Today’s post is about the Wukchumni language, which has received some attention recently for this short documentary:
Wukchumni is a Native American language, which is spoken by the Wukchumni people who now live in California. The only native speaker remaining is the woman featured in the documentary, Marie Wilcox. She has spent the last seven years creating a dictionary for the language, the longest document that currently exists on it. (Google also turns up a result for a ‘Wukchumni Language Book’, which is supposed to be a word list, but this seems inaccessible unless you can get to a place where a physical copy is held.)
There is very little information, aside from this documentary and the articles about it, about the Wukchumni language. Ethnologue and UNESCO appear to have no data on it. However, the documentary shows that Marie’s work is being used in language classes for the Wukchumni people, which will hopefully lead to some development of the language among its people, though this may not be enough to still save it from extinction.
OLAC Language Resource Catalog: Wukchumni language
The New York Times: Who Speaks Wukchumni?
Languagehat: Who Speaks Wukchumni?
Updates, Live: Wukchumni Language (Marie’s Dictionary)