The Kashaya language was traditionally spoken along the Pacific coast from north of Bodega Bay to Stewart's Point and Annapolis. In pre-contact times, the Pomoan languages together probably had around 8000 speakers (Kroeber 1925). Today, there are several dozen speakers of Kashaya (Golla 2011).

Map of the Pomoan languages
Map of the Pomoan languages (Barrett 1908)

Kashaya (or "Kashia", also called "Southwestern Pomo") is one of seven languages comprising the Pomoan language family; the others are Central Pomo, Eastern Pomo, Northeastern Pomo, Northern Pomo, Southeastern Pomo, and Southern Pomo. Together, the Pomoan languages form one branch of the hypothesized Hokan language family, the other members of which are Chimariko, Esselen, Karuk, the Palaihnihan languages (Achumawi and Atsugewi), 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).

Grammatical information

Thumbnail sketch of Kashaya by Robert L. Oswalt, April 1962 [PDF] (Haas.063)

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Further reading

  • Barrett, S. A. 1908. The ethno-geography of the Pomo and neighboring Indians. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 6:1-322. [PDF]
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Oswalt, Robert L. 1961. A Kashaya grammar (Southwestern Pomo). Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Oswalt, Robert L. 1964. Kashaya texts. Berkeley: University of California Press.