Atsugewi is a recently extinct Palaihnihan language of northeastern California spoken by the Atsugewi people of Hat Creek and Dixie Valley. In 1962, there were four fluent speakers out of an ethnic group of 200, all elderly; the last of these died in 1988. The last fluent native speaker was Medie Webster; as of 1988, other tribal members knew some expressions in the language. For a summary of the documentation of Atsugewi see Golla (2011: 98-99).
Astugewi is related to Achumawi. They have long been considered as part of the hypothetical Hokan stock, and it has been supposed that within that stock they comprise the Palaihnihan family.
The name properly is Atsugé, to which the -wi of the Achumawi or Pit River language was erroneously suffixed.
Atsugewi language has basically only three vowels: /a/, /o/, and /i/; /e/ is the allophone of /i/ while /o/ is the allophone of /u/. However, it has been supported by Leonard Talmy (1972) that there are instances such as the word ce "the eye(s)" where e can be analyzed as a proper phoneme.
Bright, William. (1965). [Review of A history of Palaihnihan phonology by D. L. Olmsted]. Language, 41 (1), 175-178.
Golla, Victor. California Indian Languages. Berkeley: Universitty of California Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-520-26667-4.
Good, Jeff. (2004). A sketch of Atsugewi phonology. Boston, MA. (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, January 8–11).
Good, Jeff; McFarland, Teresa; & Paster, Mary. (2003). Reconstructing Achumawi and Atsugewi: Proto-Palaihnihan revisited. Atlanta, GA. (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, January 2–5).