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Notes on the Shoshonean Dialects of Southern California, by A. L. Kroeber, [1909], at


The Giamina have been described 18 as a tribe in the San Joaquin valley, near Poso creek, and of doubtful affiliation. A short vocabulary of about twenty words purporting to be of the Giamina language was obtained from an old man unable to give further information or to render explanations. While these words were clearly Shoshonean, and yet clearly not from any known dialect, the source of information was so slight, open to error, and uncorroborated, that it seemed best not to attempt any definite assignment of Giamina to the scheme of Shoshonean relationships. The possibility is by no means excluded that the vocabulary obtained represents miscellaneous Yokuts corruptions, either individual or tribal, or one or more Shoshonean dialects. It has therefore been subjected to comparison with the mass of Shoshonean dialects, with the following results:

One, tcupu; L-C supul, supli, Gabr. puku, Serr. haukup, K R tcits, U-C cui.

Two, hewe; Gabr. wehe.

Three, pohoim; Gabr., Luis., pahai, Kaw. pehei.

Four, wadja; Gabr., Serr., wadja, U-C watcuw-, Mono watsikw-, L-C witcuw, K R nanau.

Five, madjindji; K R mahitciña.

Six, pābahai; Gabr., Serr., pabahai, pabahi.

Person, xöxinil, xaxinil; K R añhanīl.

Man, muut; Fern. mut-īmtü, woman.

Woman, wi’ct; Serr., wihak-, gwihak-.

Deer, piāt; L-C, Serr., K R, baat, paat, mountain-sheep.

House, ni-ku; L-C, Gabr., Serr., nu-ki, my house.

Water, bal, bal-aku; K R, L-C, bal.

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Road, bèkt; L-C, Gabr., pet, Serr. perukt.

Mountain, tabakwan; Sh-C, M-P, toyap.

No, hahītcu, ahitciwa; K R hais, aic.

Much, many, em; Mono èwai, U-C ava-.

Drink, hüüka; U-C, Mono, hivi; K R, ii, iü; Hopi, hiiko.

Kill, mik’an; L-C mak-, mek-; Gabr., Serr., K R, muk.

A certain amount of distortion is visible in these alleged Giamina words: hewe for wehe, ni-ku for nu-ki. There is also an element of error: the words given for man and deer are evidently those for woman and mountain-sheep. The vocabulary is however clearly not a corruption of only one Shoshonean dialect, such as might arise from for instance a Tübatulabal division being subjected to isolation and the influence of Yokuts or other linguistically foreign neighbors, or from imperfect apprehension, by a Yokuts group or individual, of a Shoshonean dialect. The material shows most numerous resemblances to the Southern California dialects; next, certain indubitable Kern River affinities; and finally, scattered resemblances to various dialectic divisions. Therefore even if the vocabulary is only a mutilation, and not a real Shoshonean dialect, it is based on acquaintance with Shoshonean speech of several quite distinct branches.

In spite of the uncertainty with which material must at best be invested which was secured under the circumstances obtaining in this case, it is not going too far to admit the possibility that the Giamina vocabulary represents, in however mutilated form, a genuine form of Shoshonean speech, quite distinct from any other known; in other words, a dialectic branch or group coordinate with the major ones of the family. The imperfection and scantiness of the material allows so large an opportunity for the play of accident that it would be hazardous to build any farther on this speculation. Nevertheless the former existence of another distinct dialectic group of Shoshonean in this area is a priori not so unlikely as might seem. Besides the quite fundamentally divergent and isolated Kern River branch, the region adjacent to the southernmost Sierra Nevada contains the specialized Shikaviyam dialect, and the also specialized Kawaiisu offshoot of the Ute-Chemehuevi group. Among the Yokuts, the Paleuyami, 19 whose dialect is certainly much distorted from ordinary

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[paragraph continues] Yokuts, occupied Poso creek, the same stream to which the Giamina are attributed. A short distance to the north, on the upper San Joaquin, were the Toltichi, 20 whose relation to the Yokuts, according to the present state of knowledge, was parallel to that which the Giamina bear to the Shoshonean family. The region is therefore one in which the crowding together of distinct languages, or the evolution of local and strongly aberrant forms of speech, has proceeded to an unusual extent. This fact is certain, whether or not recognition is ultimately given to the supposed Giamina dialect. If it is ever proved to have existed, it will not improbably furnish a link between the Kern River and Southern California branches of Shoshonean.


263:18 Ibid., 126.

264:19 Present series, II, 313, 347.

265:20 Ibid., II, 354.

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