This research project will complete a grammar and dictionary for Proto Utian (Miwok-Costanoan), a family of Central California Indian languages. The Proto Utian Grammar and Dictionary with Notes on Yokuts will be an authoritative compendium of information on this wide-ranging language family. This work represents the culmination of 50 years of scholarship; it will gather and synthesize a wide range of information on the Utian languages that is currently scattered in various dictionaries and journal articles, some of them obscure, or buried in field notes. In the case of Costanoan languages, very little published material is now available.

The Proto Utian Grammar and Dictionary with Notes on Yokuts will demonstrate how the languages of the Miwok and Costanoan families are related to one another and how they descended from Proto Utian. This volume will serve as a much-needed reference for: (1) people of Miwok and Costanoan descent who are interested in reviving or revitalizing their languages and cultures; (2) linguists studying Native American languages; (3) anthropologists studying prehistoric cultures, migrations, and intercultural contact; (4) historical linguists interested in language change; and (5) linguistic theoreticians and typologists interested in particular features of Utian languages.

Project Report

Utian is a family of genetically related Central California Indian languages. "Genetically related" means that they all sprang from a single ancestral language, Proto Utian, much as Spanish, French, Italian, etc., all descended from Latin. But unlike Latin, there are no written records of Proto Utian, so we have to reconstruct Proto Utian words and grammar as best we can by comparing the words and grammars of the daughter languages. In "Proto Utian Grammar and Dictionary", a product of this research, I undertake this task in as straight-forward a manner as I can, along with references to California history, anthropology and archeology. The book runs to nearly 550 pages and should be of interest to Native Americans, historians, anthropologists, and archeologists as well as linguists. I outline my methodology for such undertakings in the prologue. I summarize the history of Utian studies in the introduction, including information on Esselen, the probable language of Central California before the Proto Utian speakers migrated to the state from Western Nevada. I make the book easy to read and I include numerous cross-references as well as an English-Utian index so readers can readily find the grammar and dictionary sections that interest them the most. The book will be published by de Gruyter Mouton, a prestigious world press.

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Ohio State University
United States
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