Quechan

The traditional Quechan language area is along the Colorado River, around its confluence with the Gila River. In pre-contact times, there were an estimated 2,500 or more speakers (Kroeber 1925). In the 21st century, there are 150-200 speakers (Golla 2011), and tribal members and language activists have been pursuing language revitalization and reclamation.

Quechan (also known as "Kwtsan" or "Yuma") is a member of the Yuman language family. Within Yuman, it is most closely related to Maricopa and Mojave, and more distantly to Cocopa (spoken in pre-contact times around the Colorado River Delta in Mexico), Kiliwa (spoken in Baja California), Kumeyaay, Pai (spoken in Arizona), and Paipai (spoken in Baja California). Together, the Yuman languages comprise one branch of the hypothesized Hokan language family, the other members of which are Chimariko, Esselen, Karuk, the Palaihnihan languages (Achumawi and Atsugewi), 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, and Yana.

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Selected materials in other archives

Further reading

  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1946. Yuma. In Harry Hoijer, ed. Linguistic Structures of Native America, pp. 249-288. New York: Viking Fund.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1946. Yuma I: Phonemics. International Journal of American Linguistics 12:25-33.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1946. Yuma II: Morphophonemics. International Journal of American Linguistics 12:147-151.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1946. Yuma III: Grammatical processes and the noun. International Journal of American Linguistics 12:204-212.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1947. Yuma IV: Verb themes. International Journal of American Linguistics 13:18-30.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1947. Yuma V: Conjugation of the verb theme. International Journal of American Linguistics 13:92-107.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1947. Yuma VI: Miscellaneous morphemes. International Journal of American Linguistics 13:147-166.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1976. Kukumat became sick — A Yuman text. In Margaret Langdon, ed. Yuman texts, pp. 5-25. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Halpern, A. M. 1997. KarÊ”úk: Native accounts of the Quechan mourning ceremony. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Ron Sheffield. 2013. The Influence of Language on Culture and Identity: Resurgence of the Quechan Native American Tribal Language. PhD dissertation, George Washington University.

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