British Columbia, Washington
Linguistic classificationAlgonquian–Wakashan ?

Mosan is a hypothetical language family consisting of the Salishan, Wakashan, and Chimakuan languages of the Pacific Northwest region of North America. It was proposed by Edward Sapir in 1929 in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Little evidence has been adduced in favor of such a grouping, no progress has been made in reconstructing it, and it is now thought to reflect a language area rather than a genetic relationship.[1] The term persists outside academic linguistic literature because of Sapir's stature.[citation needed]

An automated computational analysis (ASJP 4) by Müller et al. (2013)[2] found lexical similarities between Salishan and Chimakuan. Wakashan was not included. However, since the analysis was automatically generated, the grouping could be either due to mutual lexical borrowing or genetic inheritance.

External relationships

Michael Fortescue suggested in 1998 that Nivkh might be related to the Mosan languages of North America.[3] Later, in 2011, he argued that Nivkh, which he referred to as an "isolated Amuric language", was related to the Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages, forming a Chukotko-Kamchatkan–Amuric language family.[4] However, Glottolog considers the evidence to be "insufficient".

In 2015, Sergei Nikolaev argued in two papers for a systematic relationship between Nivkh and the Algic languages of North America, and a more distant relationship between these two together and the Wakashan languages of coastal British Columbia.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ Beck, D. (2000). Grammatical Convergence and the Genesis of Diversity in the Northwest Coast Sprachbund. Anthropological Linguistics, 42(2), 147-213.
  2. ^ Müller, André, Viveka Velupillai, Søren Wichmann, Cecil H. Brown, Eric W. Holman, Sebastian Sauppe, Pamela Brown, Harald Hammarström, Oleg Belyaev, Johann-Mattis List, Dik Bakker, Dmitri Egorov, Matthias Urban, Robert Mailhammer, Matthew S. Dryer, Evgenia Korovina, David Beck, Helen Geyer, Pattie Epps, Anthony Grant, and Pilar Valenzuela. 2013. ASJP World Language Trees of Lexical Similarity: Version 4 (October 2013).
  3. ^ Fortescue, M. (1998). Language relations across Bering Strait: reappraising the archaeological and linguistic evidence.
  4. ^ Fortescue, Michael (2011). "The relationship of Nivkh to Chukotko-Kamchatkan revisited". Lingua. 121 (8): 1359–1376. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2011.03.001.
  5. ^ Nikolaev, S. (2015)
  6. ^ Nikolaev, S. (2016)

Further reading