Central Kalapuya language

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(Central) Kalapuya
Region Northwest Oregon
Extinct c. 1954[1]
with the death of John B. Hudson[2]
  • Santiam
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kyl
Glottolog kala1400[3]

Central Kalapuyan, or Santiam, was a Kalapuyan language indigenous to the central and southern Willamette Valley in Oregon in the United States. It was spoken by various bands of the Kalapuya peoples who inhabited the valley up through the middle of the 19th century. The language is closely related to Northern Kalapuya, spoken in the Tualatin and Yamhill valleys. Dialects of Central Kalapuya that have been identified include:

  • Ahantchuyuk dialect, spoken in the northeastern Willamette Valley along the Pudding and Molalla rivers
  • Santiam dialect, spoken in the central Willamette Valley along the lower Santiam River
  • Luckiamute dialect, spoken in the central Willamette Valley along the Luckiamute River
  • Chepenafa dialect, spoken in the central Willamette Valley along Marys River
  • Chemapho dialect, spoken in central Willamette Valley along Muddy Creek.
  • Chelamela dialect, spoken in the southwestern Willamette Valley along the Long Tom River
  • Tsankupi dialect, spoken in the southeastern Willamette Valley along the Calapooia River
  • Winefelly-Mohawk dialects, spoken in the southeastern Willamette Valley along the McKenzie, Mohawk, and Coast Fork Willamette rivers


The phonology of the Santiam dialect, as described by Jacobs (1945) and analyzed by Banks (2007), is listed below.[4][5] Banks notes that Jacobs' analysis does not rigorously account for allophonic variation, and that, according to Jacobs, there may have been some interchangeability between the velar and uvular series.[5]


Bilabial Alveolar Lateral Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plain Lab. Plain Lab. Plain Lab.
Stop plain p t k q ʔ
aspirated kʷʰ qʷʰ
ejective kʷʼ qʷʼ
voiced b d g ɢ ɢʷ
Affricate plain ts
aspirated tsʰ tʃʰ
ejective tsʼ tʃʼ
voiced dz
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative ɸ s ɬ ʃ x χ h
Approximant l j w

The nasals [m] and [n] likely had syllabic forms: [m̩] and [n̩]. Banks also notes that /h/, /hʷ/, and /ɸʷ/ may have been allophones.[5]


Front Central Back
Close i u
Open-Mid æ~ɛ ɔ
Open a

Santiam Kalapuya had three diphthongs: [ai], [au], and [ui]. Vowel length may have been phonemic, and /ɔ/ may have been an allophone of /u/.[5]


  1. ^ Santiam at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kalapuya proper". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Jacobs, Melville (1945). Kalapuya Texts. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 
  5. ^ a b c d Banks, Jonathan (2007). "The Verbal Morphology of Santiam Kalapuya". Northwest Journal of Linguistics. 1 (2): 1–98. 

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