eric Elliott. 2000. Wayta' yawa' (Always believe). Banning, CA: Malki Museum Press.