|Region||California and Arizona, US|
|Ethnicity||2,000 Mojave people (2007)|
Mojave (also Mohave) is the native language of the Mohave people along the Colorado River in eastern California, northwestern Arizona, and southwestern Nevada. Approximately 70% of the speakers reside in Arizona, while approximately 30% reside in California. Mojave belongs to the River branch of the Yuman language family, together with Quechan and Maricopa.
Mojave language became endangered during the 20th century when Mohave children were taken away form their parents to be raised in boarding schools, where they were prohibited to speak the language. They were even prohibited from speaking it with their parents when they were on occasional visits home, in spite of many parents speaking no English.
All claims and examples in this section come from Munro (1974) unless otherwise noted. Mohave phonology is similar to that of Maricopa. One difference is that sometime in the 9th century Mohave speakers shifted the sounds [s] and [ʂ] (similar to sh as in "shack") to [θ] (th as in "thick") and [s], respectively.
The post-alveolar stops /ɳ/ and /ʈ/ are very infrequent and occur only in few words.
Mohave has five vowel qualities, with length distinction and a weak vowel /ə/.
|High||i, iː||u, uː|
|Mid||e, eː||ə||o, oː|
As of 2012, The Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University "has facilitated workshops for both learners and speakers at the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation in northwest Arizona, California and Nevada. Fort Mojave has about 22 elders who speak some Mojave." The project is also bringing elders together with younger people to teach the traditional Mojave "bird songs."
The language preservation work of poet Natalie Diaz on the reservation was featured on the PBS News Hour in March 2012.
- Mojave at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Mohave". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Penfield, S. D. (2005). Mohave remembered. Journal of the Southwest, 81-105.
- Penfield, S. D., & Tucker, B. V. (2011). From documenting to revitalizing an endangered language: where do applied linguists fit?. Language and Education, 25(4), 291-305.
- Weinberg, J. P., & Penfield, S. D. (2000). Mohave Language Planning: Where has it been and where should it go from here?. Coyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics, Special Volume on Native American Languages.
- Munro, P. (1976). Subject copying, auxiliarization, and predicate raising: the Mojave evidence. International Journal of American Linguistics, 99-112.
- Munro, P. E. L. (1974). Topics in Mojave syntax (Doctoral dissertation, UMI Ann Arbor).
- Mary Shinn (2010-11-29). "ASU center bringing new life to Native languages". The State Press (Arizona State University). Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- Pete Zrioka (2012-03-26). "Cultural conservation: keeping languages alive". Arizona State University News. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- Mary Jo Brooks (2012-06-20). "On Wednesday's NewsHour: Poet Natalie Diaz". Art Beat. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- Hinton, Leanne. 1994. Flutes of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages. Heyday Books, Berkeley, California.
- Mojave language overview at the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
- OLAC resources in and about the Mohave language
- California Language Archive: "Mojave"
- World Atlas of Language Structures: Mojave
- Mojave basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database
- Mohave Indian Language (Mojave)
- "The Cultural Conservancy – Mojave Creation Songs". Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- "House of Night: The Lost Creation Songs of the Mohave People". Lost and Found Sound: The Stories. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
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