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]

[citation needed]

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]

The Amah Mutsun band is currently working to restore use of the language, using a modern alphabet.[4][5]


Consonant phonemes[6]
Labial Dental/
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
hard soft
Nasal m m n n N
Plosive p p t t tY ʈ T k k ʔ
Affricate ts ts ts̠ c
Fricative s s ʃ S h h
Approximant w w l l L j y
Flap ɾ r
Vowel phonemes[6]
Front Back
Close i i u u
Mid ɛ e o o
Open ɑ a
  • /ɛ/ is open-mid, whereas /o/ is close-mid.[6]
  • Vowels and consonants are doubled to indicate longer pronunciation (ex: IPA for toolos 'knee' is [toːlos])


English Mutsun
one hemec'a
two uThin
three kaphan
four uuTit
five parwes
six nakci
seven Takci
eight tayitmin
nine pakki
ten tansahte
English Mutsun English Mutsun
man Taares woman mukurma
child sinni dog hucekniS
cat peNek fish huuyi
coyote wakSiS wolf ummuh
hummingbird humuunya California jay aSit
blackbird kulyan raven kaakari
roadrunner uttYuy great horned owl huumis
goose laalak eagle sirih
bear ores mountain lion tammala
rabbit weeren jackrabbit ceeyes
lamprey, eel huusu salmon huuraka
fly insect muumuri tarantula kutYeelu
grasshopper polookic worm kareS
tree, wood tappur flower tiiwis
sun hismen sky Tarah
water sii heat Taala
sea kalle earth, ground pire
head moohel brain lom
foot koro leg kaatYul
hand issu shoulderblade pakka
nose huus face, eyes hiin
ear ooco mouth haay
stomach huttu throat horkos
body hair Tap breath nossow
vulva pattas penis calamsa
mother aanan father appa
husband makkuh wife hawnan
person, body ama life nossow
sadness Soole hunger suune
no ekwe yes he'e
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. ^ Warner, N. (2006). Making a Dictionary for Community Use in Language Revitalization: The Case of Mutsun. International Journal of Lexicography, 19(3), 257-285. Retrieved from [1]
  5. ^ Warner, N., Luna, Q., & Butler, L. (2007). Ethics and Revitalization of Dormant Languages: The Mutsun Language.1(1). Retrieved from [2]
  6. ^ a b c Okrand, (page 21)

External links[edit]