Pre-contact distribution of Chimariko
Chimariko is an extinct language isolate formerly spoken in northern Trinity County, California, by the inhabitants of several independent communities. While the total area claimed by these communities was remarkably small, Golla (2011:87–89) believes there is evidence that three local dialects were recognized: Trinity River Chimariko, spoken along the Trinity River from the mouth of South Fork at Salyer as far upstream as Big Bar, with a principal village at Burnt Ranch; South Fork Chimariko, spoken around the junction of South Fork and Hayfork Creek, with a principal village at Hyampom; and New River Chimariko, spoken along New River on the southern slopes of the Trinity Alps, with a principal village at Denny.
Proposals linking Chimariko to other languages in various versions of the hypothetical Hokan family have been advanced. Roland Dixon suggested a relationship between Chimariko and the Shastan and Palaihnihan families. Edward Sapir's famous 1929 classification grouped Chimariko with Shastan, Palaihnihan, Pomoan, and the Karuk and Yana languages in a Hokan sub-grouping known as Northern Hokan. A Kahi family consisting of Chimariko, Shastan, Palaihnihan, and Karuk has been suggested (appearing also within Sapir's 1929 Northern Hokan). Most specialists currently find these relationships to be undemonstrated, and consider Chimariko to remain best considered an isolate.
Roland Dixon began work on the Chimariko language in the early 1900s, when there were few remaining speakers. Dixon worked with two: Mrs. Dyer and a man who was named Friday. Later, extensive documentation on the language was carried out by J.P. Harrington, who worked with Sally Noble, the last speaker of the language. Harrington's assistant John Paul Marr also made recordings of the language with speaker Martha Zigler.
The consonant inventary of Chimariko is:
Because the documentary corpus of Chimariko was limited, the description of the grammar of the language was not complete. However, general observations were made.
Among the recorded grammatical characteristics are the following: Chimariko had reduplication in many nominal forms, particularly in the names of fauna (e.g., tsokoko-tci "bluejay", himimitcei "grouse"). Like many American languages (such as Shasta, Maidu, Wintun, as well as Shoshoni, Siouan, and Pomo), Chimariko verbs had a series of instrumental and body-part prefixes, indicating the particular body part or object with which an action was carried out.
- Jany (2009)
- Sapir, Edward (1911 ). William Bright, ed. "Review of Roland B. Dixon: The Chimariko Indians and Language". The Collected Works of Edward Sapir V: American Indian Languages. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 185–187. ISBN 0-89925-654-6.
- Luthin, Herbert (2002). Surviving through the Days. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22270-0.
- "Chimariko Sound recording n.d". collections.si.edu. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- Carmen Jany, 2007, p. 112
- Campbell, Lyle (1997) American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
- Goddard, Ives (ed.) (1996) Languages. Handbook of North American Indians (W. C. Sturtevant, General Ed.) (Vol. 17). Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-16-048774-9.
- Golla, Victor (2011) California Indian Languages. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26667-4.
- Jany, Carmen (2007) "Is there any evidence for complementation in Chimariko?", International Journal of American Linguistics, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp. 94–113, Jan 2007
- —— (2009) Chimariko Grammar: Areal and Typological Perspective. UC Press.
- Mithun, Marianne (1999) The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.
- Fieldnotes on Chimariko by Alfred Kroeber at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley
- Chimariko language overview at the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
- Chimariko basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database
- "Chimariko Sound recording". Collections Search Center, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- OLAC resources in and about the Chimariko language