Molala language

Molala (Molele, Molalla) is the extinct and poorly attested Plateau Penutian language of the Molala people of Oregon and Washington. It is first attested along the Deschutes River, and later moved to the Molalla and Santiam rivers, and to the headwaters of the Umpqua and Rogue rivers. It was once thought to be close to Cayuse. There were three known dialects:

  • Northern Molala, spoken in southern Oregon in the Cascade Range
  • Upper Santiam Molala, spoken along the upper Santiam River in the Cascades in central Oregon.
  • Southern Molala, spoken in southern Oregon in the Cascade Range
Native toUnited States
RegionCentral Oregon and Washington
EthnicityMolala people
with the death of Fred Yelkes (1885–1958)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mbe


The phonology of the Molala language:


Bilabial Alveolar Lateral Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive plain p t k q ʔ
Nasal m n ŋ
Affricate plain ts
ejective tsʼ
Fricative ɸ s ɬ x h
Approximant w l j


Short Long
Close i
Open a~e
Back u

/i/ and /a/ can also shift to /ə/.[4]


Molala is a verb-heavy polysynthetic language.


Molala nouns have seven cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, instrumental, locative, allative, and ablative.


  1. ^ Molala at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ "Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and ... - Google Books". Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Molale". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Berman, Howard (1996). International Journal of American Linguistics Vol. 62, No. 1. The University of Chicago Press. pp. 3–5.

External links

Alsea language

Alsea or Alsean (also Yakonan) was two closely related speech varieties spoken along the central Oregon coast. They are sometimes taken to be different languages, but it is difficult to be sure given the poor state of attestation; Mithun believes they were probably dialects of a single language.

Cayuse language

The Cayuse language (Cailloux, Willetpoos) is an extinct unclassified language formerly spoken by the Cayuse Native American tribe in the U.S. state of Oregon. The Cayuse name for themselves was Liksiyu (see Aoki 1998).

Similarities to Molala, the language of people to the south of them in central Oregon, are thought to have been due to contact.

Central Kalapuya language

Central Kalapuyan, was a Kalapuyan language indigenous to the central and southern Willamette Valley in Oregon in the United States. It was spoken by various bands of the Kalapuya peoples who inhabited the valley up through the middle of the 19th century. The language is closely related to Northern Kalapuya, spoken in the Tualatin and Yamhill valleys. Dialects of Central Kalapuya that have been identified include:

Ahantchuyuk dialect, spoken in the northeastern Willamette Valley along the Pudding and Molalla rivers

Santiam dialect, spoken in the central Willamette Valley along the lower Santiam River

Luckiamute dialect, spoken in the central Willamette Valley along the Luckiamute River

Chepenafa dialect, spoken in the central Willamette Valley along Marys River

Chemapho dialect, spoken in the central Willamette Valley along Muddy Creek

Chelamela dialect, spoken in the southwestern Willamette Valley along the Long Tom River

Tsankupi dialect, spoken in the southeastern Willamette Valley along the Calapooia River

Winefelly-Mohawk dialects, spoken in the southeastern Willamette Valley along the McKenzie, Mohawk, and Coast Fork Willamette rivers

Galice language

Galice , or Galice-Applegate or Upper Rogue River, is an extinct Athabaskan language once spoken by the two Upper Rogue River Athabaskan tribes, the Galice (Taltushtuntede) tribe and Applegate (Nabiltse, Dakubetede) tribe of southwestern Oregon. It was spoken on the "Galice Creek and Applegate River, tributaries of the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon. There were at least two distinct dialects the Galice Creek and Applegate, but only the Galice Creek dialect is well documented."It is one of the languages of the Oregon Athabaskan (Tolowa–Galice) cluster of the Pacific Coast Athabaskan languages.

