|Linguistic classification||Proposed language family|
Hokan families of California
The Hokan /ˈhoʊkæn/ language family is a hypothetical grouping of a dozen small language families that were spoken mainly in California, Arizona and Baja California.
The name Hokan is loosely based on the word for "two" in the various Hokan languages: *xwak in Proto-Yuman, c-oocj (pronounced [koːkx]) in Seri, ha'k in Achumawi, etc.
The "Hokan hypothesis" was first proposed in 1913 by Roland B. Dixon and Alfred L. Kroeber, and further elaborated by Edward Sapir. Initial follow-up research found little additional evidence that that these language families were related to each other. But since about 1950, increased efforts to document Hokan languages and to establish sound correspondences in proposed lexical resemblance sets have added weight to the Hokan hypothesis, leading to its acceptance by many specialists in the languages of California, Oregon, and Mesoamerica. However, some skepticism remains among scholars.
Linguist Paul Rivet claimed the Yurumanguí language of Colombia was part of the Hokan family. This claim has not been accepted by historical linguists. Terrence Kaufman wondered if Hokan might be related to Oto-Mangean of Central America.
An automated computational analysis (ASJP 4) by Müller et al. (2013) found lexical similarities among Seri, Yuman and Tequistlatecan. However, since the analysis was automatically generated, the grouping could be either due to mutual lexical borrowing or genetic inheritance.
The geographic distribution of the Hokan languages suggests that they became separated around the Central Valley of California by the influx of later-arriving Penutian and other peoples; archaeological evidence for this is summarized in Chase-Dunn & Mann (1998). These languages are spoken by Native American communities around and east of Mount Shasta, others near Lake Tahoe, the Pomo on the California coast, and the Yuman peoples along the lower Colorado River. Some linguists also include Chumash, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and other families, but the evidence is insubstantial, and most now restrict Hokan to some or all of the languages listed below.
The Hokan languages retained by Kaufman (1988) due to regular sound correspondences and common core vocabulary are as follows. (The data on which these conclusions were drawn have not been published or evaluated by anyone else.) Apart from Shasta–Palaihnihan and Yuman, all branches are single languages or shallow families.
Marlett (2008) reevaluated the evidence and concluded that the evidence for Seri and Salinan has not been systematically or convincingly presented. The inclusion of the Tequistlatecan languages has also not received much support. The Chumash languages were once included, but that position has been almost universally abandoned.
A lexicostatistical classification of the Hokan languages by Zhivlov (2013) is roughly presented as follows.
Zhivlov (2013) does not consider Jicaquean (Tol) and Washo to be Hokan languages.
Some Hokan lexical correspondences from Mary R. Haas (1963) are provided below.
Similar forms for 'tongue' include:
Shaul (2019) notes the following similarities between Proto-Hokan (based on Kaufman 2015) and Proto-Uto-Aztecan.
|Gloss (for Proto-Hokan)||Proto-Hokan||Proto-Uto-Aztecan|
|paternal grandfather||#apu||*apu ‘father/parent/mother’|
|objective case||#-i||*i ‘objective case’|
|come||#iyu, #iya||*ya- ‘come’|
|wife||#luwa, #lowa||*lowa ‘vagina’|
|hand||#man, #ma||*man ~ *ma ‘hand’|
|give||#ma ~ #mo||*maka ‘give’|
|woman||#mari||maːla ‘mother’ (Yoemian)|
|know (through magic)||#mata ~ #matu ~ #mati||*mata ~ *mati ‘know’|
|be a woman||#momo-||momo- ‘woman’ (Hopi)|
|(not quite) dead||#mu-||*mukːV ‘die (singular)’|
|young woman||#mus-||*muts [~ *mos] ‘vagina’|
|child||#ŋam||-ŋyam ‘clan’ (Hopi)|