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Northern Paiute language

Northern Paiute
Native to United States
Region Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho
Ethnicity 6,000 (1999)
Native speakers
700  (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 pao
Glottolog nort2954[2]

Northern Paiute ,[3] also known as Numu and Paviotso, is a Western Numic language of the Uto-Aztecan family, which according to Marianne Mithun had around 500 fluent speakers in 1994.[4] Ethnologue reported the number of speakers in 1999 as 1,631.[5] It is closely related to the Mono language.


  • Language revitalization 1
  • Morphology 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5

Language revitalization

In 2005, the Northwest Indian Language Institute of the University of Oregon formed a partnership to teach Northern Paiute and Kiksht in the Warm Springs Indian Reservation schools.[6] In 2013, Washoe County, Nevada became the first school district in Nevada to offer Northern Paiute classes, offering an elective course in the language at Spanish Springs High School.[7] Classes have also been taught at Reed High School in Sparks, Nevada.[8]

Elder Ralph Burns of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation worked with University of Nevada, Reno linguist Catherine Fowler to help develop a written language. The alphabet uses 19 letters. They have also developed "a language-learning book, “Numa Yadooape,” and a series of computer disks of language lessons."[8]


Northern Paiute is an agglutinative language, in which words use suffix complexes for a variety of purposes with several morphemes strung together.


  1. ^ Northern Paiute at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Northern Paiute". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ Mithun (1999:541)
  5. ^ "Report on Northern Paiute".  
  6. ^ Joanne B. Mulcahy (2005). "Warm Springs: A Convergence of Cultures" (Oregon History Project). Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  7. ^ Joe Hart (Director). "Nevada Proud: Students get a chance to learn native language in school". KRNV, Reno, NV. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  8. ^ a b Vogel, Ed (2014-02-01). "Paiute elder rescues language near extinction". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 


  • Liljeblad, Sven, Catherine S. Fowler, & Glenda Powell. 2012. The Northern Paiute-Bannock Dictionary, with an English-Northern Paiute-Bannock Finder List and a Northern Paiute-Bannock-English Finder List. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. ISBN 978-1-60781-030-8
  • Mithun, Marianne (1999). Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Snapp, Allen, John L. Anderson, and Joy Anderson. 1982. Northern Paiute. In Ronald W. Langacker, eds. Sketches in Uto-Aztecan grammar, III: Uto-Aztecan grammatical sketches. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington. Summer Institute of Linguistics Publications in Linguistics, 57(3) [The publication erroneously stated (56)3, but this has been amended in the PDF made available online by the publisher.] pp. 1–92.
  • Thornes, Tim (2003). "A Northern Paiute Grammar with Texts". Ph.D. dissertation. University of Oregon-Eugene.

External links

  • Northern Paiute page, with sound sample
  • Northern Paiute language overview at the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
  • Northern Paiute Indian Language (Paviotso, Bannock)
  • Northern Paiute resources at the Open Language Archives Community
  • Northern Paiute Language Project, University of California, Berkeley
  • World Atlas of Language Structures: Northern Paiute
  • OLAC resources in and about the Northern Paiute language

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