Hanis language

Hanis, or Coos, was one of two Coosan languages of Oregon, and the better documented. It was spoken north of the Miluk around the Coos River and Coos Bay. The há·nis was the Hanis name for themselves. The last speaker of Hanis was Martha Harney Johnson, who died in 1972. Another speaker was Annie Miner Peterson, who worked with linguist Melville Jacobs to document the language.As of 2007, classes in Hanis were offered by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. A book and CD, Hanis for Beginners, were published in 2011, and a companion website is available for tribal members at

Klamath language

Klamath (), also Klamath–Modoc () and historically Lutuamian (), is a Native American language that was spoken around Klamath Lake in what is now southern Oregon and northern California. It is the traditional language of the Klamath and Modoc peoples, each of whom spoke a dialect of the language. By 1998, only one native speaker remained. and by 2003, this last fluent Klamath speaker who was living in Chiloquin, Oregon was 92 years old. As of 2006 there were no fluent native speakers of either the Klamath or Modoc dialects. Klamath is a member of the Plateau Penutian language family, which is in turn a branch of the proposed Penutian language family. Like other proposed Penutian languages, Plateau Penutian languages are rich in ablaut, much like Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic languages. Further evidence for this classification includes some consonant correspondences between Klamath and other alleged Penutian languages. For example, the Proto-Yokuts retroflexes */ʈ ʈʼ/ correspond to Klamath /tʃ tʃʼ/, and the Proto-Yokuts dentals */t̪ t̪ʰ t̪ʼ/ correspond to the Klamath alveolars /t tʰ tʼ/.

Lower Chinook

Lower Chinook is a dialect of the Chinook spoken at the mouth of the Columbia River.


The Molala (also Molale, Molalla, Molele) were a people of the Plateau culture area in central Oregon, United States. They are one of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, with 141 of the 882 members in the 1950s claiming Molala descent.


Molalla or Molala may refer to one of these Oregon-related articles:

Molala people, a Native American tribe who traditionally lived near the Molalla River

Molala language, the language spoken by the Molala people

Molalla River, a river in Clackamas County

Molalla, Oregon, a city named after the river

Molalla Buckeroo, an annual rodeo held in Molalla

Molalla Prairie, Oregon, an unincorporated area, designated as a hamlet, south of the city of Molalla

Northern Kalapuya language

Northern Kalapuyan is a Kalapuyan language indigenous to northwestern Oregon in the United States. It was spoken by Kalapuya groups in the northern Willamette Valley southwest of present-day Portland.

Two distinct dialects of the languages have been identified. The Tualatin dialect (Tfalati, Atfalati) was spoken along the Tualatin River. The Yamhill (Yamhala) dialect was spoken along the Yamhill River. The language is closely related to Central Kalapuya, spoken by related groups in the central and southern Willamette Valley.

Northern Kalapuya is now extinct. The last speaker was Louis Kenoyer who died in 1937.

Northern Paiute language

Northern Paiute , also known as Numu and Paviotso, is a Western Numic language of the Uto-Aztecan family, which according to Marianne Mithun had around 500 fluent speakers in 1994. Ethnologue reported the number of speakers in 1999 as 1,631. It is closely related to the Mono language.

Sahaptin language

Sahaptin or Shahaptin is one of the two-language Sahaptian branch of the Plateau Penutian family spoken in a section of the northwestern plateau along the Columbia River and its tributaries in southern Washington, northern Oregon, and southwestern Idaho, in the United States.; the other language is Nez Perce or Niimi'ipuutímt. Many of the tribes that surrounded the land were skilled with horses and trading with one another; some tribes were known for their horse breeding which resulted in today's Appaloosa or Cayuse horse.

The word Sahaptin/Shahaptin is not the one used by the tribes that speak it, but from the Columbia Salish name, Sħáptənəxw / S-háptinoxw, which means "stranger in the land". This is the name Wenatchi (in Sahaptin: Winátshapam) and Kawaxchinláma (who speak Columbia Salish), traditionally call the Nez Perce people. Early white explorers mistakenly applied the name to all the various Sahaptin speaking people, as well as to the Nez Perce. Sahaptin is spoken by various tribes of the Washington Reservations; Yakama, Warm Springs, Umatilla; and also spoken in many smaller communities, including one in Oregon, Celilo.

