|Native to||United States|
|Region||Oregon, Rogue Valley along the middle course of the Rogue River|
|Ethnicity||Takelma, Latgawa, Cow Creek band of Upper Umpqua|
|Extinct||1934, with the death of Frances Johnson|
Takelma (south), with the Kalapuyan languages to the north
Takelma // was the language spoken by the Latgawa and Takelma people and Cow Creek band of Upper Umpqua. It was first extensively described by Edward Sapir in his graduate thesis, The Takelma Language of Southwestern Oregon. The last fluent speaker of Takelma, with whom Sapir worked while writing about the language, was Frances Johnson (Gwísgwashãn). A dictionary from English to Takelma is currently being created in the hopes it can be revived.
Within Penutian, Takelma has been grouped together with the Kalapuyan languages in a "Takelma-Kalapuyan" or "Takelman" language family. However, an unpublished paper by Tarpent & Kendall (1998) finds this relationship to be unfounded because of the extremely different morphological structures of Takelma and Kalapuyan. DeLancey follows this position.
The consonant phonemes as described by Sapir are:
The vowel system of the Takelma language comprises the six vowels /a e i o u ʉ/, as well as their lengthened counterparts /aː eː iː oː uː ʉː/.
Takelma like many Native American languages is polysynthetic meaning that you can link together many different morphemes to form a word. Therefore one single word can often contain a lot of information that in English would be portrayed in a full sentence. This is mainly done by adding affixes to verbs.
Takelma has 6 different tenses listed below with the first (aorist) being the basic tense which is equivalent to the immediate future, present, and past.
In Takelma, possession is marked by a set of affixes. Most of them are suffixes but there is one prefix. Below is a table of the four declensional sets.
|1 sg.||2 sg.||3 sg/pl||1 pl.||2 Pl. reflexive||3 sg. reflexive||3 pl.|
|IV||-té:||-taʔ||`-ta||-tam||tapaʔn or `-ʔtʰpan||`-tʰkʷa or `-takʷa||`-takʷan or `-tʰkʷan|
Set I is only ever used with terms of kinship. For example:
|‘my younger brother’||‘your younger brother’||‘his younger brother’|
Set II is used with bare stems or stems having the formant. For example:
|‘song’||‘my song’||‘his song’|
|‘my head’||‘his head’|
Alternations between –t and –tʰ in set II and set IV is regular and predictable.
Set III is used with stems having other formants. For example:
|‘urine’||‘my urine’||‘his urine’|
|‘rock’||‘my rock’||‘his rock’|
|‘liver’||‘my liver’||‘his liver’|
Set IV is used in locative constructions. For example:
|‘in my house’|
|‘between my legs’|
wa-té ‘to me’
Takelma has a complex system of verbal pronominal suffixes and is also accompanied by the loss of case markers on nouns. This represents a complete shift to full head marking. So far the only actual examples I have found are in the 3rd person object marker in Takelma, which is the suffix –kʰwa which is realized on the verb. However the distribution of –kʰwa is very restricted.
Here is the full set of object markers:
|3rd||∅/ -kʰwa||∅/ -kʰwa|
For the 1st and 2nd person objects overt marking is required with clear difference between singular and plural. For 3rd person there is no difference between singular and plural and there is also alternation between the suffix –kʰwa and zero suffix.
The zero variant occurs with animates as well as inanimate, covert pronouns, and overt nominals.
However –kʰwa occurs in three distinct environments. First, when the subject is also 3rd person. Second, it is always used when the object is higher in animacy than the subject. This means that the object refers to a human also a mythic animal that is thought of as a human being. The third situation is when the subject and object are of equal animacy but the object outranks the subject in topicality.