Projects

Wappo Project

The Wappo language was traditionally spoken in modern-day Sonoma and Napa counties and near Clear Lake. It has been relatively well documented but there are significant gaps in the documentary record and research. WIELD is working with published materials and unpublished records as well as undertaking new data collection to further document and investigate the language, with a focus on filling in the documentary record where possible and conducting research in underexplored areas, particularly the language’s interesting morphophonology.

Purisimeño Project

Purisimeño is a Chumash language of coastal California. It was spoken starting roughly halfway between modern-day Isla Vista and Point Conception (going west) and as far north as Santa Maria (Hudson & Blackburn 1982-1987). The language was also spoken inland, and speakers of Purisimeño occupied sites where the cities of Lompoc, Solvang, Los Olivos, and Orcutt currently are. Purisimeño also covered all of what is currently Vandenberg Air Force Base. It is one of the least-documented and least-studied Chumash languages. WIELD is working with the extant documentation, especially documentation of Fernando Librado recorded by J. P. Harrington, 

Southern Pomo Project

Southern Pomo is the native language of part of Sonoma County, California. The language is functionally dead: the last fluent speaker passed away in April of 2014, though there is at least one partial speaker remaining. In April and May of 2014, WIELD sponsored weekly Southern Pomo classes for heritage speakers, taught by Dr. Walker. The California Indian and Museum and Cultural Center graciously allowed WIELD the use of its Santa Rosa facilities for the class.

Northeastern Pomo Project

Northeastern Pomo is the most enigmatic of the seven Pomoan languages of Northern California, all of which were mutually unintelligible. It was the only Pomoan language with territory that was not contiguous with any other Pomoan language. Northeastern Pomo was not identified until the first decade of the twentieth century and was the last Pomoan language to be discovered by academia. It was also the first Pomoan language to become extinct, with the last fluent speakers passing away within 70 years of their discovery by science. WIELD’s Northeastern Pomo project seeks to do the following: (1) create a database with all known lexical items in the language from all sources; (2) determine the place of Northeastern Pomo within the Pomoan family and the degree to which its uniqueness is due to contact-induced changes and language-internal innovations versus Proto Pomo retentions.

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