Yana language

Yana language

: "The article is about a Californian language. For the Chinese city, see Yan'an."

Yana (also Yanan) is an extinct language isolate formerly spoken in north-central California between the Feather and Pit rivers in what is now Shasta and Tehama counties.

The language perished in 1916 with the death of Ishi, the last native speaker who spoke Yahi. Yana is fairly well-documented (mostly by Edward Sapir) compared to other extinct American languages.

The names "Yana" and "Yahi" are derived from the Yana words (in two dialects) meaning "people".

Regional variation

There are four known Yanan languages/dialects.

: 1. Northern Yana: 2. Central Yana: (a) Southern dialects:: 3. South Yana:: 4. Yahi

Genetic relations

Yana is often associated with the hypothetical Hokan stock. Sapir suggested a grouping of Yana within a "Northern Hokan" sub-family with Karuk, Chimariko, Shastan, Palaihnihan, and Pomoan.


* polysynthetic
* distinct male and female speech

ee also

* Yahi
* Ishi


* Campbell, Lyle. (1997). "American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America". New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
* Goddard, Ives (Ed.). (1996). "Languages". Handbook of North American Indians (W. C. Sturtevant, General Ed.) (Vol. 17). Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-16-048774-9.
* Mithun, Marianne. (1999). "The languages of Native North America". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.
* Sapir, Edward. 1910. "Yana Texts". University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. 1, no. 9. Berkeley: University Press. ( [http://www.archive.org/details/yanatexts00sapirich Online version] at the Internet Archive).
* Sturtevant, William C. (Ed.). (1978-present). "Handbook of North American Indians" (Vol. 1-20). Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution. (Vols. 1-3, 16, 18-20 not yet published).

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