978-3-89586-357-8 / 9783895863578

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About the book:

This is the first attempt at a comprehensive comparison of Wintuan and Plateau Penutian, two subgroups which are regarded as members of the hypothetical Penutian language family. The Winutan language group of Northern California includes as its most well-known representatives Wintu, Nomlaki (which are top of the list of endangered languages) and Patwin (which must be regarded as extinct). This group is demonstrated by the author as having close connections to the "Plateau Penutian" group. The Plateau group includes, as highly independent members, the Klamath-Modoc language, which is also endangered (and is spoken in south central Oregon and a smaller part of northeastern California), the Sahaptian group (including Nez Perce and Sahaptin), with slightly better chances of survival, spoken in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, as well as the now extinct Molala in north central Oregon. In this paper, an attempt is made at throwing some light on the many ramifications of Penutian, one of the most interesting language families in North America, whose members differ strongly from each other and are spread from southeastern Alaska to Southern California. The author goes far beyond the indications provided by other scholars (e.g. the similarities noticed by DeLancey (1987) between the pronouns of Wintu and Klamath), by presenting morphological elements and structural similarities as well as over 130 comparison sets from all areas of the lexicon that are common to Wintuan, Klamath and Sahaptian. Thus, for the first time the Sahaptian languages of the Plateau group are also taken into account.

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