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Encyclopedia > Wiyot

Wiyot (also Wishosk) is an extinct The Algic languages are an indigenous language family of North America. Most Algic languages are part of the Algonquian subfamily, which was spoken from the Rocky Mountains to New England. The other Algic languages are the Yurok and Wiyot languages of northwestern California. The last known Wiyot speaker died in... Algic language.

Concerning etymology of Wiyot (a.k.a. Wishosk)

This below is from Campbell (1997):

"Wiyot is from wíyat, the native name for the Eel River delta, which also referred to one of the three principal groups of Wiyots (Elsasser 1978:162).

"The connection of Wiyot and Yurok in northern California (which together were formerly called Ritwan, after Dixon and Kroeber's [1913] grouping of the two as one of their more remote Californian stocks) with Algonquian was first proposed by Sapir (1913) and was quite controversial at that time (see Michelson 1914, 1915; Sapir 1915a, 1915b; see also Chapter 2), but the relationship has subsequently been demonstrated to the satisfaction of all (see Haas 1958; Teeter 1964a; Goddard 1975, 1979, 1990). Before 1850 the Yurok lived on the lower Klamath River. The Wiyot (earlier called Wishosk) lived in the Humboldt Bay area, in the redwood belt; the last fully fluent speaker died in 1962 (Teeter 1964b). Many scholars have commented that although Wiyot and Yurok are neighbors in northern California, they seem not to have a closer relationship with each other than either has with Algonquian...." (Campbell 1997:152).


  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Dixon, Roland; & Kroeber, Alfred L. (1913). New linguistic families in California. American Anthropologist, 5, 1-26.
  • Elsasser, Albert B. (1978). Wiyot. In R. F. Heizer (Ed.), California (pp. 153-163). Handbook of North American Indians (Vol. 8) (W. C. Sturtevant (Ed.)). Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Goddard, Ives. (1975). Algonquian, Wiyot, and Yurok: Proving a distant genetic relationship. In M. D. Kinkade, K. L. Hale, & O. Werner (Eds.), Linguistics and anthropology in honor of C. F. Voegelin (pp. 249-262). Lisse: Peter de Ridder Press.
  • Goddard, Ives. (1979). Comparative Algonquian. In L. Campbell & M. Mithun (Eds.), The languages of native America: Historical and comparative assessment (pp. 70-132). Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Goddard, Ives. (1990). Algonquian linguistic change and reconstruction. In P. Baldi (Ed.), Linguistic change and reconstruction methodology (pp. 99-114). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Haas, Mary R. (1958). Algonkian-Ritwan: The end of a controversy. International Journal of American Linguistics, 24, 159-173.
  • Michelson, Truman. 1914. Two alleged Algonquian languages of California. American Anthropologist, 16, 361-367.
  • Michelson, Truman. 1915. Rejoinder (to Edward Sapir). American Anthropologist, 17, 4-8.
  • 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. 1913. Wiyot and Yurok, Algonkin languages of California. American Anthropologist, 15, 617-646.
  • Sapir, Edward. (1915)a. Algonkin languages of California: A reply. American Anthropologist, 17, 188-194.
  • Sapir, Edward. (1915)b. Epilogue. American Anthropologist, 17, 198.
  • Teeter, Karl V. (1964)a. Algonquian languages and genetic relationship. In Proceedings of the ninth international congress of linguists (pp. 1026-1033). The Hague: Mouton.
  • Teeter, Karl V. (1964)b. The Wiyot language. University of California publications in linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  Results from FactBites:
Algic languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (261 words)
The other Algic languages are the Yurok and Wiyot languages of northwestern California.
Wiyot, Miami, Illinois, Etchemin, Loup A, Loup B, Mahican, Massachusett, Mohegan, Pequot, Nanticoke, Narragansett, Pamlico, Powhatan, Quiripi, Naugatuck, Unami, Unquachog, and Shinnecock are now extinct.
Wiyot and Yurok do not seem to be any more similar to each other than either language is to Algonquian languages.
  More results at FactBites »



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