Mutsun language

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San Juan Bautista
Native to United States
Region California
Ethnicity Ohlone
Extinct 1930, with the death of Ascencion Solórzano de Cervantes[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 (included in css)
Glottolog muts1243[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
Area where the Utian languages were spoken

Mutsun (also known as San Juan Bautista Costanoan) is an Utian language that was spoken in Northern California. It was the primary language of a division of the Ohlone people living in the Mission San Juan Bautista area.

Studies of the language[edit]

Ascencion Solorsano amassed large amounts of language and cultural data specific to the Mutsun. The Spanish Franciscan missionary and linguist Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta wrote extensively about the language's grammar, and linguist John Peabody Harrington made very extensive notes on the language from Solorsano. Harrington's field notes formed the basis of the grammar of Mutsun written by Marc Okrand as a University of California dissertation in 1977,[1] which to this day remains the only grammar ever written of any Costanoan language. Scholars from the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands have discussed methods that could facilitate the revitalization of Mutsun.[3]


Consonant phonemes[4]
Labial Dental/
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
hard soft
Nasal m m n n nY
Plosive p p t t tY ʈ k k ʔ
Affricate ts c ts̠ č
Fricative s s ʃ š h h
Approximant w w l l lY j y
Flap ɾ r

Vowel phonemes[4]
Front Back
Close i i u u
Mid ɛ e o o
Open ɑ a
  • /ɛ/ is open-mid, whereas /o/ is close-mid.[4]
  • Vowels and consonants are doubled to indicate longer pronunciation (ex: IPA for toolos 'knee' is [toːlos])


English Mutsun
one hemečʔa
two uṭhin
three kaphan
four uuṭit
five parwes
six nakči
seven ṭakči
eight tayitmin
nine pakki
ten tansahte
English Mutsun English Mutsun
man ṭaares woman mukurma
child sinni dog hučekniš
cat penYek fish huuyi
coyote wakšiš wolf ummuh
hummingbird humuunya California jay ašit
blackbird kulyan raven kaakari
roadrunner uttYuy great horned owl huumis
goose laalak eagle sirih
bear ores mountain lion tammala
rabbit weeren jackrabbit čeeyes
lamprey, eel huusu salmon huuraka
fly insect muumuri tarantula kutYeelu
grasshopper polookič worm kareš
tree, wood tappur flower tiiwis
sun hismen sky ṭarah
water sii heat ṭaala
sea kalle earth, ground pire
head moohel brain lom
foot koro leg kaatYul
hand issu shoulderblade pakka
nose huus face, eyes hiin
ear oočo mouth haay
stomach huttu throat horkos
body hair ṭap breath nossow
vulva pattas penis čalamsa
mother aanan father appa
husband makkuh wife hawna
person, body ama life nossow
sadness šoole hunger suune
no ekwe yes heʔe
inside rammay outside kariy
road, door innu house rukka
to cut wara to give hara
to cry warka to hit notto


  1. ^ a b Okrand, Marc. 1977. "Mutsun Grammar". Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mutsun". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Revitalization in a scattered language community: problems and methods from the perspective of Mutsun language revitalization, Authors: Natasha Warner / Quirina Luna / Lynnika Butler / Heather van Volkinburg, International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2009, Issue 198, Pages 135–148, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: 10.1515/IJSL.2009.031, July 2009
  4. ^ a b c Okrand, (page 21)

External links[edit]