The traditional Juaneño language area is on the San Juan Creek (in what is now Orange County). In pre-contact times, there were perhaps 1,000 speakers of Juaneño (Kroeber 1925). In the 21st century, there are no first-language speakers (Golla 2011).
Juaneño 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
- Bright, William. Preliminary Juaneño vocabulary.
- Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Hill, Jane H and Hill, Kenneth C. 2019. Comparative Takic Grammar. UC Berkeley Survey Reports, Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. [PDF]