The traditional Atsugewi language area is south of the Pit River, along Hat Creek to the west and in Dixie Valley to the east. In pre-contact times, there were approximately 3,000 speakers of Atsugewi and Achumawi combined (Kroeber 1925). In the 21st century, there are no first-language speakers (Golla 2011).

Atsugewi and the closely related Achumawi language constitute the Palaihnihan family, a branch of the hypothesized Hokan language family, which also includes Chimariko, Esselen, Karuk, the Pomoan languages (Central Pomo, Eastern Pomo, Kashaya, Northeastern Pomo, Northern Pomo, Southeastern Pomo, and Southern Pomo), Salinan, the Shastan languages (Konomihu, New River Shasta, Okwanuchu, and Shasta), Washo, Yana, and the Yuman languages (Cocopa, Kiliwa, Kumeyaay, Maricopa, Mojave, Pai, Paipai, and Quechan).

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Selected materials in other archives

Further reading

  • Garth, T. R. 1978. Atsugewi. In William C. Sturtevant (ed.) Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 8, California: 236-243. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Olmsted, D. L. 1984. A lexicon of Atsugewi. (Survey Reports, Report 5.) Berkeley: Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, University of California, Berkeley. [PDF]
  • Nevin, Bruce Edwin. 2019. Why Proto-Palaihnihan is Neither. Preprint. [PDF - may not be publicly available]
  • Talmy, Leonard. 1972. Semantic structures in English and Atsugewi. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. [PDF]