Alsea language

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Pronunciation /ˈæls/
Region Oregon
Ethnicity Alsea people, Yaquina people
Extinct 1942, with the death of John Albert
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aes
Glottolog alse1251[1]
Alsean langs.png
Pre-contact distribution of Alsean
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

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.[2]


  1. Alsea (Alséya) (†)
  2. Yaquina (Yakwina, Yakona) (†)

Both are now extinct.

The name Alsea derives from the Coosan name for them, alsí or alsí·, and the Marys River Kalapuyan name for them, alsí·ya. Alsea was last recorded in 1942 from the last speaker, John Albert, by J. P. Harrington.

The name Yaquina derives from the Alsean name for the Yaquina Bay and the Yaquina River region, yuqú·na. Yaquina was last recorded in 1884 by James Owen Dorsey.

Alsea is usually considered to belong to the Penutian phylum, and may form part of an Oregon Coast Penutian subgroup together with Siuslaw and the Coosan languages (Grant 1997). Numerous lexical resemblances between Alsea and the Northern Wintuan languages, however, are more likely the result of borrowing about 1,500 years ago when the (Northern) Wintuan speech community appears to have been located in Oregon (Golla 1997).



Alsea had 34 consonants:

  Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Velar Uvular Glottal
central lateral plain labial plain labial plain labial
Stop plain p t     k q    
glottalized p’ t’     k’ k’ʷ q’ q’ʷ ʔ  
Affricate plain   ts                
glottalized   ts’ tɬ’              
Nasal plain m n                
glottalized m’ n’                
Fricative     s ɬ ʃ x χ χʷ h (hʷ)
Approximant plain     l j   w        
glottalized     l’ j’   w’        
  • The status of /hʷ/ is uncertain.
  • /s/ is actually between alveolar and post-alveolar.


There were both oral and nasal vowels.


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Alsea". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Mithun, Marianne. (1999). The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X


hr:Alsea jezik