|Native to||United States|
The seven Pomoan languages with an indication of their pre-contact distribution within California
Northern Pomo is a critically endangered Pomoan language indigenous to California. The Pomo were a group of people who spoke what was documented as the Pomoan languages, and the speakers of Northern Pomo were those who lived specifically in the northern and largest area of the Pomoan territory. Other communities near to the Pomo were the Coast Yuki, the Huchnom, and the Athabascan.
Northern Pomo falls under the Western branch of the Pomoan language family, and it is the only language categorized in this branch that is not part of the Southern group.
The earliest noted documentation of Native Americans in this area was by General Drake in 1579, but it cannot be certain that the people he encountered were what is now considered to be the Pomo. A census was delivered of the people in this area by Colonel Redick M'Kee during an expedition in 1851 putting the Pomo at roughly 1000-1200 people. The language was not documented during either encounters.
Northern Pomo was spoken in the United States of America in the northern coastal area of California. The Pomo inhabited a massive amount of territory north of the San Francisco Bay and surrounding Clear Lake in northern California, USA.
The Pomoan language was separated into seven different categories:
Each one is a different language that is a subcategory of the Pomoan language family.
Northern Pomo normally avoids the use of birth names in conversation, instead using relational terminology such as father, mother, sister, etc. This is especially present in the case of a deceased family member. The avoidance of names is why third person referencing is prevalent in Pomoan speech. If the deceased family member was close to the speaker, they will not speak their name even if a living relative shares that name. Any speaking partner is expected to avoid these names so that the speaker does not hear it. It is seen as a disrespect to their relationship with the deceased. More casual speakers may mention the names of the deceased in conversation that they are not related to.
Northern Pomo switches between regular possession and possessor raising depending upon the term the speaker wants to focus upon. In a regular possession situation, the subject of the sentence remains the focus, whereas with possessor raising the object or person being possessed becomes the focus of the sentence. Depending on which construction is used in Northern Pomo the implications of a given sentence would change. Sentences with possessor raising constructions imply consequences in Northern Pomo, such as the consequences of a possessor affecting a body part or having a certain physical trait.
Allophones of /kʰ, t͡sʼ/ include [x, sʼ].