Modoc (Klamath-Modoc)

Modoc is the southern variety of a language sometimes called Klamath-Modoc, whose northern variety (spoken in Oregon) is called Klamath. The traditional Modoc language area is immediately east of the Cascades, to the south and east of Klamath Falls at Lower Klamath and Tule Lake, and along the Lost River. In pre-contact times, there may have been 600-700 speakers (Kroeber 1925). In the 21st century, there are no first-language speakers (Golla 2011). However, tribal members and language activists have been pursuing language revitalization and reclamation (The Klamath Tribes; Dupris 2019).

Klamath-Modoc is a member of the hypothesized Penutian language family. This includes, in addition, the Maiduan languages (Konkow, Maidu, and Nisenan), the Miwokan languages (Central Sierra Miwok, Coast Miwok, Lake Miwok, Northern Sierra Miwok, Plains Miwok, Saclan, and Southern Sierra Miwok), the Ohlone languages (Awaswas, Chalon, Chochenyo, Karkin, Mutsun, Ramaytush, Rumsen, and Tamyen), the Wintuan languages (Nomlaki, Patwin, and Wintu), and the Yokuts languages.

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Selected materials in other archives

Further reading

  • Barker, M. A. R. 1963. Klamath dictionary. Berkeley: University of California Press. [PDF]
  • Barker, M. A. R. 1963. Klamath texts. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Barker, M. A. R. 1964. Klamath grammar. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Gatschet, Albert Samuel. 1890. The Klamath Indians of southwestern Oregon. 2 vols. Washington: Government Printing Office. [Vol. II: Part I] [Vol. II: Part II]
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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