Takelma language

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Native to United States
Region Oregon, Rogue Valley along the middle course of the Rogue River
Ethnicity Takelma, Latgawa
Extinct 1934, with the death of Frances Johnson
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tkm
Glottolog take1257[1]
Takelma (south), with the Kalapuyan languages to the north
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Takelma /təˈkɛlmə/[2] was the language spoken by the Latgawa and Takelma people. It was first extensively described by Edward Sapir in his graduate thesis, The Takelma Language of Southwestern Oregon.[3] The last fluent speaker of Takelma, with whom Sapir worked while writing about the language, was Frances Johnson (Gwísgwashãn).


There was possibly a Cow Creek dialect spoken in southwestern Oregon along the South Umpqua River, Myrtle Creek, and Cow Creek.[4]

Genealogical relations[edit]

Takelma is a language isolate.

Takelma was once considered part of a Takelma-Kalapuyan language family together with the Kalapuyan languages (Swadesh 1965).[citation needed] However, a paper by Tarpent & Kendall (1998)[citation needed] finds this relationship to be unfounded because of the extremely different morphological structures of Takelma and Kalapuyan. DeLancey follows this position.[citation needed] However, Takelma is commonly proposed as part of the Penutian super-family, as first suggested by Edward Sapir.[5]



Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral
Nasal m n
Plosive plain p t k ʔ
Affricate tsʼ tʃʼ
Fricative voiceless s ɬ ʃ x h
Approximant ʍ
voiced l j w


  • [mìːʔskaʔ] – one
  • [kàːʔm] – two
  • [xìpiní] – three
  • [kamkàm] – four
  • [déːhal] – five
  • [haʔiːmìʔs] – six
  • [haʔiːkàːʔm] – seven
  • [haʔiːxín] – eight
  • [haʔiːkó] – nine
  • [ìxtiːl] – ten


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Takelma". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  3. ^ Sapir, Edward (1922). "II". The Takelma Language of Southwestern Oregon. Handbook of American Indian Languages. Bulletin 40. Bureau of American Ethnology. pp. 1–296. 
  4. ^ Don Macnaughtan. "American Indian Languages of Western Oregon". Lane Community College Library. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  5. ^ Sapir, Edward (1909). "Takelma Texts". University of Pennsylvania Anthropological Publications (University of Pennsylvania) 2 (1): 1–263. 

Further reading[edit]