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


The dialect of San Juan Capistrano, sometimes called San Juaneño, or merely Juaneño, has always been stated to be closely related to Luiseño. The precise degree of its similarity and the nature of its differences to Luiseño have however never been determined. In December, 1907, it was found possible to spend a short time with an elderly Juaneño called Jose de Gracia Cruz, born at the Mission and living almost within hail of it and the present railroad station. The vocabulary obtained from him is given below.

It appears that e and a somewhat approach each other in Juaneño, so that it is at times difficult to decide with which quality a vowel is spoken. Similarly the Juaneño vocabulary often has e where the corresponding word as obtained in Luiseño has a. Glottal stops, indicated by an apostrophe, are quite marked, as in Luiseño. There are a few aspirations after vowels or final consonants, as in the words we‘, two, and we‘sa, four. Comparison with other Shoshonean dialects shows these aspirations to represent a former h, the vowel following which has been lost.

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[paragraph continues] Velar k, written as q, was heard a number of times from the Juaneño informant. It seems likely that all k sounds are produced comparatively far back. v is bilabial, as always in Shoshonean. As in the other Luiseño-Cahuilla dialects, ö and ü are not found. A considerably palatalized t, indicated by t•, was frequently heard where Luiseño has t, especially when this sound is final. An sh sound with similar palatal quality has been denoted by c•. These two sounds usually resemble tr and cr and are similar to the palatal sounds of Yokuts, Salinan, and other languages in Central California. The Dravidian sounds of the tr series are probably similar.

There are instances of combinations of sounds at the ends of words due to the dropping out of unaccented vowels; for instance, nucl, fingernails, and momt•, ocean.

The possessive prefixes are:

1 s.

no-, ne-, na-.

2 s.


3 s.


1 pl.


Before a-stems, the vowel of the prefix of the first person is a, sometimes o; before e-stems, either e or o; before i-stems, o-stems, u-stems, e, or occasionally o. There thus appears to be assimilation only by a-stems. The primary form of the vowel of the prefix thus seems to vary between o and e, the choice being determined usually, but not always, by a principle of contrast. The vowels of the prefixes of other persons, as well as the Luiseño forms, show no- to be the probable original prefix. The ne-form is paralleled by the Cahuilla prefixes.

A number of the words obtained with possessive prefixes show an ending -m, which cannot well be the plural suffix. Thus ne-muvum, my nose, and sepul ne-pulum, one eye. This -m recalls the final -n which is so frequent on Gabrielino forms with the possessive prefix.

In discussing Cahuilla terms denoting parts of the body, it was pointed out that these lacked noun-endings, and the question was raised whether under any circumstances they could have endings, in that or other Shoshonean dialects of Southern California. Juaneño tama-t•, tooth, seems to answer this question,

p. 249

until it is remembered that tooth can denote a substance as well as an organ. The form is therefore no doubt parallel with the only other Juaneño term denoting a part of the body found without a prefix, yu-t•, hair, and parallel also to Luiseño and Cahuilla yu-la, ou-la, te-il, hair, blood, bone. The question therefore remains answered negatively for the great mass and most distinctive nouns of this class.

Juaneño shows l where this is the noun-ending of Luiseño, Agua Caliente, and Cahuilla; t or t• as equivalent of the noun-ending t in these other dialects; 11 and te as equivalent of their c. It will be recalled from what has been said in connection with Cahuilla that there is some approximation to this last equivalence in Luiseño, where the ending c, when followed by the subjective suffix -a or other vowels, becomes tc, as in ki-tc-a, house. Juaneño, like Cahuilla, does not show the subjective suffix -a of Luiseño and Agua Caliente.

Altogether the dialect of San Juan Capistrano shows no approximation to Gabrielino 12 and cannot be considered in any way a link between the Gabrielino and Luiseño-Cahuilla groups. Within the Luiseño-Cahuilla group its closest relations are all to Luiseño. It is a subdivision or dialect of Luiseño rather than a branch of the general Luiseño-Cahuilla group.


One to five, sepul, we‘, pahai, we‘ sa´, maha´r.

Man, yeitc; woman, coñwāl; boy, amaiamel; girl, ne-witmal; baby, eme´tikile; old man, naxanman; old woman, necimel; people, atāx-em.

My father, no-na´; my, his mother, ne-yo´, po-yo´; my son, no-qā´m; my daughter, ne-cwā´m; my older brother, no-pā´c; my younger brother, nopè’t; my older sister, no-qè’s; my younger sister, ne-pī’t; my grandfather's father, no-piwu; my mother 's mother, no-tu.

