Home » Language » Maidun Language Analysis Essay

Maidun Language Analysis Essay

The language that I will be working on is the Maidun language. The Maidun language is shown to come from the Penutian language, which is one the the six main languages shown in “Flutes of Fire”. In accordance to native languages. org, the Maiduan language has three different languages that are spoken, such as, Maidu, Nisenan, and Konkow. The language of Maidun was used in California, more specifically Northern California. “Most Maidu people live on Rancherias, which are parcels of land in the state of California that are similar to reservations” (native-languages. org).

These Rancherias are located in northern California, there are a few types of Rancherias that the Maidu people live in. The two types of Rancherias are Pit River Rancheria and Susanville Indian Rancheria, each of these Rancherias have their own tribal leaders, according to the website native-languages. org. Golla shows that the Maidun family lived along the Northern California territory, “Maiduan is a family of four closely related Penutian languages that were spoken in a territory that extended from the Sacramento River between Sacramento and Chico eastward to the crest of the Sierra Nevada” (Golla 136).

Also, “the Northeastern Maidu, also known as the Mountain Maidu, who live around a series of mountain valleys primarily in the drainage of the North Fork of the Feather River in the northern Sierra Nevada. These valleys include the American Valley near Quincy, Indian Valley near Greenville, Genesee Valley near Taylorsville, Big Meadows (now covered by Lake Almanor), Mountain Meadows near Westwood, and Honey Lake Valley across the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada near Susanville” (Simmons 2). This language family is known to be living near many valleys listed above.

The Maidun language have called themselves, what is perceived as “people” in their own language. Hinton notes that, “Most people of California, like the Karuk, used to call themselves “the people. ” Chimariko, Maidu, Nesenan, Patwin, Wintu, and Yana all come from the word “people” in those languages” (Hinton 158). There are no documents that tell us whether or not the European explorers gave another name to the Maidun. There are not many native speakers of the Maidun language, Hinton provides a chart in 1994 that shows that there are a total of seventy-four speakers in California, and 108 speakers in the US.

There are 3-6 speakers of the Konkow language, 1 speaker of the Nisenan language, and 1-2 speakers of the Northeast Maidu language (Hinton 30). Personally, I would consider this language endangered. This language does have methods to save it by the community such as, “instructional language materials; singers” (Hinton 31). The language is shown to have a lot of myths and stories on record, such as “the Maidu Indian Myths and Stories of Hanc’ibyjim” mentioned in Hinton’s book “Flutes of Fire”. The Maidun language has three sub languages, Northeastern Maidu, Konkow, and Nisenan.

The first language given is Konkow, and it is shown to have vocabulary, “The earliest attestation of Konkow is a vocabulary collected by Stephen Powers in 1875 from speakers who had been resettled on the Round Valley reservation” (Golla 137). Later on in the twentieth century there was another collection of vocabularies, “Early in the twentieth century vocabularies of Hill Konkow were collected by Merriam, Myers, and Halpern, and a vocabulary of the variety of Valley Konkow spoken was collected” (Golla 137).

Then there are records of the Maidu language having a collection of vocabulary, “The language is attested in a substantial vocabulary collected by A. S. Gatschet at Michupda on Bidewell’s Ranch, a few mile south of Chico, and in vocabularies collected by Merriam and Myers” (Golla 137). Lastly, the Nisenan language was shown to be documented as well, “Nisenan was documented earliest, but not extensively. The first materials published on an Maiduan language are three short vocabularies that the Wilkes Expedition geologist James Dwight Dana collected at John A. Sutter’s New Hevetia colony in 1841″ (Golla 137).

A. L. Kroeber’s monograph on the Valley Nisenan (1929) contains a substantial vocabulary of the lower American River variety arranged typically. Merriam also collected a Valley Nisenan vocabulary” (Golla 137). This indicates that there was extensive research to learn about this language and the three sub-languages. Each language had their vocabulary recorded by the same group. This shows that these records compliment each other, because they were recorded by the same groups. History/Genealogy The Maidu language is related to the Wintun, Yokuts, Miwok, and Ohlone under the Penutian Family.

In accordance with Hinton, “Penutian includes the families of Wintun, Maidun, Miwokan, Costanoan, and others” (Hinton 79). There is more detail as to how the Yukots language is realated to the Maidu language. Such as, “the Yukots language group is included within the California Penutian stock, where it is thought to be most closely related to Costanoan and Miwokan and more distantly related to the Maiduan and Wintun families” (Luthin 348). Although the Yukot language was not closely related to the Maidu language, it is shown that there is some form of relation among these languages.

Luthin goes on to show how the Penutian language is related to the Maidu language along with e was developed agriculture habits. “After centuries, or perhaps millennia, speakers of Penutian languages, whose descendants include the Wintu and the Maidu, brought different forms of land use and social affiliation” (Luthin 128). As the author goes on, he mentions that the Maidu were located along the riverside villages, “They occupied their riverside villages throughout the year, making expeditions for hunting and for the gathering of particular foods or craft supplies” (Luthin 128).

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.