Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interior Chumash


In this article we publish two Chumash vocabularies representing the speech of groups who lived away from the coast together with analysis and commentary; no publications of the Chumash speech of these regions have hitherto been made. The word-lists will considerably change the traditional picture of speech distributions in these interior regions. Although we owe both of the vocabularies here printed to the work of C. Hart Merriam, their interpretation requires us to use materials drawn from the researches of A.L. Kroeber and John P. Harrington. All three of these men were diligent tillers of the fecund vineyard of California aboriginal languages, and they were all working contemporaneously, in the first two decades of the twentieth century. But there was practically no communication among them. Of the three, only Kroeber was a prolific publisher, and so it is from him that the picture of the distributions and structures of the state's native languages which dominated the scholarly scene during the first half of the century was largely derived. The subject is, however, so vast that no one student could pretend to control all parts of it. As we shall see, the lack of intercommunication among these three investigators greatly retarded the progress of our understanding of the nature and detail of the state's linguistic diversity. What Harrington published during his lifetime is only a tiny part of the material he collected and recorded; and Merriam published but little on California languages before his death in 1942. The present study will use material from all three of these men in an attempt to clarify the linguistic situation in a corner of California as it existed perhaps a century ago.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View