The Karkin language was spoken on the shores of the Carquinez Strait in the northern San Francisco Bay. Karkin is attested only in a single, short vocabulary recorded by Father Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta in 1821. In pre-contact times, there were approximately 200 speakers of Karkin (Levy 1978).
Karkin (also spelled "Carquin") is an Ohlone (or "Costanoan") language, along with Awaswas, Chalon, Chochenyo, Mutsun, Ramaytush, Rumsen, and Tamyen. The Ohlone languages comprise one branch of the hypothesized Penutian language family, within which they form a subgroup with the Miwokan languages (Central Sierra Miwok, Coast Miwok, Lake Miwok, Northern Sierra Miwok, Plains Miwok, Saclan, and Southern Sierra Miwok). Penutian also includes Klamath-Modoc, the Maiduan languages (Konkow, Maidu, and Nisenan), the Wintuan languages (Nomlaki, Patwin, and Wintu), and the Yokuts languages.
Selected archival materials at Berkeley
- Beeler, M. S. 1961. Northern Costanoan. International Journal of American Linguistics 3:191-197.
- Callaghan, Catherine A. 1988. Karkin revisited. International Journal of American Linguistics 54:436-452.