Central Pomo language

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Central Pomo
Native toUnited States
RegionNorthern California
Extinctby 2016[1]
  • Pomoan
    • Western
      • Southern
        • Central Pomo
Language codes
ISO 639-3poo
Pomoan languages map.svg
The seven Pomoan languages with an indication of their pre-contact distribution within California

Central Pomo is a moribund Pomoan language spoken in Northern California. Pre-contact speakers of all the Pomoan languages have been estimated at 8,000 altogether. This estimation was from the American anthropologist Alfred Kroeber.

"The Central Pomo language was traditionally spoken from the Russian River southwest of Clear Lake to the Pacific coast. There were settlements along the Russian River (in the southern Ukiah Valley, in Hopland Valley, and further south near the Sonoma County line), in the coastal region (at Manchester, Point Arena, and at the mouth of the Gualala River), and in the region between the two (around Yorkville and in Anderson Valley)."[3]

It has a consonant inventory that is identical to the related Southern Pomo language with the following exceptions:

Central Pomo distinguishes velar /k/, /kʰ/, /kʼ/ from uvular /q/, /qʰ/, /qʼ/. It lacks a non-ejective alveolar affricate (i.e., it does not have /ts/ as a phoneme), and does not have length, in the form of geminate root consonants, as found in Southern Pomo.

As of 2013, a transcription project of Central Pomo materials collected by J.P. Harrington is underway.[4]


Bilabial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stop Voiced b d
Voiceless Plain p t k q ʔ
Aspirated t̪ʰ
Ejective t̪ʼ
Affricate Plain t͡s t͡ʃ
Aspirated t͡ʃʰ
Ejective t͡sʼ t͡ʃʼ
Nasal m n
Fricative s ʃ h
Approximant w l j
Front Back
short long short long
Close ɪ ʊ
Close-mid ɔ
Open-mid ɛ
Open ʌ



  1. ^ "Pomo, Central". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Central Pomo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "Central Pomo". Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
  4. ^ "What matters to Lori Laiwa? Reviving her tribal language". UC Davis: Discover What Matters. Archived from the original on 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
  5. ^ "PDF Central Pomo Lesson Plans - CIMCC" (PDF).

External links[edit]