The Yakama tribal cultural resources program has been promoting the use of the traditional name of the language, Ichishkíin Sɨ́nwit (″this language″), instead of the Salish term Sahaptin.

Siuslaw language

Siuslaw was the language of the Siuslaw people and Lower Umpqua (Kuitsh) people of Oregon. It is also known as Lower Umpqua; Upper Umpqua (or simply Umpqua) was an Athabaskan language. The Siuslaw language had two dialects: Siuslaw proper (Šaayušła) and Lower Umpqua (Quuiič).

Siuslaw is usually considered to belong to the Penutian phylum, and may form part of a Coast Oregon Penutian subgroup together with Alsea and the Coosan languages.

Takelma language

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.

Tillamook language

Tillamook is an extinct Salishan language, formerly spoken by the Tillamook people in northwestern Oregon, United States. The last fluent speaker was Minnie Scovell who died in 1972. In an effort to prevent the language from being lost, a group of researchers from the University of Hawaii interviewed the few remaining Tillamook-speakers and created a 120-page dictionary.

Tolowa language

The Tolowa language (also called Chetco-Tolowa, or Siletz Dee-ni) is a member of the Pacific Coast subgroup of the Athabaskan language family. Together with three other closely related languages (Lower Rogue River Athabaskan, Upper Rogue River Athabaskan or Galice-Applegate and Upper Umpqua or Etnemitane) it forms a distinctive Oregon Athabaskan cluster within the subgroup.

Umatilla language

Umatilla (Tamalúut) is a variety of Southern Sahaptin, part of the Sahaptian subfamily of the Plateau Penutian group. It was spoken during late aboriginal times along the Columbia River and is therefore also called Columbia River Sahaptin. It is currently spoken as a first language by a few dozen elders and some adults in the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon. Some sources say that Umatilla is derived from imatilám-hlama: hlama means 'those living at' or 'people of' and there is an ongoing debate about the meaning of imatilám, but it is said to be an island in the Columbia River. B. Rigsby and N. Rude mention the village of ímatalam that was situated at the mouth of the Umatilla River and where the language was spoken.

The Umatillas pronounce the word ímatalam. A Umatilla person is called imatalamłá (with orthographic ł representing IPA /ɬ/) and the Umatilla people are called imatalamłáma. The Nez Perce refer to the Umatilla people as hiyówatalampoo. See Aoki (1994:171).

Upper Chinook language

Upper Chinook, also known as Kiksht, Columbia Chinook, and Wasco-Wishram after its last surviving dialect, is a recently extinct language of the US Pacific Northwest. It had 69 speakers in 1990, of whom 7 were monolingual: five Wasco and two Wishram. In 2001, there were five remaining speakers of Wasco.The last fully fluent speaker of Kiksht, Gladys Thompson, died in July 2012. She had been honored for her work by the Oregon Legislature in 2007.

Two new speakers were teaching Kiksht at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in 2006. The Northwest Indian Language Institute of the University of Oregon formed a partnership to teach Kiksht and Numu in the Warm Springs schools.

Audio and video files of Kiksht are available at the Endangered Languages Archive.The last fluent speaker of the Wasco-Wishram dialect was Madeline Brunoe McInturff, and she died on 11 July 2006 at the age of 91.

Yoncalla language

Yoncalla (also Southern Kalapuya or Yonkalla) is a Kalapuyan language once spoken in southwest Oregon in the United States. In the 19th century it was spoken by the Yoncalla band of the Kalapuya people in the Umpqua River valley. It is closely related to Central Kalapuya and Northern Kalapuya, spoken in the Willamette Valley to the north.

The last-known user of the language was Laura Blackery Albertson, who attested to being a partial speaker in 1937.

Coast Oregon
Languages of Oregon

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