Serrano language

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Native to United States
Region Southern California
Ethnicity Serrano people
Extinct 2002, with the death of Dorothy Ramon
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ser
Glottolog serr1255[1]

The Serrano language is a language in the Serran branch of the Uto-Aztecan family spoken by the Serrano people of Southern California. The language is closely related to Tongva and Kitanemuk. According to Ethnologue, there was 1 speaker in 1994.[2] The last fully fluent speaker was Dorothy Ramon, who died in 2002.[3]

Language revitalization[edit]

The language is nearly extinct, but there are attempts at reviving it, [4] both at the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservations.[5] Language teacher Pauline Murillo helped develop an interactive CD ROM for learning Serrano.[5] As of 2013, apps and games have been developed, and the San Manuel Band's Serrano Language Revitalization Project (SLRP) seeks to develop further multimedia resources for language learners.[6] In May 2013, Cal State San Bernardino announced it would offer Serrano language classes.[7]

The Limu project offers online courses in Maarrenga' (Morongo Band "Serrano" dialect) and Yuhaviat (Santos Manuel Band "Serrano" dialect).[8]

The Serrano language was traditionally a spoken language; an alphabet was not used until the 1990s. A new alphabet, with 47 letters, including the glottal stop, was developed starting in 2005.[3]


Serrano is an agglutinative language, where words use suffix complexes for a variety of purposes with several morphemes strung together.


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Serrano". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Ethnologue report
  3. ^ a b Edwards, Andrew (2006-12-05). "Saving the Serrano tongue". San Bernardino County Sun. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  4. ^ Limu Project iLearn Course Portal
  5. ^ a b David Olson (2011-01-26). "Pauline Murillo, 76, San Manuel tribal elder". - Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  6. ^ "San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians: Education". Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  7. ^ David Olson (2013-05-31). "CAL STATE: University offers Serrano language class". Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  8. ^ "iLearn Course Portal - iLearn. Serrano Dialects Maarrenga' (Morongo Band "Serrano" dialect); Yuhaviat (Santos Manuel Band "Serrano" dialect)". The Limu Project. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 

External links[edit]