The traditional Ramaytush language area is on the San Francisco peninsula as far south as Palo Alto and Pescadero. It may also have been spoken immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge. During the mission period, Ramaytush was spoken at Mission Dolores. Ramaytush is only attested in a few wordlists. In pre-contact times, there were approximately 1,400 speakers of Ramaytush (Levy 1978). However, tribal members and language activists have been pursuing language revitalization and reclamation.

Map of the Ohlone languages
Map of the Ohlone languages (Richard L. Levy. 1976. Costanoan internal relationships.. Berkeley: Archaeological Research Facility, University of California.)

Ramaytush is an Ohlone (or “Costanoan”) language, along with Awaswas, Chalon, Chochenyo, Karkin, Mutsun, 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

Further reading

  • Beeler, Madison S. 1972. An extension of San Francisco Bay Costanoan? International Journal of American Linguistics 38:49-54.
  • Brown, Alan K. 1973. San Francisco Bay Costanoan. International Journal of American Linguistics 39:184-189. [PDF - may not be publicly available]
  • Hinton, Leanne. 2001. The Ohlone Languages. In Leanne Hinton & Kenneth Hale (eds.) The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice. San Diego: Academic Press
  • Okrand, Marc. 1991. A note on San Francisco Costanoan. In Sandra Chung and Jorge Hankamer, eds. A Festschrift for William F. Shipley, pp. 147-258. Santa Cruz, CA: Syntax Research Center, University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • Milliken, Randall, Shoup, Laurence H. & Ortiz, Beverly R. Ohlone/Coastanoan Indians of the San Francisco Peninsula and their Neighbors, Yesterday and Today. Oakland: Archaeological and Historical Consultants. [PDF]