Head, hair, yut•, ne-yu; ear, na-naqam; eye, ne-pulum; nose, ne-muvum; mouth, no-t•em; tongue, ne-wèyem; tooth, tama´t•; beard, ne-mūc•; neck, no-qlem; nail, nu-cl; hand, arm, na-mā; finger, thumb, ne-yo‘; belly, ne-le’em; breast, na-ālem; back-bone, na-mātcam; leg, ne-qāsem; foot, ne’-e’;

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[paragraph continues] (bone, ne-wè´seqai); heart, ne-c•ūn; liver, ne-nòm; blood, no-o´u, o-ou; lungs, na-s•vas•va; intestines, ne-c•ī.

House, kitc; my house, ne-ki; your house, o-ki; sweathouse, ha´selitc; ceremonial enclosure, wa´mgutc; my bow, ne-qutup; my arrow, no-hu´; my knife, no-pq; my pipe, no-hūqup; tobacco, pīvet, nepīvem; pottery jar, qava’mal; metate, no-t•o´; mortar, no-t•ō´pe.

Sky, dūpitc; sun, teme’t; moon, mòil; star, c•ūel; night, tūkme’t; day, teme-ña; rain, qwacq; snow, yūit; fire, qu’t; smoke, qūmet; ashes, tè´leñetc; water, pā’l; land, èxel; sand, beach, èxvel; ocean, mòmt•; stream, wenitc; mountain, qawī’tc; plain, palvintc; stone, tòt•; wood, qalāut.

Dog, awāl; bear, hunut•; coyote, ano´; deer, c•ūkt•; mountain sheep, bāat•; panther, tukut•; fox, qaweutc; jackrabbit, cuitc; rabbit, dòct; ground-squirrel, qèntc (Luiseño form given as qèñitc); mole (topo), mòt.

Eagle, acut; buzzard, yuñāvitc; a hawk, pāksl; raven, gawīiret; crow, a´lemel; owl, mūt•; small owl, qoqū´l.

Rattlesnake, còut•; snake, paxa; small fish, kuyūmal; large fish, tuc•uxo; whale, keyòt.

Fly, qwaal; flies, qwaalem; flea, moqwā’itc; louse, ola´t; bees, cā´cañal-em; jicote, bumblebee, c•aka´; honey, c•aka po-pa´u, bee its-water.

White, wāixant•; black, yevātxant•; red, koya´xu’itc; large, awo´lov; good, polòv; bad, hī´tciqute; much, muyuk; little, wena’ma’l.

I, nò; thou, om; we, tcā’am; ye, omo´m.

This, evi´; these, evi´m; that, wena´l; here, ava´; there, wana´; who, hax; what, hi’ts; where, metca´; near, metcqen; far, wam; up, ètc; down, tòx; north, tamāmek; south, kwīmek; today, piī´qale; yesterday, tukuv; tomorrow, potòqole; yes, ohò´; no, qāi.

Eat, natcxun; drink, pa’; run, hux; dance, pel’e; sing, hèlex; sleep, kūpla; speak, tèle; see, tèli’we; hear, naqma´a; kill, mòra; strike, cīkwa; sit, peve’x; walk, wekale; stand, yū´liña, yū´daña.

hiqas o-t•uñ, what is your name,

nīk sepul, give me one.

sepul ne-pulum, one (my) eye.

pa’ pāl, toma agua.

pal pecī´tcqale, sale l’agua.

evè yuitc e´xel, this land, la tierra de aqui.

yemaik tapye tcòonem, long ago all died, ya se murieron todos. (Luiseño yumaik, formerly; tap, to die, plural; tcounum, all.)

nonòxe ā’aq supul, I alone remain.

pò´xonem atāxem, puros Indios, true Indians.

metca’s o-ki, where is your house,

tcum-tela, our language.

wera’x, awake!

hūcu-vai, or: hūcu om wai, smoke, you!

Wiyō´t, dios (Ouiot, Wiyot).

Tciñitcnitc, tciñitcnic, diablo (Chinigchinich, Chungichnish).

tòitc, diablo (Luiseño towish, touch, spirit).

manap tòitc, tòitc is coming.

noo´nwom naxa´nmal, ya estoy viejo.

kī´tcmuñgm, southerners.

naqma´a no-tèle, hear my words!


249:11 On the other hand Juaneño shows yu-t•, hair, where Luiseño has yu-la. This is one of many instances proving that the Shoshonean noun-endings can not be traced from dialect to dialect with only physiological modifications. Besides phonetic change, analogy or other psychological factors have often been of determining influence.

249:12 Except the possible relation of -m to Gabrielino -n on nouns with a possessive prefix.

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